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At Universal's Request, YouTube Yanks News Podcast Over Music Snippet 287

Posted by timothy
from the and-stop-humming dept.
Snaller writes "Tech News Today does what the name says — it's a podcast reporting on Tech news, Monday to Friday. They, like Slashdot, reported on the Megaupload vs. Universal copyright dispute. But during their coverage, they played a snippet of the music video and immediately Universal Music Group had the news podcast yanked from YouTube. Tech News Today has outlets other than YouTube, but should a music company have the right to have a news podcast removed on copyright grounds, when it's not even clear that said company has had any copyrights violated?"
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At Universal's Request, YouTube Yanks News Podcast Over Music Snippet

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  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:12AM (#38383178) Journal
    Shoot first, ask questions never, over things that are arguably as Fair Use as it gets. It will only get worse from here.
    • by VanGarrett (1269030) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:31AM (#38383430) Homepage

      Indeed, because I know so many people that use podcasts on YouTube as alternatives to buying CDs. Doesn't everyone?

      • by honestmonkey (819408) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:38AM (#38383570) Journal
        That snippet was just the piece I needed to complete the song! I've put it together from a lot of other "fair use" sources and almost had the whole thing. But I missed the podcast! And I almost had the song FOR FREE! Damn UMG, damn them all to hell!
      • by Hatta (162192)

        My girlfriend's daughter does. She's 10. She wouldn't know what to do if I bought her a CD. It complicates gift giving.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2011 @02:50PM (#38386246)

      Shoot first, ask questions never...

      This former Marine is getting closer and closer to doing just that.

                          Dear rich people who own the senate,

                                      Lots of poor people have lots of guns. More than the military does. Knock off the bullshit, please.

                          Love,
                          Me

  • by ZorroXXX (610877) <hlovdal AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:14AM (#38383204)
    The only way to make these kinds of problems go away is to make it illegal and punishable to claim copyright on something that you do not own the copyright for.
    • by jythie (914043) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:29AM (#38383412)
      *nods* that is the major flaw.. there are no consequences for fraudulent takedowns.
      • Wrong. Those are sworn under penalty of perjury. It's just that nobody has been prosecuted yet. Whaddya bet if you or I did that we'd find out about perjury real quick?

        • by EdIII (1114411)

          Two Words: Animal Farm.

          Laws apply to the Plebs. Laws do not apply to those in power. Those in power make the laws.

          Eventually, the Plebs get fed up with the bullshit and kill those in power. Some of the Plebs get used to the benefits and trappings of power. They cease to be Plebs.

          Rinse. Repeat.

    • by BigSlowTarget (325940) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:30AM (#38383420) Journal

      Civil: Online Policy Group v. Diebold, Incorporated - Diebold sued for false DMCA and paid $125k.

      Even if it were more possible, do you really think anyone would criminally prosecute a large company for just a false DMCA? Prosecutors gain nothing from that and just waste their resources for a minor offense against a company's major legal team. The end result would just end up being angering potential donors to political campaigns except when those donors encouraged prosecution of small copyright holders too poor to afford good lawyers.

      • by heathen_01 (1191043) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:41AM (#38383606)
        Why the fuck do you allow corporates to donate to political parties?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by malilo (799198)
          Well "we" didn't allow it, the assholes on the supreme court did. Unfortunate, to say the least.
          • by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:09PM (#38383984)

            Yes, but "we" allowed it by not making our representatives in Congress pass a law specifically forbidding it. "We the people" are ultimately responsible for our government, and anything our government does is "our" fault for voting them in.

            It's like this in every country. The people of a country are always to blame for its government, no matter what kind of government they have. If the people don't like the government, it's their responsibility to change it, by any means necessary (including violent revolution--see Libya for a recent example of this). If the people don't, then it can be assumed the government operates with their permission. Of course, it's not quite so simple in some cases where a country has multiple ethnic groups that hate each other; Saddam's Iraq was an example of this. In those cases, you can't assume the oppressed minority approves of the government, but you can assume the majority that the government draws its power from does.

            • A bill doing just that has been introduced, but I doubt it will go anywhere until the current bunch of bums is thrown out. (I hate people who scream "throw out the bums!" and then re-elect their own Congressmen.)
              • by anyGould (1295481)

                (I hate people who scream "throw out the bums!" and then re-elect their own Congressmen.)

                They did studies on that - most people believe (or are convinced) that it's those other idiot voters that elect the stupid politicians, and it's only *their* guy that's fighting the good fight.

        • It would be too unseemly for those running the country to just do so without this "congress" thing to use as a front.

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:49AM (#38383738) Homepage

          Because rich assholes like to support other rich assholes at the cost of freedom for the poor schleps.

          It's been this way for centuries here.

        • by bws111 (1216812) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:37PM (#38384352)

          For the same reason we allow labor unions, the EFF, and any other group to donate to political parties. Groups of people are still people with the same rights they always had even if they were not in a group. Exercising your freedom of association does not strip you of other rights.

          • by Toonol (1057698)
            Yes, and that's quite reasonable. There's really no sensible alternative to allowing corporations to make political donations; we have to, in order to apply rights consistently. I think the supreme court made the right call there.

            Although I confess, I wouldn't personally be terribly heartbroken to see corporations restricted, if unions, non-profits, and all other collective organizations are restricted as well.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Asmodae (1155077)
              Sure there's a reasonable alternative. Nobody is allowed to donate. Campaign sizes are fixed, and provided for. Fixed and equal amounts of airtime/debate time for everyone who gets enough signatures. Equating monetary donations to speech is where the problem starts. I don't necessarily think that's wrong, but it opens too many floodgates that you can't really close in an equitable manner.
          • by Asic Eng (193332)

            You still have freedom of association if you don't let companies make political donations. No company shareholder is banned from additionally joining or founding a political association and donating with their own money.

            On the other hand, owning shares in a company does not mean you agree about politics with other shareholders, that would be a weird coincidence. Using your share of the company's profits in order to support a political party is therefore quite improper, as it's using your money against you

        • Why the fuck do you allow corporates to donate to political parties?

          Because, apparently, corporations are considered people in the US, at least for Freedom of Speech issues. They have other rights too, but apparently few responsibilities - except to their shareholders - and this is the problem. I mean, if they're people, why do they get special tax rules and rates, limited liability? Why are they allowed to pick their state of incorporation, regardless of where their headquarters or major operations ar

      • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:12PM (#38384022)

        It seems to me that you could solve the problem pretty well in the following way: If a copyright holder negligently issues a take down for material that is likely to be fair use, the civil damages are no less than 5% of the total revenues collected with respect to that copyrighted work. If the copyright holder intentionally issues such a take down [like Diebold], the damages are no less than one million dollars.

        That would pretty well sort it out, and with no help from any prosecutors office: The victims could collect directly in civil court. And copyright holders who find they are unable to tell whether something is fair use are free to request an injunction in court instead of using the take down process, so that a judge can make that determination in an adversarial proceeding prior to the copyright holder subjecting itself to any liability for issuing a fraudulent take down.

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:32AM (#38383440) Journal

      Personally, I'd like to see the DMCA amended to add one thing:

      "If the claimed infringed work is owned by an incorporated entity, claimant shall post a bond equal to at least 1% of the annual income of that corporation for each claim, and if the claim is found to be false, claimant shall forfeit that bond to the person or entity being claimed against." ...or something similar (and a lot more air-tight).

      Make 'em put their money where their DMCA claim is.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Not to quibble, since I fully agree, but since in this case Universal really does own the copyright (or that's what it looks like), your title would be the proper way to phrase it. Any unjustified copyright requests need to be punishable, whether the requestee owns the copyright or not. I would say especially if the use was covered by Fair Use, which this clearly was.

      I would say loosing the copyright is a fair punishment, in this case. The use was clearly covered by exemptions, there is no way Universal co

    • by elfprince13 (1521333) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:36AM (#38383538) Homepage
      It already is. Under OCILLA/DMCA 512, UMG's lawyers have probably just perjured themselves. The trick is making it stick.
    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      Why not? I mean we all know the way to fix a broken system is to create more laws.
  • Should be really allow copyright abuse in such a manner that it is illegal to even report on something regarding copyrighted material. If so, as a society we should just start teaching our kids to immediately give their lunch money to the biggest meanest kid in the school before they can even ask.
  • by daitengu (172781) * on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:18AM (#38383244) Homepage Journal

    It's quite likely that large corporations like Universal, Viacom, etc. have access to pull things down from YouTube on copyright claims without Youtube's approval.

    I assume Youtube assumed these organizations would use their power responsibly. Perhaps that assumption needs to be revisited.

    • by click2005 (921437) *

      Its more likely that Google understands that when the public objects to something they twit their friends.
      When corporations object they lobby and get laws passed. Which would you care more about?

      • by Baloroth (2370816)
        For Google? The public opinion. Google has tremendous power to lobby on their own. But if they loose public opinion, a company like Google that relies nearly 100% on the public using them on a daily basis could collapse overnight.
  • No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by klingens (147173) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:22AM (#38383316)

    It obviously doesn't have the right. It's fair use for the purpose of reporting news.

    This is simple collateral damage when you use software to automatically flag copyright violations and then act on that software's flagging automatically too cause humans are simply too expensive to police it all manually. Happens all the time. All the usual slashdot tropes of printers which do torrents, grandmas that get notices, openoffice that gets removed from ftp servers, etc.

    Youtube and your mail client's spamfilter have the same problem: false positives. Both use an automated system to flag violations of policy and in both cases it mostly works but never 100%. You cannot demand from youtube or the RIAA to flag it all manually, just like you can't really flag all your spam manually: if you do, either Youtube goes out of business cause their business model does not allow that many employees and still serve you videos for "free". Or the major labels go out of business since they have to hire people to police youtube and demand even more per song. I'm sure many /.ers would like this 2nd outcome but it's not really realistic or actually desirable either.

    So Tech News should alert youtube to unblock their video and move on. Oh I forgot: better to post it to slashdot frontpage so Tech News can get a few thousand more hits! Genius! The RIAA is evil after all.

    • Re:No (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SoTerrified (660807) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:30AM (#38383422)

      cause humans are simply too expensive to police it all manually.

      This is ridiculous. That's like saying everyone arrested should just be considered guilty and sentenced because it's simply too expensive to have trials for everyone. Yes, our courts are jammed and yes, trials are a burden, but the alternative is simply unacceptable.

      So why is this any different?

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        So why is this any different?

        It isn't any different, but the stakes are so much lower that people tend to make dumb arguments without thinking things through.

        BUT, in reality, it is simply to expensive to have trials for everyone.
        Depending on the jurisdiction, 85%~95% of all cases are settled before trial.
        Our legal system chokes on the small fraction of cases that do go before a judge.

        /and it doesn't help that the President has been prevented from appointing judges to the bench.

    • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:33AM (#38383466)

      If they don't want to do it manually, then too bad for them. I'd rather let real violations go than allow them to send take down notices at random.

    • by jdgeorge (18767)

      I think much of the outrage is due to the presumption that the content was asserted to be infringing by the judgement of an actual person working for Universal. If Universal has an automated system producing false positives, I suspect it would be much more understandable to the average Slashdotter.

      The other side of this is, If Tech News Today only published through their own web site, they wouldn't have the problem of automated content takedowns due to copyright assertions. If you publish on YouTube, you ha

      • If Universal has an automated system producing false positives, I suspect it would be much more understandable to the average Slashdotter.

        What makes you think so? The copyright holder is the only party in any position to reduce false positives, which means the copyright holders ought to be the ones that bear the cost of doing so. Otherwise we get overrun with them. YouTube is blatantly the wrong party because they have no stake in it: They'll just do whatever it takes to reduce their legal liability regardless of what's correct, and if you box them in from both sides by requiring there to be no false positives or false negatives then they'll

    • Re:No (Score:5, Informative)

      by acedtect (183616) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:38AM (#38383568) Homepage

      Just to be clear we, at Tech news Today have posted a counter-notice and YouTube requires our show to stay off YouTube for 10 days to give UMG the opportunity to decide whether to take us to court or not. We also did not submit this story to Slashdot.

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      I agree 100%. Google just has to cover themselves so they don't get shut down completely. There's no way to police any of this, so they have an automated system. Nobody really screams that loud when a valid email gets sent to the spam filter. This is basically the same thing. If you don't like it, well, host your videos on your own web server. You don't have to worry about somebody else taking the video down without asking you. Youtube is great for teenagers posting videos of their latest skateboard
    • by Ken D (100098)

      You cannot demand from youtube or the RIAA to flag it all manually...

      So Tech News should alert youtube to unblock their video and move on.

      What? Manually? Why not make it automated? Tech News can't hire a bunch of people to do all this counter noticing.

      Perhaps right next to "Submit" button, there could be a "Submit (and no this material is not violating any copyrights" button that Tech News could press to submit with automatic counter noticing.

  • Now that big companies will just bludgeon people with lawsuits, is it possible to even defend oneself with the Fair Use doctrine? Note, I am talking about only those that are within Fair Use boundaries, which this case sounds like. I do movie reviews as a hobby, am I going to get hit with a suit for posting some screen captures now? Or quoting dialogue?

    Forget the Corporate States of America, welcome to the Judicial State of America.

    • by gral (697468) <kscarr73.gmail@com> on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:28AM (#38383398) Homepage
      I am sure you can take it to court, and they will side with you. The problem is, it is so easy for them to claim DMCA against a site, have it taken down. You then have to go through costly litigation to prove you were right in the first place.

      Now if the courts allow for you to turn around and charge for the number of people that would have seen your item if they hadn't used DMCA, now THAT would be interesting to see.
      • by Fnord666 (889225)

        The problem is, it is so easy for them to claim DMCA against a site, have it taken down. You then have to go through costly litigation to prove you were right in the first place.

        False.
        You file the counterclaim that is provided for in the DMCA, indicating that to the best of your knowledge you are not infringing copyright. The ISP must then put the content back up If the copyright holder still wants to pursue the matter, it is up to them to take it to court.

        • by ElBeano (570883)

          You file the counterclaim that is provided for in the DMCA, indicating that to the best of your knowledge you are not infringing copyright. The ISP must then put the content back up If the copyright holder still wants to pursue the matter, it is up to them to take it to court.

          Nevertheless, at THAT moment the legal exposure and costs become quite real. What we need is a private consortium of fair use defenders to fund these counterclaims, or something like it, to even the scales of power.

        • ... and which point you have to go through the costly litigation. The problem we keep running into is just one inherent in the legal system: It can easily get so time-consuming and expensive doing anything that smaller corporations and individuals just can't afford to play that game.
        • by gral (697468)
          I wasn't aware of the counterclaim provision. Thanks.

          My original point still stands. Until there are some repercussions for RIAA and others to issue DMCA, it is still going to take time and money for VALID uses of Fair Use.

          From what I understand, RIAA has never liked the Fair Use provisions, and have tried on numerous occasions to get those abolished. It seems if they can use DMCA take downs each time for valid Fair Use it could become a problem.
      • by delinear (991444)
        Unless your site has a lot of traffic, it's still unlikely to cover the expense of your lost time in fighting the decision. For the hobbyist that would be bad news.
  • DMCA Gives the Right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pscottdv (676889) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:24AM (#38383340)

    should a music company have the right to have a news podcast removed on copyright grounds, when it's not even clear that said company has had any copyrights violated?

    Should they? No. But the DMCA gives them the right (or at least the ability) to do so. It gives it to you, too. My understanding is that anyone can file a DMCA takedown notice.

    I have often wondered what would happen if people started filing DMCA takedown notices by the millions on major websites against the big content producers. There doesn't seem to be any penalty for filing bogus notices.

    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:34AM (#38383518)

      I have often wondered what would happen if people started filing DMCA takedown notices by the millions on major websites against the big content producers. There doesn't seem to be any penalty for filing bogus notices.

      If individuals started doing this, I assure you there would be consequences for them. The feds, the MPAAs and RIAAs and their members, and even YouTube itself understands that this law can be abused, but that privilege is for the modern nobility, not the masses.

    • At a guess, the notices would be ignored entirely. In theory that opens the sites up for being sued if the claim is valid, but that would be prohibatively expensive and they know it.
  • by Vegemeister (1259976) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:28AM (#38383396)
    The copyright status of the clip used is irrelevant. The situation is this: Media conglomerates have been given editorial control of Youtube, subject only to the ability of posters to retain high-priced legal counsel. They can and do use these powers to further their own agenda.
    • by tepples (727027)
      Then the proper solution is to provide a way for video producers to self-host video and for viewers to discover video without the aid of YouTube services, so that no single entity has such a huge target painted on its behind.
      • The self-hosting part just got a lot easier with HTML5. I've recently had to switch my own videos from youtube to my own site, after it's content identifier decided that Gertie the Dinosaur (Produced in 1914, creator dead more than 70 years) is still under copyright.
        • by tepples (727027)

          The self-hosting part just got a lot easier with HTML5.

          Sure, a solution could be built around HTML5, but one still has to make a script to transcode to YouTube H.264 240p, H.264 360p, H.264 480p, H.264 720p, H.264 1080p, WebM 240p, WebM 360p, WebM 480p, WebM 720p, and WebM 1080p, and then choose one of those to serve to the viewer. Go with WebM only, and tablet users and IE 8 users won't be able to watch it; go with H.264 only, and users of Fx/Chrome/Opera won't be able to watch it. Go with a too high resolution, and viewers with slow connections won't be able

          • "transcode to YouTube" should have been "transcode like YouTube"
          • True. Almost. Actually, you don't have to worry too much about choosing the right codec - you still have to offer at least two video files, but video-tag capable browsers are capable enough to pick a format they support if you offer a list. That means all you need to worry about is resolution. I've been having trouble getting WebM to work quite right so far (It's still a young format), so my own videos are currently Theora/Ogg/Ogg. Firefox plays them fine. You can see the progress-so-far at http://birds-are [birds-are-nice.me]
        • You can appeal the decision with YouTube, apparently its quite common for them to flag public domain content. In one instance, YouTube flagged a user posted video containing the public domain music they used for their "YouTube 1911" April Fool's Joke!
  • Leo Laporte makes fun of this happening, and it's happened before. He'll play a few seconds of some song while talking about something on TWiT, and joke on how that will get the show yanked from YouTube. It falls pretty clearly into the realm of fair use, I think YouTube has been knocked around so much by copyright lawsuits they just do whatever the big conglomerates say.

  • by fermion (181285) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @11:49AM (#38383740) Homepage Journal
    We live in a great world where a third party will pay for the storage and bandwidth to have other watch my lame videos. This is great because it costs me nothing to publish my videos. There is no risk and no expense beyond the production costs which can also be negligible.

    Why is this possible? Because bandwidth is cheap, because storage is cheap, and because there is little risk of legal costs. The US Government has said that as long as a service take down any content that they have been notified violates a copyright, the service is not subject to any legal action. This is good for free services such as Youtube because it eliminates the risk and allows them to accept videos without any filtering.

    If one wishes, one can set up one's own video sharing service, pay for the bandwidth, and the legal liability associated with potentially violating copyright. No one is going to stop the setup of such a service, and such a service can be free to ignore takedown notices. It is simply not in the best interest of Youtube, the preeminent distributor of lame and random video, to so do.

    Of course many would say why not make the copyright holders for frivolous take down notices. I would support that. But even that would require companies like Google to invest in legal action that may not generate a profit, or at least might generate a greater loss than complying with takedown notices. Also, if policing video got too expensive, then copyright holder might put real money into lobbying congress and buy even worse legislation. This is, after all, the congress that has put more earmarks that funnel tax payer money to their families and buddies than almost any other. And this after a pledge not to so do.

  • Given that the clip was used for journalistic purposes?

    Or are we redefining what makes journalism? From Wikipedia: "Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion."

    To send the same information to a broad audience requires a broadcast. Thus completing the definition. From printing newspaper to uploading video to Youtube to updating your Facebook wall for the benefit of your 5,000 "friends".

    Just because you don't have a press pass

  • by mbone (558574) on Thursday December 15, 2011 @12:32PM (#38384268)

    And they get mad when we compare SOPA to Chinese censorship using the same tools.

  • Wonder if YouTube can be taken down by a mass submission of DMCA notices. A million notice march?

  • Copyright infringement isn't "theft"; it isn't "stealing". Nothing of material - as opposed to speculative - value has been denied the titular "owner". It's not piracy.

    What is it? The closest historical analog might be squatting. Squatters don't pirate the land they occupy; they don't steal it. They don't displace the owner. The land is exactly where it's always been. All a squatter does is use or appropriate the land in a manner unacceptable to its owner, possibly - but not always - interfering with

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