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Google Youtube Piracy The Media Your Rights Online

YouTube Says UMG Had No 'Right' To Take Down Megaupload Video 220

Posted by timothy
from the layered-agreements dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Contrary to a previous story, Google played no part in the Megaupload takedown. From Wired: 'YouTube said Friday that Universal Music abused the video-sharing site's piracy filters when it employed them to take down a controversial video of celebrities and pop superstars singing and praising the notorious file-sharing service Megaupload.'"
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YouTube Says UMG Had No 'Right' To Take Down Megaupload Video

Comments Filter:
  • by InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @11:38AM (#38408840)
    .. to begin with. That's just incompetent management. I don't have the right to delete anyones video at whim either, so why should big companies. Google needs to start running it's business better and hire people to process DMCA request. The worst thing is that they're doing much of this automatically. They have algorithms that look for the url from DMCA requests and automatically disables the video and sends the owner message. That just allows for abuse.
  • by rotorbudd (1242864) * on Saturday December 17, 2011 @11:38AM (#38408850)

    Ah, Universal ever heard of the Streisand Effect?
    I'm sure Megaupload can explain it to you.

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @11:48AM (#38408906)
    You're assuming that the laws apply to UMG. They pay good money to our representatives to ensure that they never do.
  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @11:49AM (#38408912)

    Google played no part in the Megaupload takedown.

    Just because they (or you) say that, doesn't mean its true. They played a huge part in it. They are the ones that created the system and they are the ones that entered into an agreement with UMG. Wether or not UMG "wasn't supposed to do this", is irrelevant. Google's poor oversight and management of these takedown tools and not keeping an eye on how their partners use them, is just as bad in my eyes. If their system has a loophole for people to bypass the DMCA, then they need to fix it and manage their system and partners better, if "Do no evil" is still relevant to them.

  • by InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @11:49AM (#38408914)
    DMCA itself is good. DMCA allows website owners protection against liability if some user of the service spreads copyright infringing content. It also puts liability against fake DMCA notices. Itself, DMCA is better thing than not to have it, because otherwise website owners would be liable for the action their users take.

    Now, SOPA/Protect IP is a completely different matter, and should not be passed.
  • by forkfail (228161) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @11:53AM (#38408940)

    ... artists are over.

    Why bother with seduction when rape is allowed?

  • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @11:57AM (#38408962)

    It also puts liability against fake DMCA notices.

    Not nearly enough to prevent abuse, though. There needs to be a financial penalty for obviously illegitimate DMCA claims. Fair Use seems not to mean a damn thing to them...

  • by neokushan (932374) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @11:58AM (#38408968)

    And what exactly is Google meant to do? Hire loads of people to sift through every DMCA claim for validity and potentially end up in court themselves should one of them make a bad call?
    I'm not saying I agree with the system, but part of that is if Google doesn't comply then they're directly liable. The takedown notices are bullshit, it shouldn't just be taken down without question, rather the person who uploaded it should be informed of the infringement and given the chance to defend themselves, without Google having to get involved (or whoever runs the site in question - this doesn't just apply to youtube, after all).
    Or better yet, any frivolous and unfounded takedown should be immediately met with a fine that's proportional to the size of the company/person in question that's filing it - so say $100 for your average joe who earns what's on the breadline, yet $50,000 for a record company who is clearly abusing their power. Eventually the frivilous takedowns would stop as people would get wise and realise it's easy to make money, while the actual infringers wouldn't get shit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:05PM (#38409014)

    Until there's a fine for fake DMCA takedown notices, the DMCA is broken and nothing more than a tool for massive faceless corporations to take down anything they like. Each time a corporation issues a misleading DMCA notice, and it's disputed, there should be a name and shame counter clocking on. Once it reaches a predetermined mark, the fine amounts should double. Sooner or later, this will be more expensive than the army of legal people abusing the system. Until there's a penalty that hurts the mega-corps' pockets, the DMCA will continue to be a tool against the small company or individual.

  • why are you talking about the DMCA giving UMG the right to do this?

    It's YouTube. Youtube's letting them do this.

    Granted, it's due to DMCA threats but... The fact that there isn't any oversight on YouTube/google's part is scary.

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:11PM (#38409070)
    You make it sound as though site operators have some kind of leeway regarding DMCA takedown notices - they don't - either they take it down, immediately, or they are in violation as well as the original poster.
  • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:13PM (#38409088)

    DMCA itself is good.

    No it isn't. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act [wikipedia.org] is good. The fact that the CDA doesn't cover "intellectual property" in the same way it does everything else is what the problem is.

  • by houghi (78078) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:14PM (#38409098)

    Don't be silly. They are a company and thus above the law. What are you? A communist to be even asking these kind of questions?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:16PM (#38409118)

    There is already heavy penalty for fake DMCA notices. It does require you to go to court to fight it, but you can't just assume that the original party should get penalty when it's only disputed.

    Why not? They take down the content when it is only disputed. Why should one side have to provide proof when the other doesn't?

  • by Mr. Shotgun (832121) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:22PM (#38409154)

    IANAL but I think UMG's actions would fall under Tortious interference of business [wikipedia.org]. They gamed You Tube's system to have a 4 minute commercial for a semi rival company removed while knowing they had no claim to have it removed. That seems to fit the definition to me, though again IANAL. As for damages, I would think that Megaupload had a Return on investment planned for this commercial and maybe awarding triple that amount would serve to set an example.

    Of course they could always use the MAFIAA's math and calculate it as $150,000 * (average video views per day after restoration * days video was taken down). As of 11:05 Dec 17 CST it has had 2,128,913 views for around 2 days of up time. so about 1 million per day. Date of take down was Dec 9th so 6 days down. 1064456.5 view times 6 days down times $150000 MAFIAA statutory damages gives us $958,010,850,000 or almost a trillion dollars. To bad it would never work that way, but if we could apply the same laws to the MAFIAA that they use against everyone else it would be a very, very interesting day.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:22PM (#38409162)

    Google played no part in the Megaupload takedown

    They gave them the tools to remove any video they wish in the first place. This is Google's fault.

  • by Bill Dimm (463823) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:24PM (#38409170) Homepage

    It's "do no evil", not "do not give other corporations tools for doing evil".

    Actually, it's Don't be evil [wikipedia.org]. One could reasonably claim that providing tools to allow other corporations to do evil is, in fact, being evil.

  • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn@ear ... t ['hli' in gap]> on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:25PM (#38409178)

    No. The DMCA is a lousy law.

    You mentioned the penalties "for fake notices". Sorry, but that's not correct. There are penalties if the person who files the notice knows that the notice is fake. If they are following instructions from someone else that they can claim a "good faith belief" in the honesty of...like their client...then no penalties can be issued against anyone no matter how many fake notices are filed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:29PM (#38409198)

    Mod up. As someone who has done hosting for the past 15+ years, we have seen our share of DMCA-related requests coming from subcontractors (on behalf of large names like Atari, Nintendo, Sega, etc.) behaving exactly as the parent here says -- site operators are forced to take content down within 24-48 hours or are in violation. Refusal or ignoring the request will result in most of them reaching out to your co-location provider or uplink and demanding your entire connection be shut off. And that really gets folks' attention (including the co-lo or uplink provider considering terminating your contract on the spot, depending on how the takedown notice is phrased).

    TL;DR -- do not even for a moment think that the DMCA provides any sort of "safe-harbour" clauses for site operators/hosting providers. We are in the same shit-filled boat as the rest of the Internet. Set sail for dick. [artware.qc.ca]

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:43PM (#38409330) Homepage

    DMCA is better thing than not to have it, because otherwise website owners would be liable for the action their users take.

    The DMCA is a shit sandwich on good bread. The good bread doesn't make it a good sandwich. Websites that enable the public to distribute information are a Good Thing, and tossing them to the wolves to protect a copy of The Lion King does not make economic sense. The acceptance of the DMCA by a 2m+ user ID is a startlingly good example of The Overton Window [wikipedia.org] in action (or you are a shill -- not unlikely given your quick +5 for that empty comment). Until we see some serious punishment for one of the serial abusers of the DMCA, it cannot remotely be considered a law in the public interest. It is a weapon of abuse, exactly as so many of us warned it would be when it was getting shoved down our throats, and exactly as so many of us are warning about SOPA now. The fact that they are now even bigger bastards wanting to be even more abusive to protect their little industry does not make the DMCA good.

    Quick question: If you had to give up the Internet for a year, or had to give up TV, music, and movies for a year, which would you do? I suspect the answer is, "I could not give up the Internet for a year, because it would cost me my job." We are protecting (poorly, I might add) one small industry at the expense of the most important technological advance in history, which is instrumental to every other industry and even to the small industry that is being protecting. The past 15 years of copyright law have been a nearly unmitigated loss for United States and global economic progress. To pretend otherwise is to betray a lack of sober reflection or understanding of the bigger picture.

  • by Stiletto (12066) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:51PM (#38409410)

    "Costing American Jobs" is simply today's "Supporting Terrorism". If you want to convince idiot voters to oppose something, just tell them that it TAKES AWAY JOBS!

  • by russotto (537200) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:53PM (#38409432) Journal

    DMCA itself is good. DMCA allows website owners protection against liability if some user of the service spreads copyright infringing content.

    Liability which wasn't there pre-DMCA, see RTC v. Netcom

    The DMCA was a case of copyright owners giving up what they never had in order to get something they wanted, namely the takedown process. When the takedown process proved insufficient, they just grabbed more (automated content filtering, and now SOPA and PROTECT-IP)

  • by Local ID10T (790134) <ID10T.L.USER@gmail.com> on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:08PM (#38409560) Homepage

    You miss the point. Google is required by law to take down anything that a DMCA notice is filed against. It is irrelevant whether the DMCA notice is correct or not. The law states that they MUST TAKE IT DOWN. It is up to the owner to file a DMCA counter-notice to have it put back -at which point it legally becomes an issue between the poster, and the filer of the DMCA notice to resolve in court -leaving Google out of it.

    Having humans employed to process the DMCA notices would not change the fact that they are required to take it down, irrespective of their feelings on the validity of the notice.

  • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:00PM (#38409982)

    I have to admit, I'm starting to be impressed with Universal in this. A finer example of shooting yourself in the foot, I've never seen. I mean, most people manage to aim for a toe or something, but no, Universal had to aim directly for an artery. Nothing less would do.

    Really, they've managed to argue that they have the authorization to take down any clip on YouTube, for any or no reason. If they manage to win their argument, they'll prove they are arrogant douchbags, and prompt Google to re-do their DMCA takedown procedures to more closely fit the law. (And, incidentally, make it harder for Universal to use.) If they don't, they still manage to be arrogant douchbags, but they also manage to be the first case of someone being taken to court for abusing the DMCA.

    All of this over a video I'd have never heard of if they hadn't bothered to do anything. Give them a hand: when they aim for their foot, they make sure it's gone.

  • Woot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Galestar (1473827) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:10PM (#38410084)
    How do I sign up to be a Youtube "rights holder". Going to register everything as mine and collect all the ad revenue. UMG here I come!

    Universal said Google’s private system doesn’t count as an official takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and thus it was immune from legal liability.

    So I can use Google's system to claim ownership of all your content and you can't sue me?? Dangerous position you take there.

  • by shentino (1139071) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:27PM (#38410268)

    Just require notices to have the same "penalty of perjury" requirements that counter-notices are already bound by and I'd be satisfied.

    I don't think the UMG lawyer who wrote the notice would want to risk getting disbarred just to backstab the competition with legal trickery.

    As a side note, the fact that notices and counter-notices are treated unequally with regards to perjury as it is smells like a deliberate arrangement to give content producers the upper hand in the market. Just spamigate the competition with DMCA notices and see what sticks.

    Presently the only good thing about the DMCA is that innocent bystanders that happen to be hosting something uploaded by someone else don't get caught in the crosshairs. Everything else is utter and complete bullshit.

  • by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:29PM (#38410848)
    Has anyone bothered to look at this "Creative America's" website? I haven't looked at it, but I'm sure statistics like the music and motion picture industry ringing in higher and higher profits year after year aren't on there. Or anything about the movie industry's evasion of royalties and profit sharing through accounting tricks [wikipedia.org]. Funny how they cry foul about piracy cutting into profits when they actively avoid paying other parties for the use of said party's IP.
  • by Pseudonym (62607) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @09:32PM (#38413100)

    The DMCA is a compromise. No compromise is perfect. Having seen it in action, we now know that it could do with a bunch of tuning.

    SOPA/PIPA is, by comparison, not a compromise. It's a one-sided deal.

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