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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

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  • by InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:38PM (#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 NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:45PM (#38408884)
      The DMCA itself is what "allows for abuse". The law was written so that site operators are required to take down if they receive a DMCA notice. BTW, have you seen the new "tell your Congresscritter to vote for SOPA/Protect IP commercials? Pack of outrageous lies -- like "stolen TV shows are costing American jobs".
      • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taikiNO@SPAMcox.net> on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:08PM (#38409048)

        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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No. It IS the DMCA giving them the right to do this. The DMCA explicitly says that the content hoster MUST remove the 'offending' material and go through the subsequent procedures. If the content hoster were to do research on the material and disregard the takedown notice as a result then they would be in breach of the DMCA and would lose all Safe Harbor protections regardless of whether the material was actually infringing or not.

          This is why there is an automated system in place. An automated system is ide

      • by Stiletto (12066) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:51PM (#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 NJRoadfan (1254248) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @04:29PM (#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.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "and hire people to process DMCA request."

      This wasn't a DMCA request.

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by cvtan (752695)
      "I don't have the right to delete anyones video at whim either, so why should big companies. "
      That's right. Because a company is considered equivalent to a person like you and... Oh wait. Never mind!
      • by arbiter1 (1204146) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:56PM (#38409460)
        They even used the DMCA removal tool on a streaming news program that uploads their videos to youtube when they had a clip of the video on their show and talked and Criticized it. Show in question is called TNT (Tech News Today). Its a week day program on Twit.tv. UMG claimed copyright in that video even though they used the clip under the fair use provision to discuss the story and comment. Clear violation of of the Fair Use Act that reads "Section (V) is similar to a broader version of the third prong of fair use and allows circumvention that enables access to public interest works for the purposes of "criticism, comment, news reporting, scholarship, or research." Since they are a News program.
      • by Endo13 (1000782)

        Because a company is considered equivalent to a person like you

        Yes, they are, in many ways they shouldn't be. And they keep pushing those limits all the time.

        Nice try, troll.

      • by jd (1658)

        Precisely because corporations are defined by SCOTUS as being a person, they should have no rights a person does not have. I don't agree with the definition but that's immaterial. That's the definition and the corporations need to suffer the bad as well as take the good if they want it. If they decide that's not what they really want after all, then they can use the legal process to challenge it -- because, as individuals, they have no rights to change it any other way.

        What would be optimal is immaterial an

  • by rotorbudd (1242864) * on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:38PM (#38408850)

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

    • by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:02PM (#38408992) Journal

      Ah, Universal ever heard of the Streisand Effect?

      Hear, hear. I didn't know what Megaupload was until Universal did this.

    • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:00PM (#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.

  • And now we see... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:43PM (#38408864)

    This shit is why there should be penalties for abuse. These guys routinely do whatever the fuck they want regardless of Fair Use or any other rights the people have. I have seen this myself as every single video I have uploaded that had a DMCA claim made, when I challenged it, the videos were reinstated within a day or two. They know the claims are bullshit, but they're banking on the fact that people won't assert their rights.

    Start hitting them with damages when they file these erroneous claims and watch how fast that shit stops....

    • Re:And now we see... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:48PM (#38408908)

      There is a penalty for filing false DMCA claims, perjury. Unfortunately it seems like it is never enforced.

    • Please. This was obviously just a case of Universal's lawyers acting in good faith, and perhaps getting a trifle overzealous. /sarcasm
    • This shit is why there should be penalties for abuse

      No, because that puts the burden on the website operators or the users. Why should copyright holders get to shortcut the legal system with the takedown notice procedure? Let them go to court, prove to the court that they have a case, and get a court order. If the courts think the MPAA is overburdening them, overreaching, etc., let them deny the court order and demand that the MPAA pay court fees for wasting the court's time.

      • The burden is already on the users to assert their videos are indeed protected under the Fair Use clause. They're not checking the usage of their infringing material, their computers detect a pattern that matches something they own the rights to and automatically pulls the video, regardless. They are supposed to respect Fair Use, but they clearly do not. That is the abuse I'm referring to.
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot&hackish,org> on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:43PM (#38408874)

    Given the broad overreach [pdf] [volokh.com] of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to count violations of Terms of Service agreements as "unauthorized access" (i.e. "hacking"), it be a criminal offense for UMG to violate Google's rules on how its piracy filters are to be used?

    • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:48PM (#38408906)
      You're assuming that the laws apply to UMG. They pay good money to our representatives to ensure that they never do.
    • No because those laws were only supposed to apply to individuals. The courts try to figure out the intent of Congress when they interpret these laws, and it is pretty clear that the intent of Congress was to punish anyone who does not fit the "passive consumer" mold. Basically, if you are an individual, you are supposed to buy everything, and if you are a corporation the law protects you from individuals who try to save money by "gaming" the system.
    • by houghi (78078) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:14PM (#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 girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:15PM (#38409110)

      it be a criminal offense for UMG to violate Google's rules on how its piracy filters are to be used?

      Unlike individuals, there really is no criminal law for corporations because you can't jail a corporation. So even murder becomes a question of how much money do they have to pay out.

      • by Fastolfe (1470)

        Murder isn't committed by a corporation, it's committed by a person. If a crime occurs, you should be able to identify the *person* that actually committed it, and send that person to jail.

        In the case of things like bad DMCA takedown notices, the crime would be perjury and it would be attributed to the person that actually signed their name to the DMCA notice.

        There's the possibility, though, that a corporation is pumping out hundreds of sketchy DMCA notices, that, individually, don't quite rise to the leve

  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:49PM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by neokushan (932374)

      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 Goo

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        And what exactly is Google meant to do? Hire loads of people to sift through every DMCA claim

        Yes. They don't need to make sure if the actual content is infringing or not, DMCA is very clear on the procedure. If the original uploader think it violates others copyrights, then he can submit counter-notice and get it back. At this point Google doesn't anymore have any responsibility - now it's up to the two parties to fight it over, most likely in court.

        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).

        It can't work like that because then all the copyright infringing person could do is not reply to the notice. How long should Google, or other site own

        • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsnNO@SPAMearthlink.net> on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:25PM (#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 russotto (537200)

          Yes. They don't need to make sure if the actual content is infringing or not, DMCA is very clear on the procedure. If the original uploader think it violates others copyrights, then he can submit counter-notice and get it back.

          Sure, the uploader can say "Sue me". That's what a DMCA counter-notice is, an invitation to be sued. Would you invite an RIAA lawyer to sue you? That's the price of being able to upload content nowadays, to literally invite lawsuits from entities far more powerful than you.

          But it'

        • by houghi (78078)

          So what we should do is all file a DMCA copyright claim on any of their songs. Once they put it back, somebody else claims it. That way we could abuse the system and get THEIR music away from Youtube.

          It is nice that you think that Google has give copyright owners extra access. However they are not the ones that decide who is the actual copyright owner. The law should do that.

          If I claim that I have the right of a song that I see and that Sony placed online, do you think they will take it down? They did nothi

      • And what exactly is Google meant to do?

        I think Google and the rest of the major tech industry giants should create a consortium and collectively buy the MAFIAA out, so we can get on with living in the future and stop this nonsense of protecting one industry by penalizing another. This whole last ten twenty years has been ridiculous! Like the old laws that required all automobiles to have someone walk ahead of them at night with a lantern in attempt to slow them down to a level that horses could compete

    • It's "do no evil", not "do not give other corporations tools for doing evil". See Android and Carrier IQ, this and a bunch of other stuff. To their credit, they have made the video available again (and release Nexus phones), but they really should use this to stop policing UMG's content on Youtube ("if UMG says our tool is not valid as a DMCA request, then we'll cut their access and let them scan for their own content and submit DMCA forms").

  • by forkfail (228161) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:53PM (#38408940)

    ... artists are over.

    Why bother with seduction when rape is allowed?

    • They woo the artists with money, and that only when drugs and women don't work. Never have they done whatever the artist wanted. They did whatever the artist wanted, when what the artist wanted made them money.
  • by youn (1516637) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @12:59PM (#38408976) Homepage

    this is a blatant abuse of the DMCA provisions to silence someone. Definitely not good if legal precedent is set where this is ok... not good for free speech, or anyone that has ideas other people do not like. I am not a lawyer but technically this could be extended to negative reviews or any content that someone thinks is troublesome... let s hope there is a real trial where they are actually get fined to discourage such behavior.

    • by HiThere (15173)

      Who would you think would be sued on what grounds?

      There's no action possible on the DMCA, because you can't show that the person who made the claim knew that it was fake. Under the law, as I understand it, the person who files must have a reasonable belief that the notice is valid. I think you need to show not that he should have known that it was invalid, but instead that he did know. And no penalties can be issued against the person who told him to file.

      The only reasonable way around this that I can se

      • by fnj (64210)

        So in other words if I tell my minion to violate the law, giving him to understand what I ask of him is legal, both he and I are exempt from prosecution for that action?

  • by Grand Facade (35180) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:02PM (#38408988)

    So the Farmer let the Fox into the chicken house to cull the bad chickens!!!
    Whoa, lazy Farmer!
    But on top of that the Farmer is letting the Fox decide which chickens are bad!

    But that's not all...

    The Farmer is not even checking what the Fox is doing! WTF!!!

    Glad I'm not a chicken......

  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:03PM (#38408996)
    I would have never heard of Megaupload if not for the loud bang of you shooting yourself in the foot!
  • ...hopefully this will be exhibit A for how SOPA could be used to violate the first amendment.
  • by Mr. Shotgun (832121) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:22PM (#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 walterbyrd (182728) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:22PM (#38409158)

    It sure seems like it. All these articles come out with wildly sensationalist, and misleading, headlines about Google.

    And it always turns out that the over-the-top "news" is just google smearing BS.

    For example that article about "Google stores credit card information in plain text" and now this. Then that was that article that made such a big fuss about the update time-table for Android phones. And all that was just yesterday.

    • Maybe these news come out because they are serious issues that Google has. Only a fanboy would think we shouldn't report bad things about Google.
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @01:22PM (#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.

  • If UMG wins on their defense (that the automated system is not a DMCA notice), then YouTube can take down their automated system and require content rights holders to submit DMCA takedown requests in writing, right?

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/12/universal-megaupload-video/ [wired.com]
  • Woot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Galestar (1473827) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:10PM (#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.

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