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Viacom Claims Copyright On Irrlicht Video

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the some-kinda-nerve dept.

Television 258

stinkytoe writes in with the news that Nikolaus Gebhardt, developer of the cross-platform game engine library Irrlicht, recently had one of his video tutorials taken off of YouTube. A thread on Irrlicht's forum contains a copy of the takedown notice. From Gebhardt's blog: "Viacom, the corporation behind MTV, DreamWorks and Paramount is now claiming they own the copyright on a video of an Irrlicht tutorial. Which is completely ridiculous, of course: The whole thing has been written by me and the Irrlicht team, even textures and skins and logos have been created by me, and an Irrlicht Engine user... simply filmed and published it on YouTube.com. Here is a screenshot of the tutorial, it's really just a 2D GUI rendered using the 3D engine, nothing special at all."

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Woops... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17911110)

They must have gotten carried away. Quick guys, copyright your wedding videos and personal amateur porn before they do!

Re:Woops... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17911324)

Quick guys, copyright your wedding videos and personal amateur porn before they do!

Make no difference to these grasping, overreaching bastards.

How about a countersuit for losing a contract when a potential client saw the material was not available.

Re:Woops... (5, Funny)

kaizenfury7 (322351) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911412)

Thankfully my wedding video and personal amateur porn is the same video.

...

...

Goddamnit, use the INSIDE voice...the INSIDE voice!

Re:Woops... (2, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911514)

They must have gotten carried away. Quick guys, copyright your wedding videos and personal amateur porn before they do!
To be fair, they're probably already copyrighted [templetons.com] . That is, unless 1) you've explicitly released them into the public domain, or 2) created them before 1989. (And I'm not sure exactly what `created' means in this context. Perhaps you filmed it in 1945, but didn't upload it to youtube until 2006? (whoa!, that looks like those old photos of grandma! and what's that goat doing to her? ew!) The uploaded version would clearly be a derivitave work, but I'm guessing that putting it into another tangible form would mean it's automatically copyrighted right then even if it wasn't originally.)


Obviously Viacom merely made a mistake. Expect an apology soon. DMCA being abused? That's hardly news anymore -- it happens every day. This would appear to be one step below that -- a simple mistake.

Scanning "not creative" enough? (3, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911822)

The uploaded version would clearly be a derivitave work, but I'm guessing that putting it into another tangible form would mean it's automatically copyrighted right then even if it wasn't originally.

This is actually a fairly interesting question, and IMO an important one. I'm not sure I share your conclusion that the uploaded version is a new work, though. Although it certainly could be, if you changed it (say, retouched, or even just cropped it), a straight scan+upload probably wouldn't be original enough.

It's an interesting question, because I recently scanned hundreds of old family photos and slides. Many of them, provided Congress stops extending copyright indefinitely, will be out of the original photographer's copyright relatively soon (as in, probably within my lifetime -- copyright, like geology, has its own relative time-scales). However, if the act of scanning the photo automatically makes a new work, then it's under copyright for another 120+ years, beginning 2006. Not really a concern to me, since I'd be the copyright holder, but of concern to a hypothetical other party who might want to use them.

I suspect that simply scanning a photo, in its entirety, and uploading it, does not represent enough of a creative act to warrant a renewal of copyright as a derivative work. Essentially, all that is happening, is that the older work is being "format shifted." However, if you were to do any type of alteration to the original photo that wasn't totally automatic, even something like color correction, I could see an argument for protection on the grounds that it was a creative act.

Re:Scanning "not creative" enough? (4, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912230)

A copy of a public domain work is public domain... for now

But there is pressure to change it so that any refixing in a medium of a work grants a new copyright duration, even if (or if-and-only-if, I'm not certain on that detail) the original work had passed into the public domain. You can't make copies of the new copy; you need to go to the wellspring (a copy with expired copyright) and make your copy from that.

Of course this means if a company keeps a stranglehold on their works using DRM so that no one can make a new copy without the original masters, they can just keep reissuing the work and retain perpetual copyright control. It would allow for the reduction of copyright duration and stop dragging all works along with Mickey Mouse, but at the expense of granting perpetual copyright to immortal corporations and estates, which should violate the Constitution in the US.

Re:Scanning "not creative" enough? (1)

Greg Lindahl (37568) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912296)

Bridgeman v. Corel

Re:Scanning "not creative" enough? (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912338)

I'm not sure I share your conclusion that the uploaded version is a new work, though.
Well, that's not really my conclusion.


I don't think it would qualify as a *new* work (unless it was manually edited or retouched, as you suggested) but since the purpose of the Berne convention was to make sure everything was copywrited unless explicitly put into the public domain, I'm inclined to think that by being published (uploaded to youtube), especially by the owner of the item, would cause it (the uploaded version) to be copyrighted, even if the original wasn't before. (But to be sure, adding a `Copyright 1945 Grandma' message would be a good idea.)

However, if the act of scanning the photo automatically makes a new work, then it's under copyright for another 120+ years, beginning 2006.
Clearly it doesn't, not if you merely scan the photo. And even if you do retouch it, then you have a copyright on the retouched version, but the original photo will not have the same copyright. But if you convert an old video (on film!) to a computer file and then upload it, there's probably going to be some editing involved, so it seems pretty clear that the new version should be covered.

This sounds like a job for an intellectual property lawyer! (And I'm not a lawyer at all.) But really, it's easier to just add the copyright notice somewhere rather than to consult a lawyer.

You're right, it's an interesting question, and the answer isn't immediately obvious.

Re:Scanning "not creative" enough? (2, Informative)

Excelsior (164338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912462)

However, if you were to do any type of alteration to the original photo that wasn't totally automatic, even something like color correction, I could see an argument for protection on the grounds that it was a creative act.

Wrong, sorry. The rules for Copyright Registration for Derivative Works [copyright.gov] says specifically:

Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work.

Re:Woops... (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911786)

You would surely appreciate the ability to quickly remove your personal amateur porn from YouTube if Viacom posted it without your permission. And if you mistook someone else's vagina for your wife's, well a) Viacom can just send mail to YouTube and restore it and b) you in a hell of a lot trouble at home.

Re:Woops... (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912560)

Anybody want to start emailing takedown notices to Viacom's ISP?
Or if anybody here pwns their own botnet, DoS the bastards for us, huh?

if you want to bake a cake (3, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911114)

you have to break a few eggs
 
they don't care if there is a little collateral damage in this war against 'piracy'

Re:if you want to bake a cake (5, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911444)

they don't care if there is a little collateral damage in this war against 'piracy'
Well, I'm hoping that some of this "scatter shot" technique being used by the media companies in their so called war on piracy starts backfiring. I'd like to see them become some of the collateral damage, and for the lawmakers to reign them in and make them have a higher evidentiary burden.

As it is, they basically get to threaten anyone without any justification or consequence. It's getting absurd, really.

Cheers

Re:if you want to bake a cake (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17911488)

Well, I'm hoping that some of this "scatter shot" technique being used by the media companies in their so called war on piracy[...]
AKA the bukkake technique.

I know just the man for the job... (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911968)

Well, I'm hoping that some of this "scatter shot" technique being used by the media companies in their so called war on piracy starts backfiring.

Where's Dick Cheney when you need him?

Re:I know just the man for the job... (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912222)

In a secure, undisclosed location, of course.

WTF? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17911132)

stinkytoe writes...

Can't people take the time to come up with a better nick? Geesh.

Evidently not, Mr. AC (1, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911498)

Good evening Mr. Pot, my name is Kettle and I'll be your server. Try the irony, it's delicious.

Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (5, Insightful)

Karzz1 (306015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911134)

If you elect to send us a counter notice, to be effective it must be a written communication provided to our designated agent...

So this means that the media companies can falsely claim copyright to *any* material and the publisher is provided an email by youtube. However, in order to counter, you (the publisher) have to send a snailmail to them and wait how long before something is done about it? Are you even guarenteed a response?

This is complete and utter bullshit. As we have seen in other articles [slashdot.org] this only provides the media companies with the means to takedown *anything* posted on youtube or any other similar site for that matter for any reason whatsoever. Talk about Freedom of Speech and anti-trust* issues.

* -- If I don't like something that is said about my product online... I can simply have it taken down with the DMCA.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911274)

* -- If I don't like something that is said about my product online... I can simply have it taken down with the DMCA.

No, Viacom can do this. You can't afford to go to court over bogus takedown notices every week.

The law, of course, favors the megalithic entity, because they're the ones who pay for it.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (4, Interesting)

frdmfghtr (603968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912532)

No, Viacom can do this. You can't afford to go to court over bogus takedown notices every week.

The law, of course, favors the megalithic entity, because they're the ones who pay for it.
Maybe that's the point.

If the big media companies keep doing this to quality, independent content producers, then the independents won't be so inclined to use sites like YouTube to distribute their content, since there's a good chance that it will be mistakenly taken down, and restoration takes a while and more effort than the content is worth.

Thus, Big Media poisons a new outlet that is outside their control, for media that is also outside their control.

(Not trying to be a tinfoil-hat-conspiracy-theorist, but raising a point of discussion.)

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17911346)

So the basic idea is to flood these organisations with take down notices where you believe that "your" copyright "may" have been "violated".

Then it is up to the Viacom's/Time-Warner/Sony to whinge to YouTube or whoever.

Flood 'em with paperwork.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (2, Informative)

Misch (158807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911898)

The DMCA that declarations of ownership have to be done under penalty of perjury.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17912288)

Flood them with false takedown requests, the courts aren't going to be trying thousands of perjury trials per day. Give the RIAA a taste of their own medicine.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912552)

The DMCA that declarations of ownership have to be done under penalty of perjury.

Which rarely gets charged. You should not expect the charge of perjury to be leveled on your behalf, even if the perjury is performed under oath in the presence of a judge with the evidence of it clear to all present; level the charge yourself.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (4, Interesting)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911416)

That is how the DMCA works. The point is that it holds the carrier (in this case, Youtube) harmless as long as they comply. Generally, the carrier of the alleged copyrighted works will comply and give the "owner" an opportunity to fight it. The point is, you can fight it, and should within the law. If they throw a bureacracy at them, show them you're merely a concerned citizen with too much time on his hands and fight back. Hell, if they don't back down, file a federal lawsuit and demand their evidence. Subpoena their CEO and force them to spend thousands to quash it. Settle only when they give you written agreement never to issue another takedown notice to you for the video or another other video covered by your produce.

Free speech doesn't include copyrighted material, and you should know that. But this type of thing shows yet another manner that the DMCA can be used to harass or silence legitimate speech.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (2, Informative)

pairo (519657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911520)

Free speech doesn't include copyrighted material, and you should know that. But this type of thing shows yet another manner that the DMCA can be used to harass or silence legitimate speech.
Actually, in the US, it does. It's called Fair Use [wikipedia.org] .
I don't really see much connection between that and the GP's comment, though. Moreso, this has nothing to do with free speech, since they're not censoring you, you can have your stuff reinstated and they'll have to sue next. Not to mention that you can counter-sue.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (1)

pairo (519657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911592)

I take that back. I see what he's saying, and fair use applies there.
I should really learn how to read one of these days...

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911554)

this only provides the media companies with the means to takedown *anything*

Takedown notices are provided under penalty of perjury. In order to take things down that they don't hold the copyright to, like in this instance, they need to commit a crime.

Faith and Understanding..... (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912162)

they are filed with the "on faith and understanding" clause - which mostly means they believe they hold the rights to the material they are requesting to be taken down. In order to get perjury, you would need to be able to prove that they knew they didn't own the rights to the material when they sent in the request. If you can prove that, you can probably prove malice - which will get you into Slander of Title [groklaw.net] where you can actually make some of the big money because it would involve corperate fraud.

Negligence and damages are more likely avenues to succeed.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912166)

Oddly enough the perjury thing rarely applies because :

Big corporation owns ABC

You post XYZ

Big coporation serves notice saying that under penalty of perjury they own the copyright on ABC. XYZ appears to infringe this copyright and must be taken down.

See how it works? - they only thing they swear to is ownership of ABC, not that XYZ is in fact a copy of ABC.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911776)

Agreed that this is bullshit. IANAL but is there some way they can sue Viacom for falsely claiming to own the copyright, and asking for damages based on the marketing value of the video being posted on YouTube for the duration it has been down?

I'm curious what Viacom's response would be if I sent a letter out claiming I had the rights to their properties.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (1)

jmcharry (608079) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911948)

Actually, the notice allows a reply by email if you provide and electronic "signature".

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912234)

So this means that the media companies can falsely claim copyright to *any* material and the publisher is provided an email by youtube. However, in order to counter, you (the publisher) have to send a snailmail to them and wait how long before something is done about it? Are you even guarenteed a response?

Yes! We've seen this before. It's how the DMCA works. And it rather naively seems to assume that nobody would mistakenly or maliciously claim that they own the copyright to something they don't. Other legal systems have specifically rejected this type of clause because of the problems the DMCA causes for legitimate content.

Re:Anti-competitive and suppresses free speech... (1)

zornorph (63846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912470)

Bored? Need something to do?

1) Copyright a poem/song/home movie
2) Search through media company's catalogs for titles with matching keywords
3) DMCA takedown notice
4) No idea if there's any profit, but hey, it would appear that all it takes is an email to remove things you don't like from the Internet (temporarily). No need for zombie PCs etc. If it comes back up, send another takedown notice from a different address.

Theft? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911162)

So, aside from filing a lawsuit to recover the DMCA's "oops" damages, can they also file charges of theft for Viacom attempting to steal the property part of their intellectual property?

Slander of Title - depending (4, Informative)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911994)

Per Groklaw - Slander of Title [groklaw.net] would apply to this, if you can show some sort of malice. If there were a pattern of the types of videos they 'erroneously' had taken down, it would go a long way towards establishing malice. However, if there is just a bunch of random crap thrown into the legitimate claims, then it's unlikely that you would be able to persue a Slander of Title claim very far.

They have obviously failed to check on the actual status of the Copyrights for the video, which would set them up for a negligence suit. Since it's a tutorial on using a companies software, you might sneak it in under 'Tortuous Interferance' - ie. their actions are causing harm to the company's business and are not related to competition by VIACOM itself. [irony]MS couldn't claim interfierance by Apple just because Apple sells an OS. If Apple were to blackmail/bribe software houses into not developing for MS, then there would be a legitimate suit.[/irony]

Of course if you want to be boring, you could go with

  • libel - they have accused you in a writen document of engaging in copyright infringement without proof.
  • damages - lost time/effort/expense to correct their error.
  • emotional distress - hey, it's an old standby - works better for people than companies.

Depending on how many of the videos they asked to have taken down were not infringing on their copyrights, then this might be a prime target for a CAS against Viacom. That would rattle their chain - and might give the other big distributors a pause before they sent out mass takedown notices as well.

Can't resist... (2, Funny)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911168)

"All your base are belong to us!" Sincerly - Viacom

That's not all... (5, Informative)

ack154 (591432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911184)

Apparently Viacom owns the rights to a few people eating dinner [harvard.edu] as well.

Re:That's not all... (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911672)

I cannot view either your link or the original Irrlicht video on youtube. At least your link says "Now loading" but never does. The Irrlicht video has a disclaimer it has been removed. Why don't either of these two just post the original video on their own hosted website? If need be, it's far easier handling future requests to remove that content with your own provider than through youtube. I followed many links in Irrlicht and could not find the original video. Direct links off the original hosts website anyone?

Re:That's not all... (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911828)

Well, at least for this video, I had to do some searching on his blog to find the original. He has it hosted on google video:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-253426714 6249503217 [google.com]

Yes, now I'm a believer. It would appear Viacom wants not only to control youtube, but our tubes as well.

Re:That's not all... (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912456)

It looks like youtube has found Viacom to be in error and reinstated the sunday night dinner [youtube.com] video. There is no copyright violation posted, though the video still doesn't load. I guess they went from DMCA'ed to slashdotted in less than a day,... ;-)

The copyright notice is still there on the Irrlicht video tutorial [youtube.com] , though.

Sue them? (2, Interesting)

PineGreen (446635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911190)

Can't he sue them? Surely they are appropriating something that is clearly not theirs?

Re:Sue them? (2, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912028)

Can't he sue them? Surely they are appropriating something that is clearly not theirs?

They haven't "appropriated" anything. They've done a shitty job of trying to ID Viacom copyrights on YouTube, and the spineless pussies at YouTube / Google have folded to their blanket take-down requests instead of demanding more solid proof. YouTube /Google are now the Official Bitches of Viacom

Sure, Viacom needs to improve their accuracy in automatically IDing their stuff, but the weight of the balme needs to land square on YouTube for a complete lack of spine.

That's not the way it works. (4, Informative)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912190)

YouTube and Google are not supposed to demand proof. The DMCA is very specific: The party who believes their copyright has been infringed must send a signed statement stating that the copyright is theirs, under penalty of perjury. Once that has happened, the ISP must take down the content if they don't want to risk being held liable for having the content.

So if Viacom sent the DMCA request, then the beef of the actual copyright owner is with Viacom, not with the ISP.

For a little perspective (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911202)

I give you, courtesy Wikipedia, the List of Assets owned by Viacom. [wikipedia.org]

Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 17.1).Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 17.1).Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition. Comment aborted.Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 17.1).Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition. Comment aborted.Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 17.1).Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 17.1).Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 22.6).Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 22.6).Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition. Comment aborted.Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 22.6).Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 22.6).Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition. Comment aborted.Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 22.6).Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 22.6).Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 22.6).

Internet

* MTVi Group
* Nickelodeon Online
* BET.com
* Contentville.com (35%)
* Neopets
* GameTrailers
* iFilm
* Xfire

Film production and distribution

* Paramount Pictures Corporation
o Paramount Vantage
o Paramount Classics
* MTV Films
* Nickelodeon Movies
* Republic Pictures (or Republic Entertainment, Inc.)
* DreamWorks, LLC (or Dreamworks SKG)
o Go Fish Pictures
* Paramount Home Entertainment

Television networks

* MTV
* Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite
* Nick GAS
* Nicktoons TV
* TV Land
* CMT
* Spike TV
* VH1
* Noggin/The N
* BET
* Comedy Central
* LOGO
* MTV Networks International (includes TMF, VIVA and Paramount Comedy)

Publishing

* Famous Music

Television production and distribution

* DreamWorks Television (following DreamWorks acquisition, to become part of CBS Paramount Television in 2006)

Miscellaneous Assets

* Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
* Cinema International Corporation or CIC
o United International Pictures or UIP
* MTVN Direct
* Viacom Consumer Products

"List of assets owned by Viacom." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 25 Jan 2007, 23:34 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 6 Feb 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of _assets_owned_by_Viacom&oldid=103256937 [wikipedia.org] >.

Stupid (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17911250)

Isn't Viacom the company that just told YouTube to remove something like 100,000 video clips of its stuff? They probably just ran some searches and came up with yours by mistake, although it'd be nice to know why.

IANAL, but I believe that they can simply file a DMCA Counter Notice and make Viacom put up or shut up--hopefully that would be enough to make them realize that they've misidentified the clip as being something of theirs.

Re:Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17911288)

Ya, welcome to the party. Jackets in the back room, punch in the kitchen, beer on the deck.

This is PART of that 100,000 take-down thing... that's the whole point of the story!

Shut up, go away, and never come back (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912320)

"Put up or shut up." doesn't stop Viacom from doing it next week to 100 different people.
A class actions of "Show a Jury why you weren't negligent in filing these 100 requests.", tells Viacom and all the others to use a scalpel not a shotgun to do this or we will hurt you.

Re:Stupid (1)

Monkeyman334 (205694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912400)

although it'd be nice to know why.

This is Slashdot. Obviously, Viacom is afraid of YouTube's popularity competing with Viacom's. So they send a broad DMCA (they bought it for a reason!) takedown notice in order to YouTube. Duh.

Re:Stupid (2, Funny)

Monkeyman334 (205694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912442)

*Ahem* in order to hurt YouTube.

Like I said, this is Slashdot.

Possible Reason (5, Informative)

indigest (974861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911302)

There happens to be a 1972 album by Klaus Schulze that is also called Irrlicht [wikipedia.org] which was originally released in 1972 and then re-released in 2006. Perhaps Viacom owns the rights to this album and their search bot mistakenly flagged the video as a copyrighted work.

Re:Possible Reason (4, Insightful)

truedfx (802492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911340)

Since when are takedown notices supposed to be sent by search bots?

Re:Possible Reason (5, Funny)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911584)

Since the legal staff hired a perl programmer, circa 1998.

Re:Possible Reason (2, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911836)

IANAL, but I believe each DMCA complaint must include a statement along the lines of: "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed."

Using a bot to send out such notices would be dangerous, as any false positives would open the sender up to a countersuit- ala, Michael Crook [eff.org] .

Perjury! (3, Interesting)

Benanov (583592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911460)

I wonder if by firing off a C&D letter you're committing perjury if you're found to be wrong?

Re:Perjury! (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911640)

I wonder if by firing off a C&D letter you're committing perjury if you're found to be wrong?
That would certainly be a nice interpetation, but so far I know of nobody ever getting prosecuted for this sort of thing.

Re:Perjury! (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911696)

I wonder if by firing off a C&D letter you're committing perjury if you're found to be wrong?

I think the rule of thumb is.... it's not perjury if you are wrong, only if you lie. Generally, the best defence is being an idiot.

Now automated harassment on the other hand... that would IMHO be a reasonable claim.

Re:Perjury! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17912394)

Generally, the best defence is being an idiot.

That's the one Bush will try during his war crimes trial. :)

Re:Perjury! (1)

pairo (519657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911750)

Probably not, if they don't follow up on the suit. They can always claim it was a mistake. The DMCA states:

Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section-- (1) that material or activity is infringing [...] shall be liable for any damages [...]
Key word here being "knowingly".

Re:Perjury! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17911882)

Not perjury, but the lawyer is acting in an unprofessional manner and betraying his code of conduct.

The lawyer has to put up his hand and swear that he has a good faith belief that the content is infringing.

How many lawyers actually watched those 100,000 videos in the Grand Takedown?

Did they inspect them all for fair use parody or fair use criticism? Or did they just do a check on the names? Did they see if the Redbones in the title was the Redbones they own the copyright on?

Find the lawyers' names. Write a postcard to their state bar complaining about unprofessional conduct. Maybe once those fatcats get called out like Jack Thompson they'll find a productive line of work.

Re:Perjury! (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911894)

I wonder if by firing off a C&D letter you're committing perjury if you're found to be wrong?
Unfortunately, no. IANAL, but my understanding is that Perjury requires proof of intent. Which means that they need to know that they're incorrect ahead of time. Since Viacom believes that their list of takedowns is correct to the best of their knowledge, there would be no perjury committed.

In any case, a DMCA notice would probably not be considered purjury. The sender took no oath to be truthful when they sent the notice. However, they could land in hot water for harrassment. It would be tricky to prosecute, but if you could show a significant degree of error in Viacom's takedown procedures, you could get them slammed with an injunction against sending DMCA notices. At least until a judge is fully convinced that Viacom has corrected the errors.

Re:Perjury! (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912198)

Since Viacom believes that their list of takedowns is correct to the best of their knowledge, there would be no perjury committed.

Great, so now that their bot has been proven to be unreliable, further use of it to identify material would be reckless. We'll give them this one, the next time an automated process incorrectly identifies material as copyrighted, they knowingly used a process known to falsely identify copyrighted material. If they aren't prosecuted the second time, then it's no different than if I issue a takedown of everything with "Alaska" in the title because I've taken some nice videos and pictures on my travels around the state. After all, it might be mine, and I can't be bothered to actually look at it, so take it all down and make them prove it isn't my footage. I would encourage everyone else to do the same, and then we'll have Google and YouTube fighting against the DMCA rules that are hurting them. The only way to fight the big guys is get other big guys on our side.

Re:Perjury! (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911984)

> I wonder if by firing off a C&D letter you're committing perjury if you're found to be wrong?

Not in general, but DMCA notices are specifically filed under penalty of perjury. It's part of the law.

Perjury requires intent however -- it's not a crime to be mistaken. Viacom's automated notices are a grey area that is at worst negligent (and at best for them, well, the system's rigged enough that they're guilty of nada).

Maybe we can get them declared vexatious litigants?

Re:Possible Reason (2, Interesting)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911516)

So what? The point here is that Viacom should be doing more than running around demanding the removal of anything that might belong to them, they need to be demanding the removal of things that definitely belong to them. The burden simply can't be on regular people to have to fight Viacom legally for the right to have their own stuff up there.

Re:Possible Reason (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911542)

Per Wikipedia Irrlicht was released on Ohr Records (some about them here [eurock.com] - "Later OHR Records turned into the Cosmic Music label". There is an article on Cosmic Music [southern.com] . I found http://www.cosmic-music.com/ [cosmic-music.com] but the babelfish translation of the site's history page (browsing there left as an exercise to the reader) says nothing about Ohr, so I am forced to conclude that it is the wrong label (and it looked indie anyway.) So anyway I lost the trail here. Can anyone pick it up?

Inside Out US Label (1)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911598)

Amazon has the re-release under Inside Out U.S. [amazon.com] , which lists him as their artist here. [insideoutmusic.com]

Re:Possible Reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17911784)

Well that's great to be able to explain a mistake but that doesn't take away from the actual damages caused by mistakes such as these. The DMCA, which is really the issue at hand, enables "damaging mistakes" [ABUSE] to occur like this on a regular basis. And from what I can tell, it occurs on a very regular basis.

How much evidence of abuse of this law has to be collected before an organization can be raised to lobby congress to have the law repealed? It's bad law. Let them repeal it. The pendulum favoring consumer rights is swinging in our direction now. It's best to take advantage of all the momentum we can possibly get. DRM will soon be completely out of favor and we will be assured of our rights to record our TV shows and football games in hi-def.

Re:Possible Reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17912140)

Irrlicht also happens to be a german word that is familiar to anyone that's ever read german fairy tales.

Re:Possible Reason (1)

modir (66559) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912530)

And there is a band with this name as well. http://www.irrlicht.ch/ [irrlicht.ch] Maybe a video clip belongs to VIACOM. I thinks as well, that a search bot accidentally listed it... And the person at VIACOM sent the list 1:1 to youtube without looking at it.

Re:Possible Reason (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912548)

Exactly what i was thinking.

Numbers of 1st presidents that care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17911304)

1.6 billions.

A few quick ideas (1)

hypnagogue (700024) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911434)

1) It's copyright infringement: sue.
2) It's restraint of trade: sue.
3) It's defamation of character: sue.
4) It's slander of title: sue.

Sue, and do not accept a settlement. Make sure to use loaded words like "piracy" and "theft" in every press release. Have fun!

Must be nice having money pouring out your ass (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911608)

Most of us do not have a rectal-capital fountain, and so we can not afford to sue if this happens to us. Here's an even better idea, get rid of the DMCA and go back to the tried and true "innocent until proven guilty." The DMCA has always been a tool to help the largest players in the entertainment industry control their market.

Class Action Status (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911976)

I bet you could find enough copyright holders who've had their IP removed from youtube due to Viacomm's shotgun approach to takedown notices that you could get a class action lawsuit going. It doesn't matter that the members of the class don't get that much as long as it sets Viacomm back by, oh, lets say... 3 BILLION DOLLARS! That should be enough to insure that they'll be more careful next time they try any shenanigans.

um no.... (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912420)

1) It's copyright infringement: sue.
No, it's not infringement. All of the others can be used, but that one can't. If they broadcast it, even claiming it as an example of their error, then it would be.

Surprisingly, this is not the end of the world. (1)

amosh (109566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911576)

Irrlich needs to send an email to YouTube, stating that this is a mistake. This should take them all of ten minutes to do. While in general we don't consider this kind of thing a good situation - just because there's a viable remedy doesn't mean that we're comfortable allowing people to go nuts - before the slashdot crowd goes TOO far off the deep end, please remember that Viacom isn't trying to usurp Irrlich's property and isn't trying to persecute them. Would this not happen in a country with rational copyright laws? Probably not. Is this the worst result of the DMCA so far? Dear god, get a grip, people. The DMCA is a huge problem. This isn't even a blip on the radar of problems the DMCA has caused, and it's got an easy fix.

Re:Surprisingly, this is not the end of the world. (4, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911804)

This isn't even a blip on the radar of problems the DMCA has caused, and it's got an easy fix.

I dissent.

This sort of problem is exactly one of the primary reasons the DMCA should never have happened in the first place, and should be repealed.

Any individual claiming to be a copyright holder can have anything removed from a server based on nothing more than mere assertion. The Safe Harbor provision of the DMCA leaves ISPs and server operators little choice. Once the takedown notice is presented, the ISP either deletes the material or responds that it believes in good faith that the takedown notice is in error. If they do neither, they risk criminal liability.

Note that nowhere is anyone required to verify the validity of the claimant's copyright, that the named material is at all related to the claimed copyright, or that the named material falls within the scope of Fair Use or not. It's either take it down or risk getting sued. The law requires that takedown notices be served in good faith, but there are no penalties prescribed for willful or negligent sending of erroneous notices (and lotsa luck finding a D.A. willing to prosecute).

This kind of unaccountable censorship was intended by the DMCA's authors. You should not have to provide papers that you are "allowed" to speak, and that's a principal reason why the DMCA needs to go away yesterday.

Schwab

Re:Surprisingly, this is not the end of the world. (1)

chopper749 (574759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911904)

But according to YouTube's email to him: "Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification may be subject to liability." So... it would follow that... any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity should be removed or disabled even if by mistake or misidentification may be subject to liability. Looks like YouTube says you should sue Viacom.

Re:Surprisingly, this is not the end of the world. (2, Insightful)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911958)

While you're right to put things in perspective as far as there being worse problems with the DMCA, this is indeed a blip on the radar, and the solution is not as simple as an email. According to the protocol stated in the email (and I presume by the law), the submitter is required to send a response with snail mail, not email, in order to argue a good faith belief that the content is non-infringing. So thanks to the DMCA, any copyright owner can send notice to any hosting provider that so-and-so is violating their intellectual property, and if the hosting provider doesn't want to become liable then it must react right away. Meanwhile, the submitter is penalized a few days while the mess gets cleared up. That can be just enough time for a major corporation to control a leak or a publicity disaster. It also provides a means to, in a limited way, DoS anyone you choose to.

Are such abuses of the DMCA prosecutable? In theory, probably. But it's not as if the owner of the Irrlicht video can afford to fight a corporation over this kind of thing - not that I'd recommend it anyway for something so small. The point is that this clause of the DMCA shifts the balance too far towards the copyright owners rather than, well, everyone else.

Re:Surprisingly, this is not the end of the world. (1)

markana (152984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912004)

>Irrlich needs to send an email to YouTube...

Which will accomplish absolutely nothing. Probably won't even be read by a human. From the (boilerplate) notice:

"If you elect to send us a counter notice, to be effective it must be a written communication provided to our designated agent that includes substantially the following (please consult your legal counsel or see 17 U.S.C. Section 512(g)(3) to confirm these requirements):
A physical or electronic signature of the subscriber.
Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location at which the material appeared before it was removed or access to it was disabled.
A statement under penalty of perjury that the subscriber has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.
The subscriber's name, address, and telephone number, and a statement that the subscriber consents to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which the address is located, or if the subscriberis address is outside of the United States, for any judicial district in which the service provider may be found, and that the subscriber will accept service of process from the person who provided notification under subsection (c)(1)(C) or an agent of such person. "

So - he has to get a lawyer ($$$) and send a written letter (probably registered - $$), then wait for a possible reply. Viacom, on the other hand, can simply send an automated e-mail and have anything removed with no practical recourse for the victims.

Re:Surprisingly, this is not the end of the world. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17912102)

No, they have to write a letter and send my mail. Somewhat more effort than the false claims by Viacom. Now think on this, there are many other false take-downs, and all of them have to send by regular snail mail too. How much is this costing in time? How many of the 100,000 or so claims are false? Why should a single company have so much control over something with zero proof of copyright ownership?

Sue Viacom ... (1)

Hektor_Troy (262592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911590)

Seriously. Sounds petty and too "american cliché" but - they are asserting, under penalty of perjury, that they own the copyright to the items they are flagging with a DMCA takedown notice.

It's been said time and time and time again on slashdot whenever wrongfull DMCA takedown notices are sent.

I'm sure you can find a lawyer that'll be willing to nail their collective ass to the wall and sue for defamation and whatever else you care to throw in for good measure and monetary value.

Same goes for the people having their saturday night dinner video flagged. Just cause it SOUNDS a little bit perhaps maybe kinda like Saturday Night Live (the comedy show) or even a fucking album recording, if it's not related in any way ... well, if the glove don't fit you must kick the nuts of the misfit.

Re:Sue Viacom ... (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912092)

What we need is some sort of public defender that will file all sorts of nuisance suits against the industry for this sort of thing, the cost be damned. Someone who will just strive to be a thorn in their side, and if need be, a total asshat. Basically, a geek variant of Jack Thompson.

Lawsuit! - Restraint of Trade (1)

BionicPimp (562378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911630)

I'm not a lawyer, but I think that's the right terminology for when a bigger company tries to muscle out a smaller company with no legal basis. At the very least, fire off a letter to their legal council. Go to a Legal Aid office, and I'm sure someone will help you out. At the very least, it will cost them thousands of dollars just to respond. Clearly you are in the right, and their actions are not even remotly defensable. Also, lawsuits generate alot of publicity...and the media loves a good david vs goliath story. That's the only way to make companies accountable now a days. Bad Press and Lawsuits. I wish it wasn't so...but it is.

Re:Lawsuit! - Restraint of Trade (3, Informative)

amosh (109566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911738)

Look, I'm not trying to flame here... but if you're not a lawyer, and don't have any other knowledge... don't try to render a legal opinion.

Irrlicht doesn't need to sue Viacom. Because Viacom isn't trying to 'muscle out a smaller company'. To anyone - ANYONE! - in this thread who thinks Viacom should be sued, answer me this - What damages is Irrlicht suing for? Did Viacom really try to destroy their business - to 'restrain trade'? Did they prevent Irrlicht from selling their product, from promoting their wares? THEY TOOK AN EFFING VIDEO OFF OF YOUTUBE. Not only that, but a video they had at least SOME basis to believe infringed on their copyright material. And the DMCA - despite the HUGE problems with that piece of legislation - does at least provide a remedy for this stuff. It takes about ten minutes to kick off an email in response.

Show me damage. Show me Viacom acting in bad faith, rather than merely negligently or recklessly. THEN talk about lawsuits and restraint of trade. Until then... this is just not a big deal. The DMCA has a million huge problems - and this is somewhere around 950,000 on that list.

Re:Lawsuit! - Restraint of Trade (1)

pairo (519657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912046)

Not only that, but a video they had at least SOME basis to believe infringed on their copyright material.
What basis would that be? The fact that they mistook it for something they do have copyright over doesn't really mean they have any basis to believe anything.

Censorship and legal spam (4, Interesting)

AmVidia HQ (572086) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911674)

I can attest to very similar situations as a service provider. We've dealt with member corporations of the RIAA sending us blanket takedown notices containing links to porn, and I don't think they do porn. Not yet anyways.

So apparently Viacom, DreamWorks and Paramount are sending legal spam, without verifying what they are actually sending out, and Google is taking them without verification on their part either. I guess DMCA procedures aren't good enough - censor now, ask questions later.

Isn't a task for Free Software Foundation? (1)

Jacek Poplawski (223457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911678)

Let's face it. This is a theft of intellectual property. It already happened.
I know that irrlicht is not a GPL software, but is is a Free Software and FSF should act now, instead talking over and over about many different things.
Why not use the law they have to fight the "evil company" and show the world that this battle can be won?

Re:Isn't a task for Free Software Foundation? (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911930)

Huh? What the fuck have the FSF got to do with this? You said yourself it's not GPL and definately not copyright FSF.

Re:Isn't a task for Free Software Foundation? (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912438)

It may not be the FSF's specialty, but it is certainly the EFF [eff.org] 's. They've been working on the AT&T domestic spying case lately, but if you'd like them to spend some time in other areas, I'm sure a donation [eff.org] wouldn't hurt.

EFF not FSF (NT) (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912558)

I said no text

100,000 Viacom videos on YouTube? (3, Interesting)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911824)

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/03/011925 3 [slashdot.org]

This really calls into question the validity of Viacom's claim that YouTube was hosting 100,000 infringing videos belonging to them. I wonder what the real number is. I wonder when the backlash hits YouTube over these "false positives" if they will start to require a little more diligence on the side of the claimants who request for videos to be removed. Shouldn't there penalties for making false claims of ownership over the copyrighted materials of others? YouTube's success was built on the shoulders of the little guy, not these giant media conglomerates. Will they do the right thing and help protect their legitimate users?

Give these bastards the same treatment (1)

seriv (698799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911884)

I would love to see some group scrutinize every single thing media companies release. I am sure that somebody in something like Viacom screws up, even with all of the lawyers they have. I would love to see Apple have to take some video off the iTunes store because one of these companies "pirated" (at least by these companies' definition) some content. Maybe such an effort exists, or such a thing has happened, but I would just love to see it. Someone has to screw these bastards the same way they screw everyone else.

Who cares? (3, Insightful)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911918)

Most people will be upset by my post subject, but it's a question that needs to be asked. What are the actual damages here? Viacom's not claiming ownership - they fucked up. If their fuck up causes damages, there is legal recourse for this. If this is the case, then the victim should seek those legal recourses. Or STFU.

Getting a few thousand Slashdotters all hot and bothered may feel good, but it's a purely masterbatory exercise. If the victims are that pissed off, they can sue. And don't give me that shit about "oh, how can poor tiny little us possibly prevail against the mighty Viacom?!??" IANAL, but it looks like it's a pretty open-and-shut case. The victi,s could do all of the legal work and filing themselves, and with a little extra work can probably find some lawyer to make it all nice and pretty pro bono. Unless the damages are significant, I'd be halfway surprised if Viacom even sends anyone to defend it. If the judge finds in the victim's favor they might try filing a complaint against the attorney that filed the DMCA takedown notice with the relevant bar association - Viacom's lawyers may have committed perjury. If the victims can find a prosecutor that thinks it's in their political interest to beat on Mighty Corporate Viacom vs. The Little Guy, then it's a nice high-publicity case for them.

Other than that, the rest of us feel badly for the victims and wish them the best (fuck Viacom and all that), but let's be real - it's not like we're going to stop watching South Park or anything.

Less mad at Viacom than I am at Google (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#17911940)

Seriously -- I'm less mad at Viacom's obvious "legal takedown notifier" bot than I am at Google's obvious "legal takedown notifier obeyer" bot. Makes you think about just how much DMCA garbage that Google is bombarded with these days. Maybe this is one step closer to having all of our court cases decided upon by artificial intelligence!

Simple Fix (1)

dekkerdreyer (1007957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912186)

The fix is simple. Create a perl bot to parse through youtube and generate a letter claiming that every video on youtube is a violation of your copyright. Poof, youtube ceases to exist in a cloud of DMCA lawsuits.

DMCA (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912266)

Welcome to the 21st century, where thanks to the DMCA anything you made can be removed by a simple email from the right lawyer or big-sounding corporation, and you then have to prove that yours actually is yours, before its put online again... maybe.

I've already seen this (1)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 7 years ago | (#17912316)

There was a video clip I found a few days ago that was made by a bunch of kids and when I went back to show it to someone else there was a Viacom warning.

fucking jews! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17912576)

time to "DMCA" that motherfscking Sumner Redstone (Murray Rothstein). hopefully some erases his 85 year old ass..
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