Viacom did a general search on YouTube for any term related to any of its shows, and then spammed YouTube with 100,000 DMCA take-down notices
alleging that all of these clips infringed its copyright and demanding that they be censored off the Internet. YouTube made thousands of clips vanish, and sent warning notices to the people who'd posted them, warning them that they were now on a list of potential copyright infringers and telling them that repeat offenses could lead to having their accounts terminated.
This is shockingly bad behaviour on the part of both Viacom and Google, YouTube's owner. Viacom's indiscriminate spamigation is incredibly negligent and evil. They certainly know that a search for a term like "Redbones" will catch videos like Jim Moore's Sunday nite dinner at Redbones in Somerville, Mass (a 30 second clip of Moore and several friends "having dinner in a ribs place in Somerville"). The idea that they have members of the bar -- officers of the court! -- signing affidavits swearing that they have a good-faith belief that these clips infringe their copyrights is disgraceful. Practicing law is a privilege, not a right. The law societies should be holding these attorneys to account for this kind of behaviour.
But Google's lawyers should have known better, too. The DMCA says that if a web-hoster ignores a takedown request, it's liable for copyright damages if the material in question is found to be infringing. YouTube can't afford to just let any lunatic -- including the savage pricks at Viacom -- indiscriminately censor the content it hosts. That's not fair to its customers.
It would cost a lot in lawyer-hours to investigate takedown requests and pick out the ones worth paying attention to, but that's part of the cost of doing business as YouTube. It costs a lot to provide the bandwidth for the files, but YouTube/Google wouldn't dream of skimping on connectivity. Lawyer-letters are just another load that GooTube needs to provision for.
And Google can take steps now to reduce that load: sue the living shit out of Viacom. We've got precedent -- the Diebold debacle -- for the idea that abusing the DMCA takedown process is illegal. Courts have been willing to punish this kind of excess by awarding fees and damages.
If Google sued every company that used indiscriminate takedown notices to remove material that it hosted -- on Blogger, YouTube, and elsewhere -- they'd put the fear of god into bullies like Viacom. They'd change the landscape so that DMCA notices were only used by people who were genuinely being ripped off, and not firehosed by idiots to every site that matches a search-term.
Big companies can sometimes make the world a better place by using the courts to set clear precedents that work for all of us. Sony gave us the Betamax decision. Verizon gave us RIAA v Verizon. Google could save us from takedown spammers.
The office I work in is full of things old people buy to make themselves feel young again. I can honestly say that our awesome new toy, The Swagtron T3 Hoverboard, makes me feel very, very old. I’ll explain why later. Swagtron T3 Pros There’s no way to overcharge the battery and that means no […]
One thing that’s consistent among amateur pool players is that they unknowingly stand up during their shots. Just as in golf, pool players need to keep their heads down and stay still after they shoot in order to hit straight. The DIGICUE helps keep shots consistent by letting you know every time you’ve had extra […]
A leaked memo from Apple CEO Tim Cook to his staff explaining why he met with Donald Trump — a guy who called Apple traitors for refusing to defeat their own security — explains the rationale: “tax reform.”
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]
Using my iPhone while it’s charging is always a hassle. With tucked-away outlets and the meager length of included lightning cables, comfortable scrolling while plugged in is annoying. These 10-Ft MFi-Certified Lightning Cables are super convenient and probably the best iPhone accessory purchase I’ve made.At over three times the length of normal cables, these reach anywhere you […]
With countless applications for modern life, artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most in-demand fields of study in tech. Beyond modelling human decision making processes and learning abilities, AI can be used to analyze massive volumes of data and create complex interactive systems.This Machine Learning & AI for Business Bundle made mastering these concepts possible for […]