Google: Universal lied about its private kill-switch for YouTube videos

Google claims that Universal had no basis for removing the "Mega Song" video posted in support of the MegaUpload service (which Universal is trying to drive off the Internet). Earlier this week, a court filing from Universal suggested that the company had negotiated the right to remove videos it doesn't own from YouTube as part of a private agreement with Google.

“Our partners do not have the right to take down videos from YT unless they own the rights to them or they are live performances controlled through exclusive agreements with their artists, which is why we reinstated it,” Google-owned YouTube said...

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. It’s a position that Ira Rothken, Megaupload’s attorney, said was preposterous.

YouTube Says Universal Had No ‘Right’ to Take Down Megaupload Video


  1. I don’t think so. This ongoing drama is hilarious! The entertainment Bots are skuhRAMbling to hold their obscene profit party together…. ah, the 21st century.

    1. And both UMG and Google are going to keep muddying the waters of the story with these bald-faced lies until they figure out a PR strategy sufficient to avoid both due process and antitrust questions.

  2. Can someone name three Universal LP’s I can officially actively aid in a mini-boycott of with all kinds of bad reviews etc., to punish them for this pathetic monopolistic craptastic assholery?

      1. Sorry, I hit the like button instead of the reply button.

        Becasue I wanted to say “why?”

        Why find a way to hurt them without hurting the artists? The artists signed up with these scumbags, contribute funding to the crappy things they do. Why should the artists who support these people remain untouched by their douchebaggery?

        1. I wholly agree.  There are more ways than there used to be to get your work out there.  If you support those jerks you risk going down with them.

        2. Most of the artists that sign with the major labels didn’t really have a choice when they signed.  Labels sign them for a long time.  Sure, now maybe you can get away without it, but five years ago?  Not as easy as today.  And you want to punish them for that?

          Then you assume that the artists support the practices of UMG?  Why is that?  This ENTIRE MegaUpload story is about artists NOT supporting UMG.  Hell, why not go and boycott one of the artists that are on the MegaUpload song?  Or do you now want to start qualifying how “worthy” the artist is?  And who gets to decide?  You?  These same artists that signed long-term contracts hoping that one day they’d get a payoff are now the subject of some asshole’s crusade against the company that’s been keeping them down.  Just as they’re trying to get their head above water, here you come to stomp them down.  Nice going there ace.

          So say you have two options.  One option lets you cause the harm you seek to UMG without harming the artist while the other option causes to harm both.  If you choose the one where you harm both, you’re just being a prick and I’d classify you as crawling out of the same cesspool as UMG.

          Edit: to make it more clear – you’re talking about putting up bad reviews of the artist’s album as a means of effecting your boycott. And that’s what I find so annoying. If you want to boycott UMG, fine, do it. Putting up bad reviews is just pissing on the artist out of spite.

          1. The problem is that boycotts don’t really work.

            So, the choice is an option that doesn’t do anything, versus an option that harms both UMG and the artist that willingly signed with UMG.

          2. I was going to disagree with you, then I stopped and thought for a second, and I actually agree with you for the specific case of posting bad reviews. An artwork should stand on its own two feet: we don’t need to know what Hitler did to know his paintings were crap, and whether you believe the various accusations or not, Michael Jackson did produce some astounding pop.

            That being said, I see no problems publicising bad choices that artists have made in other ways. For instance, I might write in a review “This album is the best music since Mozart, but I will not be buying it because {insert ethical/personal/irrational reason here}.”  If I do that then the artwork gets the rating it deserves, *and* my viewpoint is made public.  On the assumption anyone ever reads my review, I’ve given them the best information I can to make a buying decision.

        3. Why this onus on artists, as opposed to all other professions, to be ethical saints? People have to work somewhere, and they rarely get to influence any policies of the companies they sign up with. Very few will have the clout necessary.

          Would you apply the same logic to all employees of a morally dubious corporation? Would you apply the same logic to yourself, who are almost certainly investing money in the goods provided by scumbag companies?

          I agree that we should all try to be as morally responsible as possible, but I am annoyed by this strangely popular notion that musicians and artists have a greater obligation to sacrifice their own well-being, not even for their art, but for what society perceives their art to represent. 

          Also, they must be able to see into the future and predict all the douchey moves the company they signed for will ever make. Come on, now.

      2. Don’t worry – the artists don’t get a significant share of the profits anyway.  That’s kind of part of the problem in case you weren’t paying attention or something.

  3. It makes more sense that Universal would have lied, though. For Google to give them carte blanche to take down ANY video? Even I’m not that stupid…

    1. Maybe I’m just too cynical, but I think this is just google covering their ass. I think the UMG story may be closer to truth than Google’s back peddling.

      1. Surely you’re not suggesting that Google would let its sterling reputation for customer service lead to creating special rights-infringing tools for its richest customers?

    2. So, by what mechanism do you figure this brouhaha was started? By my read, either Google gave them the power, or Google believed a UMG assertion. Either way, Google was the gatekeeper.

      1. Now, that’s not quite fair, because the DMCA is a shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later sort of deal. Google has immunity from being held liable for infringing content on their services under Safe Harbor, where they do not moderate content (except for obvious things, like no kiddie porn on YouTube and so on) and comply with DMCA requests from copyright holders.

        UMG issued a false takedown, it was contested and reinstated, and then they took it down again. DMCA takedown notices are filed with the requirement that it is a felony to knowingly file false claims. If UMG is indeed lying, of course they would’ve lied about some non-DMCA capability to take things down to avoid being held responsible for filing false DMCA notices.

  4. Erm. What are Universal smoking? That’s not how it works.

    The DMCA is the only thing protecting them from legal liability. If this is not a DMCA takedown request then it’s plain old criminal fraud.

      1. That’s my interpretation.  UMG have no standing in the contractual relationship between YouTube and the uploader.  It might be fraud as well, looking at the definition.

  5. Oh, good. It appears that I was right the first time and UMG is indeed just pulling things out of their ass in order to get their way.

    I’m hoping the judge throws the book at them for deliberately abusing the law to censor Megaupload and then lying about it every chance they got, including in court filings.

    Get fucked, UMG.

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