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Sony issues fraudulent takedown for Blender's open source movie


Alex writes, "This is a very good example of copyright abuse. The official Blender Foundation copy of Sintel on Youtube is currently blocked because Sony apparently claimed copyright over it. This is particularly distressing because Sintel is one of the precious few open-source movies in existence. Made with open-source tools, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, with the source files from the movie free to download, Sintel represents the diametric opposite of this type of ownership. "

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How Youtube's automated copyright system lets big music screw indie creators

Nerdcore rapper Dan Bull earns a good living from his Youtube videos, but he is constantly being dragged away from the studio to fight fraudulent copyright claims from major labels, who are able to censor his work with impunity. The video for his 2010 song I'm Not Pissed has been removed ten times by automated, fraudulent claims from the likes of BMG Rights Management and PRS, who face no consequences for lying about their involvement with his work.

In a new song called Fuck Content ID, Bull slams Google's automated Content ID takedown system, documenting his woes at the hands of Big Content, and with Google, who collaborate in a system of copyfraud that neither one seems to care about.

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Bob Hope Enterprises claims the Feds' Bob Hope Christmas Special is under copyright

Rogue archivist Carl Malmud writes, "In 2009, I wrote to Boing Boing to kick off our FedFlix program. The headline was The next year, Brian Stelter wrote this up for the New York Times, writing "Dust off a disc. Maybe it's video of a Bob Hope Christmas show, or maybe it's the Apollo 11 moon landing. Insert a blank disc. Duplicate."

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Rotolight sends fraudulent takedown notice to censor unfavorable review


Den Lennie posted a video to Vimeo that compared the Rotolight Anova to a competing product, the Kino Flo Celeb, and found the Rotolight product inferior. Rotolight responded by filing a perjurious, fraudulent DMCA takedown notice with Vimeo (who, to its shame, honored it), claiming that the review violated Rotolight's trademark. This is pure copyfraud: first, because the DMCA is only available as a remedy for copyright infringement (not trademark infringement) and second, because product reviews are not trademark infringements, full stop.

Using a Copyright Infringement claim to shut down the opposition (Thanks, Dave!)

Lawsuit: "Happy Birthday" is not in copyright, and Warner owes the world hundreds of millions for improperly collected royalties


Copyright scholars have long been pretty certain that "Happy Birthday to You" is in the public domain, despite the fact that Warner/Chappell claims copyright on it and charges impressive licensing fees to use it in public performances. Those fees, however, are much lower than a copyright lawsuit would be, so everyone shrugs and pays them. Until now.

A documentary film company working on a movie about "Happy Birthday" has assembled a huge body of evidence showing that the song has been in the public domain since the 1920s, and is suing Warner to get them to return the hundreds of millions they've improperly charged in licensing since. This is gonna be great.

The full lawsuit, embedded below, goes through a detailed history of the song and any possible copyright claims around it. It covers the basic history of "Good Morning to You," but also notes that the "happy birthday" lyrics appeared by 1901 at the latest, citing a January 1901 edition of Inland Educator and Indiana School Journal which describes children singing a song called "happy birthday to you." They also point to a 1907 book that uses a similar structure for a song called "good-bye to you" which also notes that you can sing "happy birthday to you" using the same music. In 1911, the full "lyrics" to Happy Birthday to You were published, with a notation that it's "sung to the same tune as 'Good Morning.'" There's much more in the history basically showing that the eventual copyright that Warner/Chappell holds is almost entirely unrelated to the song Happy Birthday to You.

The detail in the filing is impressive, and I can't wait to see how Warner/Chappell replies. As the filing notes, there are a variety of copyright claims around the song, but all are invalid or expired, and the very, very narrow copyright that Warner/Chappell might hold is not on the song itself. In other words, Warner/Chappell is almost certainly guilty of massive copyfraud -- perhaps the most massive in history -- in claiming a copyright it clearly has no right to.

Lawsuit Filed To Prove Happy Birthday Is In The Public Domain; Demands Warner Pay Back Millions Of License Fees [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]

(Image: 53/365 - 02/22/11 - Happy Birthday, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from shardayyy's photostream)

Lionsgate commits copyfraud, has classic "Buffy vs Edward" video censored



Update: It's back up. McIntosh's YouTube comments says, "Three weeks after a bogus DMCA takedown by Lionsgate, I received a one line email from the YouTube team saying that my remix has been reinstated."
Jonathan McIntosh's "Buffy vs Edward" video is a classic: a mashup that's been viewed millions of times on YouTube, discussed in the halls of the US Copyright Office, and cited in a Library of Congress/Copyright Office report as an example of legal, fair use mashup.

But when Lionsgate bought out Summit Entertainment, the company that made the Twilight franchise, they started to aggressively "monetize" the remixes of the series online. That meant that they claimed ownership of them using YouTube's ContentID system, which would automatically place ads alongside all the video clips from the series -- including "Buffy vs Edward."

McIntosh objected to this. His video was fair use -- the Copyright Office itself said so -- and had never had ads placed in it. Lionsgate had no claim over it. He appealed to YouTube. YouTube punted to Lionsgate, who insisted that they were legally in the right. McIntosh hired a lawyer to write an letter explaining the fair use analysis to YouTube, who agreed, and reinstated the video, and Lionsgate (seemingly) dropped the claim.

But Lionsgate came back with another claim: the "audiovisual" elements in the video were fair use, but the "visual" elements were not (yeah, I know). McIntosh went through the process again, with the same result -- and so Lionsgate filed a complaint with YouTube that resulted in it being taken offline altogether.

McIntosh's correspondence with Lionsgate has been very unsatisfying. The company claims that since he refused to let them make money off of his creativity, they had "no choice" but to have it censored from YouTube. The company's representatives refuse to address the fair use claims at all.

Meanwhile, to add insult to injury, McIntosh had to complete an insulting "copyright education" course in order to continue using YouTube (even though he is an expert on fair use and had done no wrong), and is permanently barred from uploading videos longer than 15 minutes to the service -- all because of the repeated, fraudulent assertions made by Lionsgate.

In the past, companies that sent similar fraudulent takedowns to YouTube have faced penalties (remember EFF and the dancing baby versus Prince and Universal Music?). It would be an expensive and difficult proposition for McIntosh to bring Lionsgate to court for repeating the fraud, but let's hope that these copyfraudsters don't get off scot-free.

In the meantime, here's a really cool version of the video with annotations courtesy of Mozilla's popcorn.js tool.

Buffy vs Edward Remix Unfairly Removed by Lionsgate

YouTube blocks clip of Michelle Obama's DNC speech on copyright grounds


A YouTube clip of Michelle Obama's DNC speech, embedded on BarackObama.com, was blocked due to a copyright complaint "from WMG, SME, Associated Press (AP), UMG, Dow Jones, New York Times Digital, The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (HFA), Warner Chappell, UMPG Publishing and EMI Music Publishing." It's not clear what happened, though my money is on some combination of YouTube's copyright bots detecting the incidental background music from the convention; and several broadcasters uploading their own version of the footage and registering it as belonging to them with the YouTube copyright bots.

A YouTube spokesman downplayed the blockage: “After tonight’s live stream ended, YouTube briefly showed an incorrect error message,” he said via e-mail. ” Neither the live stream nor any of the channel’s videos were affected.”

It’s not clear what he meant by none of the channel’s videos were affected as the video was unplayable.

The most likely culprit is YouTube’s pre-emptive content filters, which allow large media companies to upload content they claim to own and automatically block videos that an algorithm decides matches their own. That would make the glitch the second livestream copyright-policing snafu in the span of a few days: On Sunday, a similar algorithm at uStream interrupted the livestream of the Hugo science fiction awards. The award show included clips of copyrighted videos, though the algorithm didn’t know that the clips had been authorized.

In early August, an official NASA recording of the Mars landing was blocked hours after the successful landing, due to a rogue DMCA complaint by a news network.

YouTube Flags Democrats’ Convention Video on Copyright Grounds

(Image: you've got to be kidding me, from @bondad)