YouTube’s Broken Copyright System

CopyrightThis is a very good video from a guy who does game reviews on YouTube. Now I don’t care about games, but this video is about the truly fucked up system where people who make videos are guilty until proven innocent. All someone has to do is say, “Hey! He’s using my copyrighted material!” And the video gets blocked. The situation is completely unacceptable. And it’s interesting because if three videos get blocked in this way, YouTube takes the channel down. But there appears to be no three strikes rule for the copyright holders. They can just throw out spurious claims, have them overruled, and nothing bad ever happens to them.

As you probably know, I am very unhappy with our copyright system. It is screwed up and I say that as someone who is nominally protected by copyright. Here are a few of the articles I’ve written on the subject:

Copyright: Forever Less One Day
Our Failed Copyright System In Not MLK’s Fault
Defining GDP Up
Vague Patent Trolling
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Copyright Reform
Winners Always Win
Corporations are Rarely Creators
Copyright is for Wimps
Andrew Keen’s Big Bait and Switch

But check out this video because it is important stuff. And he’s giving the profits from it to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “YouTube’s Broken Copyright System

  1. It’s worth noting that the video is better if one clicks on "Full Screen" to read the changing citations at the bottom.

    What makes this particularly ridiculous is the nature of the "copyrighted material." Video games are not watched, they’re played! You could post two hours of screenshots from a popular video game and not damage the value of the original one whit.

    I don’t know anything about the difference between laws covering video clips used in reviews. From what I’ve seen, movie trailers are fair game; anyone can make a video based on those. And YouTube does have to protect itself, of course, from being used as a piracy site.

    Maybe ideally there’d be like an Attorney General figure/group for Internet intellectual property theft; someone who could judge that, no, a five-second clip of TV is not theft and a full-length video is. Something like that. And certainly the idea that screenshots from video games (as opposed to the negative reviews) hurt the value of that product is silly.

  2. @JMF – The law is pretty clear about this stuff. But because YouTube is so sensitive, they allow content owners to throw their weight around.

    I think it is sad because many people clearly do break the law by, for example, posting whole movies. But I’ve lived through 2 copyright claims on 30 second bits of video. In both cases the companies decided that my use was fine. And that’s as it should be because I don’t just put up video clips–they are part of larger videos, which are themselves part of articles.

    What we’re seeing in this case would be like if the producers of [i]Zero Dark Thirty[/i] had banned my parody video because it attacked them. The sad thing is that if it had received 5 million views, they might have done it. And they could have! YouTube makes it easy.

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