Rear Left

YouTube Takedown

Posted in The Law is an Ass by rearleft on February 23, 2009


Returned to work from a month’s paternity leave to find that one of the videos from a few years back has been taken down (for the second time) by YouTube. The video, Pipeline, contains a Dizzy Gillespie track that Universal Music Group holds the copyright on. Apparently YouTube checks the waveform of uploaded videos against a database, and takes stuff down on behalf of the copyright holders. I disputed the original takedown on the grounds that the use of copyright material in the video is allowed as fair use, and YouTube made it “live” again, pending contact with UMG.

Now it’s been taken down again. I guess YouTube have determined, or UMG are asserting, that what this group of teenagers did is not fair use. It doesn’t even show up on youtomb, the awesome new takedown Valhalla from MIT Free Culture.

The Center for Social Media at American University in DC recently published widely accepted basic guidelines for both documentary filmmakers and media literacy educators for the use of copyright materials under fair use provisions that already exist in the law. Using these guidelines, I’m confident that Pipeline‘s use of the Dizzy Gillespie track is fine for a couple of reasons.

One of the four main classes of material that is generally covered by fair use is the use of copyrighted material in a historical sequence, which I think is an excellent description of this case.

Also keep in mind that this video was produced by a group of 15-18 year olds in an educational setting, so the provisions for distribution of works that are media literacy exercises should also apply.

Copyright material is in the first minute

(NB: much black at beginning. video begins at 25 seconds.)

If I get no joy after a letter to YouTube, we’re going to be looking for legal advice. I’m all sorts of riled up about this one! It’s just plain old mean!

Shame, YouTube.


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9 Responses

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  1. bklynjak said, on February 24, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    That is so messed up! Fight the good fight!

  2. Laurel said, on February 24, 2009 at 11:01 AM

    Who’s the poet?

    • rearleft said, on February 24, 2009 at 3:23 PM

      i actually don’t know. that piece was made before i started working here, and i don’t think that the poet was one of the video’s producers.

      btw, when i click on the link that says “laurel”, it takes me to a christian website, not your blog.

      • Laurel said, on March 29, 2009 at 10:50 PM

        Sorry I’m leaving so many comments, but I figure it out. I mis-typed it as instead of

        • rearleft said, on March 31, 2009 at 7:52 AM

          no worries, glad we got that sorted out.

  3. Tim said, on February 25, 2009 at 6:09 AM

    mate thank you. I am still amazed at the amount of knowledge that is kept from us. The news we have to search for…which is hard when we don’t know what we don’t know.
    Looking forward to catching up when you move back to Oz.

    • rearleft said, on February 25, 2009 at 10:38 AM

      thank you for reading!

      get ready, australia, here i come.

  4. ripley said, on March 23, 2009 at 10:49 AM

    hey I’m looking to book a tour in OZ for me & Kid K in October! will you be there then?

    and sorry to hear you got caught up in the Youtube takedown madness. they are really going nuts on this and it totally sucks. the EFF is trying to be on it, and the YouTomb peoples are great (i love their blog too, and kevin driscoll’s blog as well).. but dayum..

    • rearleft said, on March 23, 2009 at 1:00 PM

      i will be there in october, and would love to help y’all out in any way i can: accomodation, press, sight-seeing, etc…

      it’s been a long time since i’ve lived there, so my contacts are kind of patchy, but i’m rebuilding.

      let’s talk on email.

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