How to issue a DMCA strike notice against YouTube

The trouble is this debate has become about the future of the internet rather than the future of professional creative people …

Have you had your work illegally ripped and posted up on YouTube?

People do this for a variety of reasons. Ignorance, or some misinformed sense of entitlement. They also do it for the oldest reason of all. They’re greedy. Because they can make money off any clicks on their YouTube channels.

There are many people operating on YouTube who create their own stuff. They do interesting things, and collect a fan base. The more people watching the more money they make. It’s not much, but for a lucky few, the rewards can be significant.

And then there are the cheating scum who just post up entire movies that they’ve ripped off a DVD, or downloaded (illegally) from a Torrent site. They care nothing for the rights of the copyright holder, and YouTube doesn’t care either. Or at least, there is nothing in their operating procedure which creates a barrier or check.

There is NO other publishing medium in the known universe that works like this. Everywhere else, whatever the art form – music, film, or literature – one is required to provide verifiable chain of title, on pain of significant legal penalties.

But the internet, apparently, is special. And internet companies got accorded privileged protection by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1999, which places all the onus for reporting and policing copyright infringement on the victims, rather than perpetrators. After fifteen years of this evil rot, the consequences have been disastrous for the music industry, and the film industry is also well advanced down the same slippery slope to ruin.

So, back to the original question … you’ve had your work stolen and now there it is, sitting on half a dozen different YouTube links. What do you do?

Well, as mandated by their parent company, Google (if it’s Evil, we’re in!), YouTube are incredibly slippery. But they are bound by DMCA, and that cumbersome, extremely onerous mechanism is the only quick recourse for removing copyright infringing material.

You may already be familiar with the process … but in case not, here’s a handy guide:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vOd_d8FhFyE

Or go straight here:

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2807622?hl=en

NB: You can issue strike notices against multiple titles on the same form.

This whole system is a Kafkaesque farce, of course. Copyright holders should not be required to police the internet. No other publishing medium is allowed to get away with this kind of perfidious larceny.

YouTube makes much of its vaunted Content ID partnership plan, but unless you’re a very large company representing hundreds, or even thousands of titles, forget it. They won’t let you in. And even for big companies, it’s all a barefaced cynical con. Here’s a quick explanation why these assholes cannot be trusted:

http://thetrichordist.com/2015/01/20/google-may-continue-driving-traffic-to-pirate-sites-after-dmca-notices-by-using-its-google-alerts-product/

The more I look into this stuff the more outraged I get. They are making the whole business of independent film making completely untenable.

As I said above, YouTube are slippery. Their business model is voracious, and wilfully immoral. They’re all about swallowing and monetising as much content as they can, and while they will act if copyright infringement can be shown, their modus operandi is modelled on Sgt Schultz (We know nothing, see nothing, hear nothing …).

Worse, even when a copyright holder asserts their rights, YouTube bends over backwards to help wrongdoers. Look at their advice pages devoted to copyright. Most of the advice is directed at people posting stuff that’s not theirs, helpfully suggesting ways they can frustrate and impede copyright holders. Topsy turvy world!

See also YouTube’s ChillingEffects.org – where the personal details of copyright holders issuing strike notices are listed. What is that all about? You assert your rights, and they parade you like a criminal, and potentially set you up for personal attacks.

This disease will continue up until suchy time as internet companies are allowed privileged protection from prosecution by the DMCA act. The trouble is this debate has become about the future of the internet rather than the future of professional creative people. The truth is, enacting fair laws that protect copyright and enable people to make a living will NOT ‘break the internet’. They might break YouTube, and curb Google, but that is not the same thing

About Costa Botes

I'm a freelance film maker based in Wellington, New Zealand. I make mainly long form independent documentaries about characters I find interesting.
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