Four Youtube videos were removed earlier this week, apparently due to copyright claims for the music involved. They featured US president Obama singing the opening line of Al Green’s ‘Lets Stay Together’.
One of the videos was used by the Mitt Romney Campaign to show the president as ‘too friendly with political donors’.
A Youtube spokeswoman emailed Arstechnica to say “When we’re notified that a particular video uploaded to our site infringes another’s copyright, we remove the material in accordance with the law. We have a counter notification process in place if a user believes a content owner has misidentified their video, and we reinstate content if a user prevails in that process. We also reinstate videos in cases where we are confident that the material is not infringing, or where there is abuse of our copyright tools.”[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8Qu8nThJ5w’]
Arstechnica proceeded to speak to the representative on the telephone, but she was unwilling to elaborate to the details. They wanted to know what safeguards were in place to prevent abusive takedown requests in the future. They added “indeed, she refused to even provide an on-the-record explanation of whether the videos in question had been taken down via a standard DMCA takedown request or with YouTube’s proprietary Content ID system.”
Youtube have been highlighted in the past for abuse by major copyright holders. Last year they removed a music video which was produced by Megaupload and featured many of the industry’s stars. Universial Music Group removed the video saying that their contracts with Youtube meant they had the right to remove or block the video, even if they didn’t contain UMG’s copyrighted material. Youtube were under pressure to restore the video, and did eventually.
A website was set up to discuss the copyfraud and Abuse of the Content ID system, and it continues to cause problems for individuals who have little recourse but to accept the takedowns, when they happen.
Kitguru says: The Obama video takedown may hopefully raise awareness that the Youtube ‘copyright system’ needs to be looked into.