YouTube removed one of my videos b/c of a copyright infringement complaint made by Viacom. The video doesn’t exist anymore; my personal copy was erased for storage reasons. It was videotaped at an Open Mic at Jabez Coffee Bar last year and included friends performing a song they wrote themselves in front of a small group of teenagers dancing comically. It was a beautiful moment I captured and shared on YouTube. Where is the copyright infringement? Where is Viacom’s evidence to support their claim? Unfortunately, I no longer have the video to dispute my claims. Thus Viacom wins. Now my page is labeled with this: “This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner Viacom International Inc. because its content was used without permission” This is an untrue statement and its attached to my good name.
Why did this happen? Viacom owns iFilm, a rival viral video site to YouTube. Viacom pulled all of their content property from YouTube, including Comedy Central and MTV videos, among others. All of that content can be found on iFilm. I believe Viacom is targeting independent content creators with infringement complaints in order to erode YouTube’s marketshare. My first instinct was to blame YouTube but now I realize Viacom is employing unscrupulous tactics.
The following is today’s correspondence:
This is to notify you that we have removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by Viacom International Inc. claiming that this material is infringing:
Leave your Emo at the Door and just Dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp-4SaUFeYA
Please Note: Repeat incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to avoid future strikes against your account, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about YouTube’s copyright policy, please read the Copyright Tips guide.
If you elect to send us a counter notice, to be effective it must be a written communication provided to our designated agent that includes substantially the following (please consult your legal counsel or see 17 U.S.C. Section 512(g)(3) to confirm these requirements):
A physical or electronic signature of the subscriber.
Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location at which the material appeared before it was removed or access to it was disabled.
A statement under penalty of perjury that the subscriber has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.
The subscriber’s name, address, and telephone number, and a statement that the subscriber consents to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which the address is located, or if the subscriberis address is outside of the United States, for any judicial district in which the service provider may be found, and that the subscriber will accept service of process from the person who provided notification under subsection (c)(1)(C) or an agent of such person.
Such written notice should be sent to our designated agent as follows:
1000 Cherry Ave.
San Bruno, CA 94066
Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification may be subject to liability.
Viacom has no rights to the material of the video in question. All
contents of the video are independent produced, written and performed.
Permission of usage was given by the individuals depicted on the
video. Viacom is making false claims regarding the infringement of the
material in question. If Viacom believes it owns the copyright of the
contents of the video, they are grossly incorrect. This is a very
upsetting matter. Is it the policy of the YouTube administration to
act on fraudulent claims made by any persons or companies without
evidence or proof of the validity of their infringement accusations?
Based on this complicity to accept suspect complaints, YouTube may be
implicating themselves in future legal action taken by individual
owners of independent content who are being unjustly targeted by media
companies like Viacom. I can only assume, without any evidence or
proof of copyrights presented in the complaint, that Viacom is acting
unscrupulously in its attempts to control media distribution and
I hope this statement will be received in goodwill of the community.
User created content is a vulnerable new medium that may be unfairly
preyed upon and sabotaged by big business interests. In the future, I
hope further considerations will be given to unsubstantiated claims
made by any party.