Fight for the Future
May 24, 2012
Internet Freedom Group Fight for the Future Responds to Google’s Transparency Report
Google’s latest transparency report reveals that copyright holders are taking down over 250,000 URL‘s*, more than the total for all of 2009.
Even more troubling, these numbers include cases where companies abused copyright to silence legitimate speech: criticism of their products, for example.
In 2011, Greenpeace uploaded a video to YouTubecriticizing Nestle for its unfriendly environmental practices. Nestle lobbied to have the video removed on grounds of copyright infringement.
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“Copyright law is insanely out of date– it’s even illegal for kids to lip sync pop songs on Youtube.” said Fight for the Future’s Holmes Wilson, “Worse, we know there are many cases where companies have abused copyright law to silence legitimate criticism and political speech.”
“Beastie Boy Adam Yauch (MCA) got sued days after his death for a sample he used decades ago,” said Wilson, “Today’s young artists are more likely to live in fear of copyright law than think they will benefit from it– and these are the people copyright was intended to support.”
Examples of copyright holders overstepping their ownership online include cases like Brian Kamer, whose video was taken from YouTube, shown on The Jay Leno Show without his permission, and subsequently removed from YouTube with a copyright claim from Jay Leno’s parent company NBC Universal.
Kamer’s open letter to Jay Leno is currently going viral:
Dear Jay Leno,
First off, my intention is not to fight you on this. You have more cars than I have dollars, and so I know I don’t stand a chance legally, and on top of that, I don’t really understand how legal stuff works. But the truth is you kind of fucked up my shit and I need to talk to you about it.
In 2007 my good friend Travis Irvine was running for mayor of his home town, Bexley, Ohio. He asked for help making him a funny campaign commercial. So together, me and my pal Travis composed, performed and recorded an original campaign jingle onto my four track (we did, not you). Then, I directed and shot a silly music video for that song featuring Travis strolling about his town, looking patriotic, friendly and mayoral. Remember that video?
I think you might, because in 2009 Travis called me about it. He was in a frenzy and needed to know if I’d seen your show that night, which of course I had not. You see, Travis had received a call from a high school friend who claimed to have seen Travis on The Jay Leno Show. So the next day, we both watched your show on the internet, and sure enough our video was in a piece at the end. I remember it was at the end because I had to watch the whole show to find it and boy that is a long show, it felt like I was watching forever. How long was your show, like three hours? During the bit you played five stupid local campaign commercials and one of those commercials was the video I was telling you about earlier. After you played our video on national television, you said something like, “I love that song!” as the audience cheered in approval. So thank you for that. It was nice of you.
Anyway, it was a good laugh for Travis and I, but we forgot all about it a few weeks later. End of story, right? Apparently not, Mr. Leno.
I’ll have you know that I was searching for our said video on YouTube, and it turns out that the video has been blocked. Blocked by you! Isn’t that fucked up?
Your company NBC just up and blocked our video and claimed that we are copyright infringers! But we are not! We made it! And this is the video that you said you loved! Now, if you try to watch our video (and again this is the video that had nothing to do with you until you used it in your show without asking) on YouTube it’s just a big black sign that basically says, “the makers of this video stole this video from NBC, so you can’t watch it!” Jay, what in the hell is going on here?