Solved: How Zeppelin's YouTube Videos Vanished

A coda to the case of the mysterious disappearing Led Zeppelin YouTube clips, courtesy of a nice chat we had with GrayZone’s Dorothy Sherman today.

Dorothy’s the woman who fessed to mistakenly ordering the takedowns. Her company, which has been around for more than a decade, is based in Brooklyn Heights, employs seven (plus some independent contractors), and scours the net for copyright violations on behalf of firms like Warner Music Group. She was happy to explain what her company normally does, and what happened this week…
Normally, Dorothy says, her clients give her a list of songs they should be on the lookout for at “sharing” sites like YouTube. It’s a very long list —¬† currently at more than 17,000 entries. Her team scours the net looking for them, just like any web surfer would.

When they find them, she says, they sign onto a specialised version of YouTube that allows firms like theirs to check a takedown box next to the offending file. A checked box tells Google’s video site that Dorothy’s employees are authorised reps of company X (they have different accounts for different clients). Dorothy doesn’t know what happens on YouTube’s end, but she says that when her people click a box, the video disappears almost immediately.

“Interesting,” we say, as she explains the process. “Not when you’re the one sitting in front of a computer monitor all day,” she says. Touch√©.

So what happened this week? Simple she says: Her team noticed all the Zeppelin concert clips, knew that the band was signed to WMG, and assumed they wanted the clips off the Web. So they took down more than 300 of them. It wasn’t until a day later, she says, that she found out that the label was happy to have the clips on the Web. Her team has since reinstated all the clips, she says.

We would have liked a more twisted tale here — perhaps some nefarious collusion between scheming record execs and greedy, ageing rock stars. That’s always a good story line! Unfortunately, we’re left with a more pedestrian tale: Well-meaning people who made a mistake. Mystery solved; case closed.

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