Days after YouTube took down a pro-Tibet protest video, the clip is back up on the site. CNET reports that Google’s video service talked the International Olympic Committee, which had filed a takedown notice with the site, into withdrawing the request.
Now YouTube is getting some credit in the blogosphere for “standing up” to the IOC and the Chinese government. But we think there is a different, two-part story here:
- The IOC has been indiscriminate about sending out takedown notices.
- And while YouTube gets plenty of grief for allowing copyrighted material on its site, it is also way too cavalier about its takedown process, which is getting abused by people who don’t like the content on the site — as opposed to people with a genuine intellectual property claim.
The facts: The video is of a protest that took place in New York. The students projected imagery on the Chinese consulate, including the familiar five-ring Olympic symbol, and various videos of protests in China.
Nothing there to warrant a takedown. So what happened? Since the video was initially titled “Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony,” the EFF notes the video, posted by Students For a Free Tibet, probably got caught up in over-zealous copyright policing.
But even if this is the case, it’s an example of how primitive the content filtering and notice-and-takedown processes really are at YouTube, and how far they have to go not only to make sure that copyrights aren’t abused but that those can’t use the DMCA to illegally squash content they don’t like. YouTube knows this — it gets reminded of this in court on a recurring basis — and it’s going to need to figure out a better solution.
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