Why Does YouTube Apologize to People Who Have Illegally Uploaded my Content?

By Larry Cane of Tape OP Magazine
(repost by permission, copyright in the author)

I politely asked Youtube to remove a song by my old band that someone had posted without permission. They took it down but then apologized “sorry about that” and ran my business name as if “blaming me” for removing content. Really? Wow. Pretty damn impartial, huh?

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7 thoughts on “Why Does YouTube Apologize to People Who Have Illegally Uploaded my Content?

  1. If you’re saying they should not apologize for taking down copyrighted material that was presented without permission, then of course you’re right. But businesses these days have figured out universal goodwill words that seem to make them look good, almost no matter the circumstance. Sorry is one on them.

    Or perhaps they are apologizing to you!

    • YouTube has long employed a tactic that is Chilling Effects Lite. YouTube leverages the fact that most YouTube videos are embedded in a variety of places, including the artist’s own home page. When YouTube gets a take down notice that actually results in YouTube removing the video–usually because the poster hasn’t filed a counternotice (which in YouTube’s case can be essentially anything from the poster indicating a pulse)–YouTube isn’t satisfied to just remove the video.

      Instead, YouTube takes it upon itself to post a notice to the World of Free that YouTube had to actually comply with the law. If that notice comes from an artist’s record company or the music publisher of the recorded song, then everyone who has the video embedded suddenly has a messge “apologizing” due to the fact that YouTube controls what replaces the embeded video that was removed. That “apology” is then flashed across the Internet including the band’s own webpage if they have embedded any YouTube videos.

      YouTube then feeds that “story” to the Google press who dutifully report on the incident as manufactured news.

      Understand that Larry’s complaint is unusual–most of the time when this comes up it is with the major music publishers or record companies and it gets fed to the press when YouTube is in the middle of a negotiation (see Warner Music).

      In other words–it’s not an “apology” at all, it is a tactic and sometimes a negotiation tactic. It is designed to say to YouTube users that you can’t get free music because someone stopped you. Normally it’s part of the “evil major label” meme.

      Actually it’s part of the evil cross-subsidized monopolist notice and shakedown meme.

  2. I mean in no way to criticize Larry’s right to control his work. I used to play “whack a mole”, too.

    But isn’t the throwaway line “sorry about that” directed towards the end user, not the uploader?

    As in the case of the unwarranted SST takedowns, I think it would be good to see the copyright claimant(s) listed both for takedowns and for videos remaining up.

    After all, who is raking in the money?

    That questioned, I have seen a gilmmer of “light” the past few months. After a derisory couple of bucks from YouTube, I have seen m/m growth to $20 and now $100, loosely implying a future monthly maximum for my label of $300 on master use royalties. On can only hope for such small mercies.

    As well, after 5 years of petitioning, SoundExchange has finally recognized our prima facie and de jure claims without a hint of an apology for their goofs in methodology. We’ll see if we can emulate the new found income from YouTube!

  3. A few years ago a number of parents of small children (3-8 year olds) discovered that photos they had put on flickr were being repurposed for sexual age-play games on the Google Orkut site. Whilst some of it was teenagers being cute, some of it was far darker. The parents complained firstly about impersonation. Google response please send copy of child’s driving licenses to prove impersonation. After getting nowhere parents started sending DMCA takedowns: Google response was to threaten them with Chilling Effects and perjury. After more than a week the parents started to get lawyered up, the blogosphere woke up, Google started pulling the accounts:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/02/google_orkut_dmca/

  4. Reblogged this on MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY and commented:

    Larry Crane of Tape OP Magazine highlights what must seem like a curious practice by YouTube. First thing–it’s Google, so understand that they don’t care at all what artists think.
    Having said that, it will not be surprising to know that YouTube has long employed a tactic that can be thought of as Chilling Effects Lite. YouTube leverages the fact that most YouTube videos are embedded in a variety of places, including the artist’s own home page. This distribution was accomplished by the efforts of the artist or the artist’s manager, or the artist’s record company or by fans of the artist acting out of enthusiasm for the artist’s music.
    When YouTube gets a take down notice that actually results in YouTube removing the video–usually because the poster hasn’t filed a counternotice (which in YouTube’s case can be essentially anything from the poster indicating a pulse)–YouTube isn’t satisfied to just remove the video. (This would cause the video to go dark everywhere it’s embedded.

    Instead, YouTube takes it upon itself to post a notice to the World of Free that campitalizes on the efforts made by the artist and those working with the artist (including fans) to use those efforts to YouTube’s benefit.
    How? YouTube uses the same embed codes to post a notice that YouTube had to actually comply with the law. If that notice comes from an artist’s record company or the music publisher of the recorded song, then everyone who has the video embedded suddenly has a messge “apologizing” due to the fact that YouTube controls what replaces the embeded video that was removed. That “apology” is then flashed across the Internet including the band’s own webpage if they have embedded any YouTube videos.

    YouTube then feeds that “story” to the Google press who dutifully report on the incident as manufactured news.

    Understand that Larry’s complaint is unusual–most of the time when this comes up it is with the major music publishers or record companies and it gets fed to the press when YouTube is in the middle of a negotiation (see Warner Music).

    In other words–it’s not an “apology” at all, it is a tactic and sometimes a negotiation tactic. It is designed to say to YouTube users that you can’t get free music because someone stopped you. Normally it’s part of the “evil major label” meme.

    Actually it’s part of the evil cross-subsidized monopolist notice and shakedown meme.

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