Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sat 27th Oct 2007 22:34 UTC, submitted by Kishe
Legal When her 0.29" family video was taken down by YouTube on the request of Universal MPG, the affected mother of two struck back with a lawsuit against Universal with the help of the EFF. While technically her family video might have been a copyright infringement as she had no license to include Prince's song as a background score, it is encouraging to see the public fighting back against restrictive laws that get in the way of their every day lives. My Take: I stated my own opinion on the matter on my personal blog.
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legal ramifications
by oma2la on Sat 27th Oct 2007 23:19 UTC
oma2la
Member since:
2005-07-05

Describing this as a restrictive law indicates that you probably don't fully understand the situation. The RIAA and Prince really do not care about home-videos: the various Performers' Rights entities are not going to sue you for recording your birthday party. YouTube however is a purely commercial venture. It doesn't host clips of your cat dancing or your grandma playing basketball as a public service or to be kind. YouTube hosts videos to make money, now and in the future. That's their only reason for doing it. Now their business model is extremely clever, as they are able to get mostly amateurs to hand over their artistic works (that is, your birthday video or dancing cat film) without asking for any money in return. That in itself is a threat to professionals in the entertainment industry. Now you may not feel much sympathy for these entertainment industry professionals, but you cannot blame them for wanting to protect their revenue streams. The Prince track in the background of a party is an extreme example, but in legal terms the RIAA will be allowing a precedent to be set if they do not pursue all infringement on YouTube diligently. There will be de facto fair use, and frankly that isn't fair to those such as musicians and singers who earn their living in entertainment.

If you upload a video to YouTube, you are entering the world of business with all the attached legal ramifications. YouTube knows this, and cannot rely on the legal naivety of its content-suppliers (unpaid regular people like us) as a barrier against its obligations to performers under the law.

Reply Score: 7

RE: legal ramifications
by Eugenia on Sat 27th Oct 2007 23:31 in reply to "legal ramifications"
Eugenia Member since:
2005-06-28

oma2la, you misunderstand me and you make assumptions of what I know and what I don't. Of course and I know that youtube is a commercial entity, I clearly mention this on my older Creative Commons blog post: http://eugenia.gnomefiles.org/2007/09/06/creative-commons-licensed-...

But where you are wrong is this: "it isn't fair to those such as musicians and singers who earn their living in entertainment." As I write on my newer blog post, 99% of the artists don't CARE about youtube, and in fact are NOT against home videos to be used in conjunction to their music. The reality is, the RIAA and the labels are creating this problem, not the artists.

The point is, this is a restrictive law the way it is now. More freedoms should be given to the consumers, for situations that don't truly take away the artist's or label's revenue. If Youtube will host or not a home video with a song doesn't really bring or take away anything from the artist (a family man would never actually properly license music for thousands of dollars). In fact, it might help the artist. It's just that the RIAA needs to be convinced of this too.

Edited 2007-10-27 23:41

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: legal ramifications
by oma2la on Sat 27th Oct 2007 23:49 in reply to "RE: legal ramifications"
oma2la Member since:
2005-07-05

I assumed you were aware of YouTube's commercial status, and nothing in my comment suggested you weren't. If you are objecting to my assumption that you do not possess in depth knowledge of US copyright law when in fact you do, I apologise without reserve.

My point is simply that it seemed you did not fully comprehend the legal complexities of the situation. You are focusing on the unfairness of the particular case in question, and on its own I agree that removing the video seems harsh (even though none of us has a legal right to have our videos hosted by anyone, and the plaintiff has in no way suffered) but in the absence of modern legislation concerning these newly arisen situations, the RIAA has to act to protect its intellectual property. It may take a long time for governments to agree on comprehensive laws dealing with online content, but until such laws are made these apparently unfair cases will continue.

Neither of us can know how "99% of the artists" feel about the current situation, so it is probably unwise to use such figures.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: legal ramifications
by butters on Sat 27th Oct 2007 23:54 in reply to "legal ramifications"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

You're completely incorrect. Regardless of YouTube's status as a commercial, for-profit venture, the DMCA clearly identifies YouTube as a hosting service and protects it under its "safe harbor" provisions. YouTube is an irrelevant third-party in this legal battle between the copyright owner (Universal) and the content distributor (the housewife).

Under the DMCA, YouTube doesn't distribute works, they merely provide a neutral hosting service. Their only legal obligation is to respond to take-downs and counter-claims. Google would not have purchased YouTube if services of this sort had any legal liability for copyright infringement.

It is the content distributor who is liable, and that's why the housewife is the sole defendant, not YouTube. The law doesn't care at all if the the content distributor or the hosting service derive income from their operations. It wouldn't make a difference if YouTube was some sort of non-profit humanitarian organization. And obviously the housewife wasn't out to make a few bucks.

This is not about money per se, it's about control as a means of protecting revenue streams.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: legal ramifications
by oma2la on Sun 28th Oct 2007 00:10 in reply to "RE: legal ramifications"
oma2la Member since:
2005-07-05

Butters, nothing I said contradicts what you have written (except that the mother is not a defendant in any suit). You are absolutely correct in saying that YouTube makes its money as a neutral third-party. What I'm saying is that its business model to some degree relies on the legal ignorance of its largely non-commercial content providers. YouTube makes money by not policing the content for infringement, and counts on copyright-holding entities not knowing or not caring about any such infringements for part of its profits.

Reply Parent Score: 4