April 15, 2013
April 11, 2013
Late last month, Twitter received a DMCA takedown demand from NPG Records, Inc., Prince’s record label, to remove a six-second video hosted on Twitter’s popular new Vine application. Vine is a mobile application (currently available only on iOS systems) that allows users to create and share videos that are a maximum of six seconds long. The relatively new social media start-up, which officially launched in early 2013 after being purchased by Twitter, also lets users comment on videos and follow other users. Despite the six-second limit – or perhaps because of it – Vine users are creating and sharing astonishingly imaginative and innovative content via the platform (be sure to view the Editor’s Pick section). As with any content-sharing platform, however, there is the possibility of intellectual property abuse, including both trademark and copyright abuse. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act To combat online copyright infringement, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, protects content providers such as Vine from liability for alleged copyright infringement (a “safe harbor”) in exchange for the provider’s strict adherence to a process for removing alleged infringing material when they receive notification of an infringement claim from a copyright holder. In March, NPG Records sent a DMCA request to Twitter demanding that eight Vines be removed. Twitter publicly publishes every DMCA request it receives at Chilling Effects, and the NPG Records request is available here. Copyright Infringement or Fair Use? According to a tweet from the content’s creator, @ZackTeibloom, the eight Vines reportedly contained “Two Purple Rain videos, Prince talking, Prince gyrating against a chair, Snoop from “The Wire” dancing, typical Prince show.” It’s not clear whether Teibloom’s content was actually infringing, or whether a de minimis or fair use defense might apply. For example, if an average song is 3 minutes (180 seconds) long, then a full six-second clip appearing in a Vine video would be roughly 3.3% of the entirety. But the analysis could be further complicated by other issues, including whether the Vine includes just the music (playing in the background, for example), or also includes a performance or other visual element, as at least one of Teibloom’s Vines did. Mike Masnick at Techdirt, who has posted a YouTube video of one of the Vines, resolutely concludes that, at a minimum, the fair use defense applies. It’s unclear whether Teibloom plans to dispute NPG Records’ takedown notice, but a recent tweet suggests that in view of other concerns, including the 'no camera' policy in the building where he took the video of Prince, he will keep the content offline. Lenz v. Universal - a YouTube Takedown Notice NPG Record’s DMCA demand strikes a familiar chord. In February 2007, Universal Music sent a takedown notice to a YouTube user who posted a twenty-nine second clip of her children dancing to Prince's “Let’s Go Crazy,” which was playing in the background. The user argued that it was fair use and sued Universal with pro bono assistance from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. That case may soon head to trial in the Northern District of California. The Take Home The DMCA notice from NPG Records emphasizes the challenging and ever-evolving intersection of social media and copyright. With every new method of creating and sharing content comes not only the potential for copyright infringement, but also the potential for copyright owners to stifle the type of intellectual creativity that copyright laws are designed to protect. Content creators, including Vine users, should aim for the proper balance of creativity and respect for copyright protection.
March 1, 2012
February 27, 2012
- The OSP must “not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity;”
- The OSP must not have actual knowledge that it is hosting infringing material or be aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent; and
- The OSP must, upon receiving notice of copyright infringement from a copyright owner or its agent, act expeditiously to remove the purported infringing material.
- “Now Pinterest Is Defending Itself From Accusations Of Copyright Infringement”
- “The Genius of Pinterest's Copyright Dodge”
- “Pinterest's uneasy relationship with copyright law: what happens next”
September 27, 2011
The university has already seen a big drop in the number of dorm computers that use file-sharing software, from about 1,000 last year to about 50 this year. Of those 50, about half have opted for the hall pass. The other half remain quarantined and unable to access the network, officials say.
August 30, 2011
Today, most universities and colleges have their own YouTube channel where they host videos about the institution, faculty, and students. These videos often let prospective students interact with the institution in ways not previously possible. While the copyright status of university-created and –uploaded videos is usually obvious, recent events have shown that any YouTube channel can fall victim to false copyright infringement claims. On August 29, 2011, numerous videos from the official YouTube channels of musicians Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and others were removed by YouTube as the result of copyright infringement claims submitted by an entity called “iLCreative.” Like most online content hosts, YouTube has procedures in place that allow copyright holders to notify the host that another person has uploaded content that infringes their copyright. Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, provides an exemption to online service providers from claims of copyright infringement if the provider puts notice and takedown procedures in place. YouTube makes the procedure particularly easy with a Copyright Complaint Form that guides the copyright holder through the process. Unfortunately, while claimants must state under penalty of perjury that they are the actual owner of the rights in question and that the use complained of is not authorized, service providers are not arbiters of copyright claims and must respond in an automated fashion rather than analyzing the merits of each claim. Once YouTube receives a claim, it then notifies the content provider who can provide “counter-notice” that the material does not infringe copyrights. Submitting false copyright infringement claims can have serious consequences. Anyone submitting a claim must have a YouTube account, and false claims can result in termination of that account. Further, section 512(f) of the DMCA subjects anyone who makes false copyright infringement claims to liability for damages, although identifying the individual and proving damages can be challenging. Shortly after they were taken down as a result of the false copyright claims, the music videos by Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and others were returned. The Take Home Message If your YouTube video or other online content is removed due to a copyright infringement claim, don’t panic. Confirm that you own the copyrights or have authorization to use the content in question, and work with the service provider to return the content to the site. In many cases the content will be returned in a matter of hours or days.