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15-Year-Old Scams YouTube 106

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the so-easy-a-kid-can-do-it dept.
SurturZ writes "A fifteen year old from Perth, Australia, posed as an employee of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, demanding that YouTube remove hundreds of video clips of 'The Chasers War on Everything.' The amusing part is that The Chaser is a comedy company well known to perpetrate exactly this sort of prank."
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15-Year-Old Scams YouTube

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  • YHBT (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:13AM (#18730719)
    YHBT (Youtube has been trolled)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:17AM (#18730743)
    As copyright holder I DEMAND Slashdot remove all first posts from all stories now and in the future.
  • by apathy maybe (922212) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:21AM (#18730767) Homepage Journal
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=230785&cid=187 29299 [slashdot.org]

    The teenager has since apologised [smh.com.au].

    My thoughts on this: Google simply took down the videos and sent out copyright infringement notices to the users who had put them up, without contacting the ABC to verify the claim. This kid claimed to be representing the ABC, so obviously if Google had contacted him to confirm the claim, they still would have problems, which is why they should have contact the ABC directly.

    The copyright is owned by the ABC (or the Chaser crew), but they give permission to use it anywhere and everywhere.
    • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:12AM (#18731127)
      In this incident [pbs.org], a non-copyright holder demanded the videos be removed, and they were.

      "Dear Member: This is to notify you that we have removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by NBD Television Ltd. claiming that this material is infringing:...

      But Squidoo DIDN'T violate the copyright of NBD Television Ltd., because NBD -- a London-based distributor of films about music and musicians -- DOESN'T HOLD THE COPYRIGHT TO TRIUMPH OF THE NERDS. That copyright is owned by Oregon Public Broadcasting, which made the show. I contacted Rebecca Morris, chief counsel at Oregon Public Broadcasting. She had not heard of NBD Television Ltd. and had never been contacted for permission to act on behalf of Oregon Public Broadcasting in this matter. I contacted NBD Television Ltd. And they did not reply.

    • by omeomi (675045)
      This kid claimed to be representing the ABC, so obviously if Google had contacted him to confirm the claim, they still would have problems, which is why they should have contact the ABC directly.

      I wonder if this would even have worked...I have a feeling if you call up ABC and ask them such a question, their knee-jerk reaction is just going to be to say "yes, take it down" without bothering to check on what the actual status of the show is...
      • I doubt it, the ABC are a pedantic bunch.
        • by billcopc (196330)
          That's why the RIAA needs a gambling factor... make a legitimate takedown request and it gets honored. Make a bad one and it gets treated like any other fraudulent abuse of power. Let's pretend the kid made this takedown notice, well for one he is illegally assuming the indentity of an ABC employee. This isn't a strong case because any idiot can look up ABC's address and type it on a letter. So plan B: the recipient should check the credentials, by contacting the sender, no less. Obviously someone fail
          • Yeah, but my point was that the ABC (and SBS) here in Australia are consituted in a similar fashion to Britain's BBC, I very much doubt they would just answer "yes" to an enquiry about a legal matter. The three main commercial networks are a different story.
    • by pipingguy (566974) *
      Chaser crew)

      Doesn't that sound like a cool job?
  • by @madeus (24818) <slashdot_24818@mac.com> on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:22AM (#18730773)
    I'm not usually one to find 'disruptive' pranks funny, but this doesn't seem too far off the kind of things do they on the show [wikipedia.org] (which I've not seen). If companies will put out shows that do just these kind of stunts, and aimed at the teenage/early 20's demographic it's of course no surprise.

    This seems largely harmless in the end, and ABC seem to be taking it in good faith (recognising the irony, I assume). I'm happy that it brings attention to how worth while it is to have a system where you make some attempt to verify the authenticity of a claim of ownership when a takedown is issued.

    I know with the DMCA you are supposed to take down content when a complaint is made - and not dick around establishing ownership (and you should then put it back up if the origional party claims it's legitimate - and then it's up the two parties to fight it out in court), but are you at least allowed to verify the request was sent by the party that claims to have sent it? If not, it seems like a significant oversight in the process.

    If the people who drafted this legislation had any idea about the technology they were dealing with, they could at least have mandated requests be digitally signed with the public key of the content holder (with a certificate that is backed by one of a number of trusted authorities).
    • by zCyl (14362) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:06AM (#18731085)

      If not, it seems like a significant oversight in the process.

      Of course. That law was written specifically TO cause failure. It was a law wanted by companies that distribute media through traditional outlets so they could disrupt the new media distribution outlets which they couldn't figure out how to profit from, and weren't setup to profit from.

      The only logical recourse will be to make serious changes to that law to remove the clear preference for systemic failure, and this will probably only come about after a large amount of civil disobedience (or pranks or exploitation) of the sort described in the summary.

      If someone distributes a virus which randomly generates and submits DMCA takedown notices for every video on youtube, then the law says they should follow them all. Does that make sense?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by bhiestand (157373)

        If someone distributes a virus which randomly generates and submits DMCA takedown notices for every video on youtube, then the law says they should follow them all. Does that make sense?
        That is an absolutely brilliant idea! You don't plan to patent that, do you?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ScrewMaster (602015)
          Not only is it brilliant, but in essence it is a form of automated civil disobedience.

          Interesting idea. Illegal as hell, but very interesting.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by bhiestand (157373)
            Exactly. I wouldn't want to be caught writing such a program, but if it became widely spread it could certainly influence media conglomerates like Google and MySpace to use their weight to get these laws changed...

            Or what if it specifically didn't target certain types of videos/songs? A Christian organization could write a virus that would send take down requests for Islamic, Jewish, and Atheistic files, for example. Likewise, Sony could include it in their next root kit and have all of their competitors
            • by kalirion (728907)
              Why just videos/songs? Couldn't it send notices to ISPs to take down entire websites?
      • Of course. That law was written specifically TO cause failure. It was a law wanted by companies that distribute media through traditional outlets so they could disrupt the new media distribution outlets which they couldn't figure out how to profit from, and weren't setup to profit from.

        I guess the irony is that if Google chooses to they can persecute the individual under the same law as it has provisions to punish you for doing this with material you do not own.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by ScrewMaster (602015)
          I guess the irony is that if Google chooses to they can persecute the individual under the same law as it has provisions to punish you for doing this with material you do not own.

          Persecute or prosecute? I guess in this context there'd be little difference.
        • by Morlark (814687)

          As I understand it, that particular provision only applies if you claim to own the copyright on material that you do not. In this case the guy was claiming to represent ABC, who does own the copyright, so they can't actually get him. Of course I'm sure that there's some ground on which somebody could get him, but I don't believe that one applies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by svunt (916464)
      The DMCA becomes an interesting issue when the material isn't American. I'm curious about whose laws apply with regard to a takedown notice coming from outside the domain of the Act. Obviously, IANAL.
      • No, it continues to behave normally. There are some exceptions, but generally the US grants US copyrights for works created in other countries by foreign authors just as it would for anyone else. Indeed, that's how most of the world works, in essence.

        There's no question that the holder of the US copyright, regardless of whether the work is from Australia or the holder of that copyright or the author are Australian, can use the DMCA. But the DMCA may only be used against entities within US jurisdiction. So t
  • Great Stuff (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekinaseat (1029684) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:25AM (#18730793) Homepage

    From TFA: "Everyone does dumb stuff when they are fifteen," Ms Gibson told ABC Radio.

    Personally I think this is great, not dumb. It's a far cry from the typical prank done by a 15 year old and really shows some ingenuity and humour...

    If I were in the position to give the kid a job, I would.

    • If I were in the position to give the kid a job, I would.

      No offense, but that's probably why you aren't in a position to do so.

      And if the kid's behavior is actually an outgrowth of the qualities it seems to suggest, he should be making his own way instead of working for someone else.

      • by LordEd (840443)
        I disagree. I believe this kid could flip my burgers or pump my gas anytime. He's earned it.
        • I know we tend to put burger flipping in the bottom rung of jobs, but that's pretty messed up if you ask me. Do you really want the dregs of the dregs Preparing your food ?
          • by 10Neon (932006)
            Nono it's not the dregs of the dregs we have preparing the food, it's just the teenagers. We have Law and Politics to keep the real dregs from giving us food poisoning.
    • by Reziac (43301) *
      I agree. Regardless of the teen's motives (whether that be social statement or dumb stunt) it serves as a fine example of how easily ANY random person or organization can abuse the DMCA takedown rule.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pestie (141370)
      Good point. There's a world of difference between an intelligent prank like this, which is not only funny but makes a serious political point, and the usual 15-year-old prank. "Oh, dude, we totally fuckin' spread dog shit all over the doors of the school! It was fuckin' awesome, hey! People were all, like, 'Eww, that's so gross!' Seniors rule!"
  • by agittins (1085543) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:27AM (#18730801) Homepage
    Brilliant, I look forward to the next Chaser episode - I expect they're going to sing his praises for such a cool stunt... and I'll upload it to YouTube for you too :-)
  • They do? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by asninn (1071320) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:29AM (#18730811)

    The amusing part is that The Chaser is a comedy company well known to perpetrate exactly this sort of prank.

    You mean they lie about whether they're authorised to act on behalf of copyright holders _under penalty of perjury_?

    In any case, I think the interesting part is this [smh.com.au]:

    [ABC TV head of arts, entertainment and comedy] Gibson said the removal of the clips was in direct contrast to ABC's policy on content sharing. "[ABC wishes] to get our content out there on as many platforms as possible, run by as many different operators as possible."

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by catxk (1086945)
      I can see why you think that part is interesting, then again, it's a public service company so any policy other than "get our content out there on as many platforms as possible" would be absurd. It's the tax payers who pay for it, thus everything produced under the ABC banner should be (and is it seems) public domain by definition. On a sidenote: As I said, any other policy would be absurd. Sweden's SVT currently is absurd.
      • by babbling (952366)
        If you take a look at The Chaser's vodcast page it says the following, which I believe contradicts Ms Gibson's comments:

        This video podcast is made available for use by persons located in Australia only. If you are not located in Australia, you are not authorised to use this podcast. The ABC grants you a licence to download these audio-visual files for your private, personal, domestic, non-commercial use only. You may not use these audio-visual files for any other purpose (including but without limitation do
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by catxk (1086945)
          Then it's absurd.

          This video podcast is made available for use by persons located in Australia only. If you are not located in Australia, you are not authorised to use this podcast.

          Not only absurd since it's not public domain, it's also absurd since 1) They try to border the Internet. Jeez. 2) They take on some private MNC attitude saying "hey, we only want this content available to those who actually pays for it", ignoring that Australian tax payers basically are the only ones who legally CAN pay for it. Co
          • by babbling (952366)
            I agree it's absurd. As far as I know the ABC is a corporation owned by the Australian government. That seems to be how they circumvent the government-stuff-is-public-domain thing.
            • by ajdlinux (913987)
              In Australia government stuff is in fact copyrighted - just look at any .gov.au website and you'll see 'Copyright © 2007 Commonwealth of Australia' or similar.
          • by svunt (916464)
            To be fair to the ABC, their income is neither set in stone, nor reasonable. Our current government has been slowly choking the ABC for years, and excellent shows like the Chaser can make them some desperately needed money in DVD sales (where non-Australians get a chance to pay for it). I'm not arguing that clips shouldn't be available everywhere, but they do have a reason to protect their content in some way.
            • by babbling (952366)
              I don't think they should make shows with taxpayer money and then charge the taxpayers again if the taxpayers want to watch those shows. It's even worse that they claim to be making "everything available to everyone" when they have a very explicit copyright notice on the page that says others may not distribute the works for any purpose.
              • by svunt (916464)
                The ABC is an underfunded public service - there's a difference between allowing your material to be posted on YouTube, and allowing the entire content of your program to be reused by the rest of the world. I'm an Australian, I pay a LOT of tax, and the ABC is one of the few media producers I have sympathy for. When I mentioned DVD sales, I was talking about how they can get some money (which all goes towards production costs for more excellent television) from the rest of the world, who've not contributed
              • by multisync (218450)

                I don't think they should make shows with taxpayer money and then charge the taxpayers again if the taxpayers want to watch those shows.

                As a taxpayer, I'm funding the transit system they happen to be building outside my living room window right now. Despite this, I fully expect to be charged to use the system once it's up and running.

                I agree with you, though, about the double-speak regarding sharing the "content" (I hate that word for some reason now). They should be up-front with their policies. But I don'

          • Btw, I'm a Swede, I know nothing about Australian law nor anything more about ABC than a 20 second Wikipedia search gave me, so I might be off on their status as a "normal public service".


            Well, that's 20 more seconds than anyone else in this thread spent, so consider yourself an expert!
        • At the end of the legal blurb you'll see that it's a standard form written by people from Screenrights [screenrights.org], a royalty collection company that collects money primarily from schools & colleges using television content in teaching. The ABC, like any starved-for-money service with a DVD market, does need some form of revenue protection, and they contract Screnrights to provide it. The spirit and intent to make everything available to everyone is still there.
          • by babbling (952366)
            People who intend to make "everything" available to "everyone" do not tell people that they do not have permission to distribute parts of "everything".

            The kid was right that YouTube and the uploaders did not have permission to use/distribute these works. It seems YouTube has now been given implicit permission to use ABC works for commercial gain.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "You mean they lie about whether they're authorised to act on behalf of copyright holders _under penalty of perjury_?"

      And why would an Australian minor care about penalty of perjury of a US court?

      Or have you missed the part where this points out the silliness of DMCA requests from international interests?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Detritus (11846)
        He might start caring if the USA asked for his extradition, or if he ends up on a list that guarantees that he can never get a visa. Piss off the wrong people and they will do their best to return the favor.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FireFury03 (653718)
          or if he ends up on a list that guarantees that he can never get a visa.

          I'm confused... why would he care if he can't get a visa to visit a country he probably has no interest in visiting?
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Heck... This 15 year old's stunt got it on slashdot and made me go to Youtube to look them up:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2veTZlmaUJI [youtube.com]

      Pretty funny stuff.
  • by rollonet (882269) <rollonet.gmail@com> on Saturday April 14, 2007 @09:40AM (#18730891) Homepage
    The ironic part to this is that the ABC releases episodes of The Chaser for free, in video podcast form. Also when they announced the video podcast last year, they plugged BitTorrent for helping distributing the show! In fact, the first BitTorrent release of the show was released by one of the hosts... So it dosn't seem like The Chaser are against piracy, only the ABC.

    If you live in Australia and haven't seen The Chaser it's one of the funniest shows that we've got (9pm on ABC 1). If you don't live here, you can download every episode, legally at http://www.abc.net.au/tv/chaser/war/vodcast/ [abc.net.au].

    • by shudde (915065)

      So it dosn't seem like The Chaser are against piracy, only the ABC.

      Where did the ABC state that they are opposed to piracy? That aside, you're at least on the money about Chaser being one of our best shows.

      Death to Naomi Robson [wikipedia.org].

    • If you live in Australia and haven't seen The Chaser it's one of the funniest shows that we've got (9pm on ABC 1). If you don't live here, you can download every episode, legally at http://www.abc.net.au/tv/chaser/war/vodcast/ [abc.net.au].

      I'm quite happy to defer to your superior knowledge since you're familiar with the programme/channel and their surrounding culture. However, the the standard disclaimer at the bottom of the linked page says something quite different.

      First two lines of the small print:

      This video podca

      • by Xiroth (917768)
        Yep, that's because their charter (as a government agency) gives them no direction to distribute their shows internationally, so they can't be seen to be spending money on bandwidth for international viewers. Therefore they allow it to be uploaded to YouTube (or maybe do it themselves) so that they can avoid being investigated for misuse of funds.
    • by NoMaster (142776)

      If you live in Australia and haven't seen The Chaser it's one of the funniest shows that we've got

      That's only because everything else is so fucking dismal. If banal immature humour is your thing, then...

      Oh wait. This is Slashdot...

      I look forward to the day when The Chaser team accepts a huge offer to move to 7, only to have their show cancelled because it's crap - and because our commercial networks here wouldn't recognise a popular show if it poked them in the eye, kicked them in the nuts, set their ar

      • (Seriously. Ever wonder what happened to the little android girl in "Small Wonder"? She grew up and became a TV newsreader and part-time wildlife documentary & quiz show presenter in Australia.)

        Huh.

        How does an android grow up, exactly? Did they put her program in a different body?
        • by NoMaster (142776)

          How does an android grow up, exactly? Did they put her program in a different body?

          And people say I think about things too much!

          I'd bet you've never actually seen Sandra Sully host "Australia's Brainiest xxxx" either, otherwise you'd be marvelling at how far robotics has advanced while you weren't looking...

          (Sorry, Sandra. I don't know you, have never met you - but I read that you're actually quite intelligent, witty, and a fun and interesting person to know; facts backed up by people I know who have me

      • by DeathElk (883654)
        Excellent points raised, I'd mod you up if I could. I also hate Channel 10's contempt for it's viewers when they drag a show out for up to half an hour after the scheduled finish (invariably reality TV dross), or how they chop punchlines or sight-gag conclusions halfway through to run THE SAME FUCKING ADS THEY PLAYED LESS THAN TEN MINUTES AGO. But the thing I hate the most, and this is spreading across all networks, is how they run SELF PROMOTING ADVERTISMENTS over the CREDITS of the FUCKING MOVIE we've jus
      • by zobier (585066)
        Whoa there boy!
        I know the "F"TA TV scene here in .au is pretty dismal, but you've got your self some serious pent-up about it; got an axe to grind or something? Go for a walk -- we've got some of the World's most beautiful bush in our backyards -- or read a book or something.
    • "Piracy?" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by violet16 (700870)

      So it dosn't seem like The Chaser are against piracy, only the ABC.

      Gotta point out that if the legal copyright owner gives permission for free use of its material, it's got nothing to do with "piracy."

      It actually creeps me out a little whenever I see "pirating" used as a general term for "downloading something for free." That's only true if all media is locked up and restricted... and we're not there quite yet.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:28AM (#18731241)
    This is one of the major faults with the DMCA. If someone claiming to be the copyright holder contacts you with a takedown notice, you don't really have any recourse but to comply. The only situation in which you don't is if you know that you own the copyright. However there's not really a way to verify if the person contacting you is legit or not, you just have to assume they are, or risk trouble.

    I've dealt with several where I work. We get the e-mail (that's how they arrive) forwarded to us. I then go and see if the computer they said actually has the files they claimed. If so, I take it down. Now in our case it's always been clear cut, things like a student's system got hacked and it is acting as an XDCC bot serving up movies, but I have no way of knowing if the complainant is actually the copyright holder or not. I have to act on the complaint anyhow.

    So it's not really a scam, it is companies doing what they must to comply with a bad law.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Someone willing to write an online takedown letter generator? Sure, besides perhaps aiding the "MAFIAA", it would perhaps illustrate the problems with the DMCA better if these things came into wider use. :-p
  • Good Response.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by qbproger (467459) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:45AM (#18731373) Homepage
    The head of the comedy department didn't fly off the handle saying we're suing the kid. The police didn't show up at his door to take them away in hand cuffs. There response was "Everyone does dumb stuff when they're 15." What happened to that attitude in America?
    • by Yaa 101 (664725)
      It was never there in the US.
    • by Xiroth (917768)
      Not that I disagree with the sentiment, the ABC doesn't really care whether or not it was taken down. As presumably the majority of viewers of the show on YouTube are international, it wouldn't really make a huge difference to their next budget review.
  • by Venerable Vegetable (1003177) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:56AM (#18731991)
    To say he scammed them seems a bit harsh. He didn't do this for any personal gain, which is implied when you call it a scam. It was silly and he shouldn't have done it, but it wasn't as serious as a scam. No harm done, except maybe a little time lost and some advertisment money. On the other hand, Youtube has learned a lesson.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eil (82413)

      It was silly and he shouldn't have done it,

      I disagree, he should have done it, I'm glad he did, and I only wish I'd have thought of it first. Though nobody seems to have thought to ask him why he sent the fake take-down notice, I suspect he did it to help underscore how truly ridiculous our society's behavior has been become regarding copyrights. You have this handful of enormous corporations who want to own and tightly control all of the world's content. They throw money at lawmakers who then pass really s
  • by WeeBit (961530)
    This also proves just how flawed the copyright law is when it comes to proving that it's yours. When anyone can claim ownership, and demand removal it is just screwed up. Also makes you wonder if many others were con into removing files online by a person without copyright ownership. For that fact even con to remove files from your computer. A person could have a field day party sending those emails out to unsuspecting individuals.
  • I have to thank that kid for his act. Because YouTube/Google usually is *far* too zealous in removing content someone complains about.

    They really, really, need to think more about the legal support and verification before they do these things.

    So -- thanks to this kid for illustrating the problem so well.
  • Does anyone have the sign form copy that was sent to YouTube from this teenager?
  • I thought it was about DaxFlame [youtube.com].
  • Now doesn't he have to come here to appologize and get a public booting? It's our proudest tradition! Disparaging the boot is a bootable offense!
  • At the time this happened, the Chaser had an anti-Clinton video that was the 4th most viewed video for the day. The take down was most likely politically motivated.
  • What's more amusing, and not picked up by the slashdot article or the ninemsn story is that:

    it looks like ALL of the chaser clips released by the OFFICIAL account of ABC Australia have also been removed "due to copyright violations".

    I find it bloody hilarious.

    here's a link to the profile and a couple of videos.

    http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=abcaustralia [youtube.com]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICTP3NednF4 [youtube.com]
    • by mrpostal (840460)
      Update: The account that I linked to has just been suspended.

      That is, the official ABC yotube account.

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