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Google Deal Allegedly Lets UMG Wipe YouTube Videos It Doesn't Own 392

Posted by Soulskill
from the sounds-about-right dept.
Sockatume writes "Ars Technica is reporting that Google has given music conglomerate UMG the right to arbitrarily eliminate YouTube videos. When UMG had Megaupload's 'Mega Song' removed from the site, it was assumed that they had made a DMCA claim, and that YouTube was responding under its 'safe harbor' obligations. Megaupload's legal response argues that UMG has no grounds to request a DMCA takedown. However in court filings (PDF), UMG claims that its licensing agreement with Google gives it the power and authority to unilaterally wipe videos from the site, bypassing the DMCA entirely. If true, that means that your activities on YouTube are not just curtailed by the law, but by the terms of their secret agreements with media conglomerates."
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Google Deal Allegedly Lets UMG Wipe YouTube Videos It Doesn't Own

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  • Re:UMG is screwed (Score:4, Informative)

    by mr1911 (1942298) on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:14PM (#38399562)

    Lawsuit. Google as well. In fact, if I was Megaload, I'd be suing both of them.

    Sue on what grounds? They took an action that is within their TOS that you agreed to. What is your basis for harm? Would a judgement refunding your full subscription price of a full service make you happy?

    There is plenty to dislike about this story, but responses to stupid actions do not need to include even stupider actions.

  • What about Vimeo? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:25PM (#38399724)

    Megaupload's song was removed from Vimeo as well as Youtube. Does that mean that Vimeo has a similar agreement in place, or was that one an actual DMCA takedown?

  • Re:Best Part of TFA (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:38PM (#38399958)

    Don't get too excited. His real name is Kim Schmitz [wikipedia.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:43PM (#38400022)

    According to this article on TorrentFreak: http://torrentfreak.com/megaupload-video-reinstated-universal-says-you-cant-touch-us-111216/
    The video is back. Google gave UMG an ultimatum: Show us a reason it should be pulled, or it's going back up. UMG didn't respond.

  • by oldlurker (2502506) on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:49PM (#38400172)

    Since you did put the link up, you should have read it.

    They don't claim that their motto is "don't be evil", they claim that they believe that you can make money without doing evil. It is different.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don't_be_evil [wikipedia.org]: While the official corporate philosophy of Google[4] does not contain the words "Don't be evil", they were included in the prospectus (aka "S-1") of Google's 2004 IPO (a letter from Google's founders, later called the "'Don't Be Evil' manifesto"): "Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served — as shareholders and in all other ways — by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains."[5

  • Re:UMG is screwed (Score:4, Informative)

    by DRJlaw (946416) on Friday December 16, 2011 @01:50PM (#38400192)

    Why wouldn't Google have the right to take down content on it's websites at will? What law says they can't do this? I'm not saying Google or UMG is in the right ethically speaking, but everyone screaming, "ZOMG LAWSUIT!!!!!111oneoneone" is rather pointless.

    Google could do almost anything that it wanted to with respect to its own service by itself. Google is somewhat limited in what it can do with its own service through contracts with others. Moreso when one content provider seeks by contract to obtain the power to exlude other content providers from participating in Google's generally "open" service. The law -- section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act [wikipedia.org], among others, limits how and to what extend you can do that.

    "Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal."

    Partnering with "all" content providers to generate money from content, and then permitting certain privileged content providers to have content from other content providers removed for private reasons strikes people as sketchy. I'd love to see the "rule of reason" analysis that prevents this from being an antitrust violation.

  • by JesseMcDonald (536341) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:01PM (#38400394) Homepage

    There is a separate, private, secret agreement they have with UMG that basically allows them carte blanche to delete your video, though....

    No, it's the public ToS (in which they never actually promised to host your videos in perpetuity) which allows them to delete your video from their servers. The private agreement with UMG just commits them to doing so at UMG's request, rather than leaving it to their own discretion.

  • by Tekfactory (937086) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:10PM (#38400536) Homepage

    It took me a while to find this story

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/09/13/1811250/Hotfile-Sues-Warner-Bros-Over-Abuse-of-Takedown-Tool [slashdot.org]

    The record labels were caught abusing the anti-piracy tools that Google gave them to police their own content.

  • by thomasw_lrd (1203850) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:27PM (#38400812)

    Oblig Giants in the Playground lin

    http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0763.html [giantitp.com]

  • by ShakaUVM (157947) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:36PM (#38400978) Homepage Journal

    >>I have to wonder if Google would agree with this.

    Why wouldn't they? If they're rational, they'll takedown every video as soon as they get a complaint from a major rightsholder, regardless of the merits. From a purely business and legal perspective.

    I watched pretty much the entirety of the SOPA hearings live yesterday, and the people opposed to it (Lofgren D-San Jose and Issa R-Vista, mainly) pointed out the weakness in the takedown regime. Basically, if an entity responds to a takedown notice by taking it down, that ends any threat of legal action from people with real legal budgets. Regardless of the merits of the notice.

    This creates a scenario where big rights holders can basically put a bullet into an website they don't like - Lofgren referenced a website taken down for a year (with no compensation or even charges filed) for copyright infringement for showing a video that they had permission for. The RIAA asserted copyright - when they did not, in fact - but nothing happened to them.

    When they made a proposal to the SOPA amendment to adopt a loser-pays system if the claim is found without merit, it was shot down by that fucking idiot with the fucking idiotic name Goodlatte because he didn't want to disincentivize people from filing takedown notices. When Issa (and some other gentleman from California whose name I can't remember - Chaffetz, maybe) pointed out that there would be a veritable flood of copyright notices, Goodlatte and Lamar Smith said, yes, that's what we want to see have happen.

    The real kicker was the debate over SOPA granting immunity to intermediate agencies for taking down websites. In other words, if Visa and your ISP cut off your website due to the unproven allegation of infringement, they are immune to any damages resulting from it. But if they don't comply, they will have to risk legal action. Issa and others rightly pointed out that there needs to be some sort of counterweight to this, otherwise unproven allegations by the RIAA will give them the power to turn of every web site in the world (from the American standpoint).

    Here's the fucked up bit: Mel Watt (D-North Carolina) rose in opposition to this amendment, saying that the current bill only granted immunity to ISPs if they were issued a court order, and that was the correct way to do it. Issa countered by saying that, no, that's actually what my amendment does, but thanks for agreeing with me that that's the right way to do it. Mel Watt: Uh, I'm still opposed to the amendment, as it's not necessary. It was the most outrageous example of bullshit I've ever seen, and I spend a fair bit of my life following these sorts of things. Fuck Mel Watt - he needs an honesty implant.

    Everybody needs to get on board with this and write to their representatives to kill SOPA once it passes committee (as it looks like it will).

  • by EdIII (1114411) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:53PM (#38401226)

    Google is not actively policing its own content, UMG is. I am sure as part of the licensing agreement Google is absolved of any liability as it has become UMG's responsibility to police the content.

    I would not be surprised if Google has quietly done this with all "big" (read enough money to sue them) content distributors so that they don't have to do anything.

    ContentID was a massive failure. It never actually worked right and the copyright owners were swamped with "spam" notifications that turned out to be nothing, or worse, they took down everything. The resultant complaints, from people like me, that showed the ContentID system was fundamentally flawed and taking down videos without cause gave Google a difficult problem to solve. In my own case, the videos were only flagged and no action was taken. That was from a single copyright owner though, that probably made the decision to not do anything. UMG I bet would have acted differently.

    Your concerns are mitigated through whatever contractual agreements that Google has with UMG.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Friday December 16, 2011 @04:33PM (#38402706)

    Our partners do not have broad take-down rights to remove anything they don’t like from our service. In limited cases, if they so choose, and based on exclusive agreements with their artists, partners can take down live performances.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111216/01463417102/explanation-why-umg-may-be-right-that-it-can-pull-down-megauploads-video.shtml

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