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15-Year-Old Scams YouTube 106

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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  • 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 @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).
  • 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.

  • 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."

  • 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?
  • 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 bhiestand ( 157373 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:14AM (#18731143) Journal

    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:They do? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:24AM (#18731217) Homepage
    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.
  • by catxk ( 1086945 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @10:32AM (#18731275)
    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. Content industry never acted logically, but still, it would seem logical that when you're income is set in stone as more or less is the case with normal public service, you wouldn't fight (rather promote) global spread.

    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".
  • by svunt ( 916464 ) on Saturday April 14, 2007 @11:05AM (#18731543) Homepage Journal
    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.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead