Anti-Piracy Group Hits Indie Creators For Using the Word ‘Pixels’

An anti-piracy firm working for Columbia Pictures has hit Vimeo with a wave of bogus copyright takedowns just because people used the word 'Pixels' in their video titles. Several indie productions are affected, including an art-focused NGO, an award-winning short movie and a royalty free stock footage company.

abortretryfailTens of millions of DMCA-style notices are sent to online services every week complaining about copyright infringement. While most are accurate, some contain errors.

Some take screwing up to a whole new level.

This week anti-piracy group Entura International sent a notice to Vimeo in what first appeared to be an effort to stop piracy of the Columbia movie ‘Pixels’. Not only did it fail to do that in every way possible, it hit a number of indie creators and filmmakers instead.

Founded in November 2004, NeMe describes itself as a non-profit NGO and an ‘Independent Museum of Contemporary Art’.

“Our NGO has just received a DMCA notice for a video we produced in 2006 entitled ‘Pixels’,” the group told Vimeo this week.

“The video was directed by a Cypriot film-maker using his own photos and sounds/music on a shoestring budget and infringes no copyright.”

Sadly for NeMe, however, it has now been resigned to history.

pixels-dmca

But upsetting the NGO was just the tip of the iceberg. The notice goes on to hit an embarrassing array of entirely non-infringing works.

“Life Buoy is my project for my degree at the National University of Arts from Bucharest,” creator Dragos Bardac explains.

“The film was made in mid 2010 and it is a music video for the song Life buoy by the band The Pixels. I used a mix of stop motion animation techniques in order to tell the story.”

But it doesn’t stop there.

Published on Vimeo in 2011, “Pantone Pixels” is described by creator Rob Penny as a “personal project that took me a very long time”.

Thanks to Entura, however, the image below now greets users of his website.

pixels-pantone-gone

And it gets worse.

‘Pixels’ is a 2010 award-winning short film created by Patrick Jean. Its tagline “8Bit creatures are invading New York City” only tells half the story of this extremely cool short movie. It’s now wiped out on Vimeo but luckily YouTube still retains copies which together have been viewed millions of times.

Also falling victim is VJLoops.com, a royalty free stock footage & media site. They put up a video on Vimeo titled ‘Love Pixels’ which turned out to be a big mistake. Same goes for a 42 second video concerning this year’s Pixels Festival in Mons, Belgium.

Last, but certainly not least, Entura rounded off this disaster by taking down the official Pixels movie trailer, even though their very own notice lists their errors clearly.

pixels-notice

Of course, in addition to the hassle of having had their content wrongfully taken down, each person subjected to a notice from Entura will have a ‘strike’ placed against their Vimeo account.

“The notice we received says that this is strike 1 which we do not accept for the aforementioned reasons. It also says that for Vimeo to accept to return the video online we have to give our name address and an assortment of statements,” the NeMe project told Vimeo in a response.

“I’d suggest filling a counter notice,” Mark from the company responded. “This is in the hands of our trust and safety team and unfortunately our support team cannot help you with this issue.”

Sorry folks, apparently you’re on your own.

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