DMCA Abuse Will Cause Censored Product Review to Go Viral

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A manufacturer of studio lighting is about to discover that censoring critics is a very bad idea indeed. After a filmmaker published a less-than-glowing review of one of their products, UK-based Rotolight deliberately abused the DMCA to have the video removed from Vimeo on copyright grounds. But far from hiding the contents away, there are now signs that the review - and subsequent takedown - will become a prime example of the Streisand Effect.

censoredThe DMCA takedown notice and its European equivalent are tools designed to help copyright holders enforce their rights.

Should they see actual content or a link that infringes on their exclusive rights, a correctly formatted email to the site or service in control should see the offending item removed in a timely fashion.

Millions of these notices are sent without problems, but as we know there are some – such as Microsoft’s epic fail this past weekend – that tend to catch the eye. However, while mistakes like this can be entertaining, there are other kinds of takedowns that are nothing short of abusive.

Den Lennie is from filmmakers’ resource F-Stop Academy. He recently did a video review comparing lighting products including one from UK-based Rotolight Limited.

“As a film maker and educator I feel passionately about my role in testing and comparing products,” Den explains.

“Manufacturers make all sorts of claims and yet when we independently test and find those results contradict the marketing then we should be well within our rights to publish the results.”

Den did just that, with a video review he uploaded to Vimeo. However, access to the review didn’t last long. Rotolight wrote to Vimeo claiming that the video infringed on their exclusive copyrights and it was taken down.


According to Den, Rotolight didn’t appreciate the fact that the review wasn’t as glowing as they might have liked.

“Surely if you purchase a light and then do a comparison video in an environment where the light is designed to be used and publish the results as an information video to help people looking to invest in lighting – that is not unreasonable eh?” Den questions.

“Yet Rotolight have served a notice of copyright infringement on me simply because they did not like the results…? WTF. The company claim to make the ‘World’s most advanced LED light’ yet when we tested it our results were not good.”

After censoring Den’s opinion, Rotolight surprisingly went on to apologize via Facebook (post since removed).

“We would sincerely like to apologize for any upset caused, that was not our intention and we very much hope you can accept our apology,” the company wrote.

“We just feel that the test was not fair or representative of our product, and we would greatly appreciate the opportunity for you to re-test our light as you have offered. We would like to invite you to our offices in Pinewood Studios for the re-test, anytime convenient for you.”

So not only do Rotolight admit to shutting down Den’s review on the basis they didn’t agree with it, they now want him to carry out a new review with them looking over his shoulder.

However, it now seems that Rotolight might be changing their position, and not in a good way either. According to an update from Den, Rotolight are now claiming that since Den used their company name and product in the title and tags of the Vimeo video, that constitutes a breach of their copyright.

If Rotolight haven’t yet heard of the Streisand Effect their head of marketing should look it up immediately, although something tells us that by the end of today any effort will have been in vain. This one will probably go viral.

TorrentFreak contacted Rotolight for comment but we’ve yet to receive a response.


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