Seemingly every week there are horror stories of copyright holders abusing the DMCA in order to harass the little guy and suppress legitimate speech. It’s a problem that infuriates the masses, particularly on YouTube.
Early Friday, TorrentFreak was informed of a situation faced by a woman running Emadion, an Italy-based site dedicated to horror, the supernatural, and the bizarre.
Emadion is supported by a small YouTube channel which recently received notification that an uploaded video was infringing copyright. The details are enough to make smoke come out of any YouTuber’s ears.
The video in question features the infamous and harrowing 911 recording of a call which detailed a horrific pet chimpanzee attack that took place in the United States in 2009.
The Emadion channel operator had augmented the clip (warning: upsetting) with Italian subtitles for the benefit of local viewers. However, Emadion quickly received a copyright claim from BestMusic Digital, the representative of Romanian musician, Kazi Ploae si Specii, who claimed that the content was his.
Bemused, Emadion carried out some checks and found that the artist had uploaded a track titled ‘Valium‘. Sure enough, his track features a sample of the same 911 recording.
Believing that the copyright complaint was a mistake, Emadion filed a dispute with YouTube, but the response was not what they’d hoped for.
“After reviewing your notification, BestMusic Digital Distro has decided that the copyright infringement violation is still valid,” the notice read.
Furthermore, Emadion was advised that the 911 call video would now be monetized by the Romanian artist, alongside a warning of the implications of making a further unsuccessful appeal.
“You may appeal this decision, but if the author does not accept your appeal, you may receive a warning in your account,” YouTube advised.
Of course, any YouTube user would have a right to be worried by this notice. One dispute had already been rejected, why wouldn’t a second?
Concerned, a representative of Emadion contacted TF for advice. Could the 911 call really be copyrighted by this artist? In a word, doubtful. Connecticut, where the recording took place, treats 911 tapes as public records and makes them available online.
So, at this point the pitchforks were getting sharpened ready to deal with the aggressive copyright holder who was ‘bullying’ the little guy into submission. With a critical article already underway, TF contacted BestMusic Digital for comment. Their response was unexpectedly quick, frank, and friendly.
“We have revised the track from the artist that you mentioned, deleted the track and removed the material from YouTube. It seems that the artist used that sample in his track and uploaded it to our system for the use of Content ID,” a company spokesperson advised.
“As standard when uploading tracks to our system for Content ID, artists accept the [terms and conditions] stating that they have full rights over the uploaded content. On the other hand, there are underground artists that don’t always do things by the book and this is how things like these happen.”
Within minutes a very happy Emadion confirmed that the complaint had been withdrawn and the threat of a strike lifted. A great result. However, one thing hadn’t quite been cleared up – why was Emadion’s dispute rejected?
“It was just an error on my part. I clicked the wrong button. I resolved it when I saw your email,” TF was told.
While tales of happily solved copyright disputes aren’t the usual fodder of these pages, hopefully this one will prove helpful.
YouTube’s dispute process is somewhat clinical, and communication through it can prove frustrating for users. However, it’s worth remembering that there are real human beings at the ends of these problems and as a result there’s an opportunity for discussion and negotiation, person to person.
It might not always work, but it has to be worth a shot.