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Viacom stealing from Youtube users
Viacom in a strange turn of events accused of stealing from YT users
Demaestro

WebmasterWorld Senior Member demaestro us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 5:04 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Some angry Youtube users have revealed that Viacom is stealing their Youtube videos and repackaging them on their site... loaded with advertising.

Many years ago Viacom bought the site ifilm, which has been recently renamed to Spike.

There are screen shots of a page from ifilm encouraging users to take the viral videos that get emailed to them and send them to ifilm. ifilm says that they have scoured the web for the funniest and most outrageous videos out there to post on their site.

They also encourage what any good "netizen" would do and forward on any good videos to them and Viacom provides an email address for viral videos to be forwarded to. No mention of making sure you own the copyright.

When Viacom sued Youtube a reporter asked Viacom, "Don't you own ifilm? Aren't there copyrighted videos on there? Can't you get into trouble too?"

This is what Viacom responded:

"Contributions to ifilm are screened by ifilm employees to ensure that copyrighted, #*$!ographic or other restricted content is not posted to the site"

On ifilm user uploaded videos are marked with a tag "User video"

Videos that Vaicom upload are put into categories, like "viral" so you can easily tell which videos employees uploaded themselves.

In the viral section there are many many videos that went viral on youtube. One is from a user named coppercab who made a video complaining about how south park claims that gingers (red heads) have no souls. His video was so popular that south park actually responded in one of their episodes.

Spike (formally ifilm) has him as the featured viral video of the day on their site under the name "Angry Ginger kid still angry"

In the tags to the video they actually use the tag YouTube in the video, and use the tag stupid. They are calling him stupid, he is a minor and not only did they use his face and his video all over their site, they use his face in an ad!

CopperCab was contacted about this and said no one asked him if they could use his video.

I checked out the video on Spike and there is a 30 second pre-roll ad before his video and the page is littered with flash ads.

There are example after example of videos uploaded to Youtube that go viral and find themselves on ifilm, now Spike. You can tell they weren't uploaded by users because they don't have the "user video" tag on them.

Last count I saw there were over 25 videos that went viral on Youtube and appear on Spike the next day or within a week, uploaded by STAFF.

If you want to see more you can find videos detailing which videos were stolen on youtube, you can see the original Youtube posters deny that Viacom asked to use their videos. And you can see screen shots of the offending videos with ads all over them on Spike.

I am amazed at how blatant they are being while currently suing someone for the same thing.

 

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 8:00 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Everyone is out to make a website... and monetize it... and either does not have the time to create, or the ability to create, or the desire to create... when they can take.

And fall back on legal word weasling to try to justify that business mode.

All too often there are those who don't believe TANSTAAFL. Munch munch. :)

Syzygy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 8:56 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it possible to claim for infringement when someone posts your viral message?

I guess the argument would be 'yes, if they did it for commercial gain'. But then if it's posted to a site upon which commercial messages are an integral part of the make-up and content, then would that still hold water?

Can something that is distributed into the public realm in that way that a viral message is be 'stolen' by means the same means?

Or have I completely missed the point (and I may well have done)?

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 9:04 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

One has to understand what "Public Domain" means. Much of what is considered "Public Domain" (PD) is anything 1924 and earlier (US, some countries 1944, 1952). That, in general, means anything created after that time is in copyright. Even those viral youtubes.

Reality is most of those folks will never pursue as they never had a commercial intent when posted. And that is what google and viacom and all those others are depending on.

[added] the creators of the content that went viral... usually from their phone or vidcam... had no commercial intent OR realization that they might have made a buck if they had only known. :)

Demaestro

WebmasterWorld Senior Member demaestro us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 10:03 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it possible to claim for infringement when someone posts your viral message?


Yes, you don't have to apply for a copyright, it is granted by default.

If you are the creator of content then you hold the sole copyright to that content by default.

the creators of the content that went viral... usually from their phone or vidcam... had no commercial intent OR realization that they might have made a buck


Not so.

Many popular users on Youtube are revenue sharing partners. I have had a video with only 45,000 views be offered ad revenue sharing, I get about $20 a month, so many of these users do have monetary gain in mind when they upload these videos to Youtube.

Many of the users complaining of this are full Youtube ad sharing partners, and all viral videos are offered this deal. More and more people are aware of this and are out there trying to make viral videos for cash.

Another thing they are doing on Viacom's video site is as follows...... A video comes out and goes viral in 1 day, so they try to get that video up on Viacom's Spike site ASAP but don't always have it ready so they use Youtube's embed code, which is fine except for 3 things.

1) You aren't allowed to embed Youtube videos on pages for the sole purpose of advertising around it... which is exactly what they do.

2) You aren't allowed to alter the embed code to make the video behave differently, which is what they are also doing. Embedded Youtube videos have specific functionality, like double clicking takes you to the Youtube page with the original video loaded. Spike's site disables this, double clicking restarts the video. Also annotations can be embedded into Youtube videos, linking other videos from the user or whatever, Spike's site blocks the clicking of annotations in Youtube videos, so that no action takes you to Youtube where it should.

3) you are suppose to provide a prominent link back to Youtube, which thy don't do and as I described above they block all embedded links and actions that should take you to Youtube.

Syzygy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 10:07 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not referring to public domain in the intellectual property sense, Tangor.

Public domain/public realm are also expressions in British English meaning that something is... made freely available to the public. You make up a joke and the instant you tell it to someone it's in the public realm.

You put out a viral message and you give it to the public to distribute as they please, without restriction.

Copyright would only apply to the unique nature of the content of the message. Change the content and perhaps an infringement may be considered. By its very essence a viral message depends on it being 'reproduced' time and time again. There is no infringement because the creator relinquishes their rights to control or restrict its distribution.

Syzygy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 10:09 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it possible to claim for infringement when someone posts your viral message?

Yes, you don't have to apply for a copyright, it is granted by default.


See above... :-)

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 10:10 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Many popular users on Youtube are revenue sharing partners. I have had a video with only 45,000 views be offered ad revenue sharing, I get about $20 a month, so many of these users do have monetary gain in mind when they upload these videos to Youtube.

Did you set out to make income? That is the difference I was making regarding Mama putting up vid of bouncing baby... in most cases few have any consideration of "going viral" and making a buck.

Demaestro

WebmasterWorld Senior Member demaestro us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 10:34 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

Regardless of why you make a video, when you do, you own the copyright on it.

Syz, if you write a joke and utter it in public you still hold the copyright on it. If you wrote a book with 1 joke, and you uttered that joke in public people would be allowed to repeat it to their friends, making it viral, but they aren't allowed to make a copy of it and publish that copy. Not on their website, not in a book, not in a school newsletter.

When something is emailed to a bunch of people making it viral isn't the same as making a copy and publicly publishing it, that is what copyright deals with, the right to create and publish copies.

There is no infringement because the creator relinquishes their rights to control or restrict its distribution


It doesn't work like that, you have to relinquish your rights explicitly, you don't relinquish your rights just because your content went viral, if that were true then most Simpson's and John Stewart clips would fall into this category of having gone viral and so are no longer protected by copyright law because people email that stuff around too.

All copyright law does is give content creators the sole right to create copies and publish those copies. Having your content viral doesn't undo this right.

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 12:17 am on Apr 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not referring to public domain in the intellectual property sense,


Should... after all, most countries are Berne Convention signatories these days... that means creation and copyright are invested in final form. And for 75 years after creator's death.

Public Domain is what has passed out of creator copyright OR is intellectual property expressly granted into PD (that's where Open Source butts head with PD... one of those attempting to have cake and eat it, too, kind of things).

Posting to youtube has problems (read their TOS) which makes it a tad more difficult to retain control. Long and short, if it is YOURS and you want to keep it, don't give it to youtube, and if viacom gets it be on them like white on rice.

Syzygy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 3:01 pm on May 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

If you write a joke and utter it in public you still hold the copyright on it.


That is not correct. Uttering a joke to friends is not covered by intellectual property law. Otherwise you may as well say that all conversation is protected by copyright. Sorry, just isn't so.

If you wrote a book with 1 joke, and you uttered that joke in public people would be allowed to repeat it to their friends, making it viral, but they aren't allowed to make a copy of it and publish that copy. Not on their website, not in a book, not in a school newsletter.


Telling a joke to a friend, which they tell to someone else, who then tells 10 other people is not something you can cover with copyright.

If you wrote a book, containing one joke - say it's the one that your friend just told you - and someone then printed or told that joke elsewhere, you would only have copyright protection if:

* the presentation of that joke, and the book, was unique to the author
* the retelling or republication of that joke was identical to the form you published, but
* only if a court/judge determined that your joke - and/or the way in which it was presented - was sufficiently unique, and required enough creative input to be worthy of copyright/IP protection.

If you are a professional comedian (or, indeed, an unprofessional one), you may prove copyright on your works if:

* you can show that you had the material written down prior to performance
* you can show that the ideas behind the joke are original and are not just existing concepts reworked
* you can show that the work was broadcast publicly (just being broadcast will not help you if the joke is not original).

Here's an interesting read on this very subject:

[williampatry.blogspot.com...]

1) You aren't allowed to embed Youtube videos on pages for the sole purpose of advertising around it... which is exactly what they do.

2) You aren't allowed to alter the embed code to make the video behave differently, which is what they are also doing. Embedded Youtube videos have specific functionality, like double clicking takes you to the Youtube page with the original video loaded. Spike's site disables this...


Sites like MySpace and Facebook allow the embedding of content on pages with advertising. The ultimate goals of both sites are to raise revenues through advertising revenues.

MySpace disables the ability to click through to YouTube to watch a video...

As far as the distribution of viral content, and especially videos is concerned, I wonder if they would be classed as public performances and thus have limited copyrights.

...you don't relinquish your rights just because your content went viral...


Sorry, you have to be a bit more specific than this vague term 'went viral'. I'm guessing that you mean here the spread of a url. Actual content can be spread virally - anything that you can embed into an email. By such means, work, that would otherwise have distribution restrictions placed on them because of copyright, forgo such protection because of their very nature. This is my supposition.


Me: I'm not referring to public domain in the intellectual property sense,


You: Should... after all, most countries are Berne Convention signatories these days... that means creation and copyright are invested in final form. And for 75 years after creator's death.

Public Domain is what has passed out of creator copyright OR is intellectual property expressly granted into PD (that's where Open Source butts head with PD... one of those attempting to have cake and eat it, too, kind of things).


Sorry, Tangor. You're still not getting what I'm saying. Yes, yes, Berne Convention/Public Domain - very nice, thank you. But it's not what I'm talking about. LOL!

Perhaps the words 'public property' might mean something similar in your culture? Although now I expect you'll think I'm referring to the local park!

To help, here's a link to a (rather convoluted) article on Wikipedia on 'Public Domain' that goes beyond the simple copyright meanings and should go someway to explaining what I was attempting to get at. For example:

In a general context public domain may refer to ideas, information and works that are "publicly available", but in the context of intellectual property rights public domain refers to ideas, information and works which are intangible to private ownership and/or which are available for use by members of the public, subject to respect for moral rights.


[en.wikipedia.org...]

My point is that by spreading and actively encouraging the public dissemination of a work, one cannot subsequently object to it from a legal standpoint.

When all is said and done, I think that each of us is at odds in understanding the points of the others. C'est la vie...

Demaestro

WebmasterWorld Senior Member demaestro us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 6:00 pm on May 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Syz, you are missing the point.

If I write a unique, never heard, completely original joke and publish it, no matter how many people repeat it in public I still hold the only copyright to it and if anyone else publishes my joke then they violate my copyright.

If I create a unique video and publish it, no matter how many people forward it in an email, I still hold the only copyright on it.

I can't lose my copyright by the actions of others. It is as simple as that.

Copyright isn't like a trademark where I have to protect it or lose it, which is what I think you may be thinking about.

I'm guessing that you mean here the spread of a url.


No, I mean people attach the video file or embed the video file into an email directly.

The Wikipedia article quoted doesn't support what you are saying. All it is doing is pointing out that you can't copyright an idea, or information, like facts or general truths.

It is saying:
I can't copyright 1+1=2.
I can't copyright that Obama is pres of the USA.

Example if I write an article about a bank robbery and I report the facts with some of my own insight, then as a whole piece that article is protected by copyright. You can't copy my article and publish it for your own means without my permission.

However the facts contained within my story aren't protected by copyright, so if you read my article and remove the facts, like time of day, which bank was robbed, how many perpetrators were there, were they armed, and so. Then you take those facts write your own story and add your own insight then you have created your own article and that article will have protection from others copying it as well.

Of course there are fair use situations where one can copy an article, but you can't republish it. You could photocopy it so it was 5 times the size so your grandma could read it, as an example.

That is all that wiki quote is outlining though.

Like I stated before, you don't lose your copyright through the actions of others. Copyrights don't enter the public domain due to being popular or widespread.

[edited by: Demaestro at 6:52 pm (utc) on May 1, 2010]

StoutFiles

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 6:15 pm on May 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

You can't copy my article and publish it for your own means without my permission.


Unless you're doing so on the internet. Then the most you'll get is a slap on the wrist. If you're a major company doing it, then people will make threats but nothing will ever come of them.

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 6:22 pm on May 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm very much aware of what public domain means... after all the concept is enshrined in the American Constitution. Your point appears that any utterance is public domain. I'll go for that in a very simplistic form since it is uttered once, is in final form, and cannot be copied--but the knowledge of what was uttered has been shared. Public knowledge (property) should not be confused with Public Domain, which defines when the creator's right to copy ends by law (and thus can become public property). If not in public domain, it is copyrighted.

Video files are not an utterance. They are tangible and can be duplicated/distributed, and may contain written works, art, music, and sound effects which may have additional copyrights. Is putting a vid on youtube or viacom a tacit declaration of Public Domain (ie. waiver of copyright)? I don't buy that concept. YMMV

Demaestro

WebmasterWorld Senior Member demaestro us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 6:50 pm on May 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Stout you are being cynical.

You are not allowed to copy a copyrighted work, even on the Internet.

Lack of punishment or enforcement aside from a legal stand point you are not allowed to do it. And If you do the person you do it to does have legal recourse despite the cynical viewpoint of some.

If you really think this is true Stout do some searching for RIAA judgments punishing people who have been caught doing this. There are some big ones that go way beyond a slap on the wrist as you put it.

StoutFiles

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 7:48 pm on May 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Lack of punishment or enforcement aside from a legal stand point you are not allowed to do it. And If you do the person you do it to does have legal recourse despite the cynical viewpoint of some.


Of course people aren't allowed, and I'm not going to risk being the 1% or so that seem to be punished, but the fact that there are SO MANY sites making money off of other's material is depressing.


If you really think this is true Stout do some searching for RIAA judgments punishing people who have been caught doing this. There are some big ones that go way beyond a slap on the wrist as you put it.


For every site you name where people have been punished, I can name a site that hasn't. Then when you're out of sites, I can endlessly keep going.

tangor

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 8:04 pm on May 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Strawman arguments are, most times, amusing. What we have in the OP is a report that real legal issues (and somewhere down the line) some serious cash for lawyers and possible monetary judgments will be involved.

The youtube users ticked off with viacom may have granted youtube permission to display their work (and some might even be approached by youtube "Hey, everybody likes it! Can we run some ads and slip you a little cash?") but the creator did NOT grant viacom that same permission. There remains a copyright and the creator's distribution channel is youtube.

That's the question that is being dealt with. All this other stuff has just been interesting philosophical discourse.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 6:37 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

It reminds me of a British tabloid newspaper (I cannot find the reference, but it was a site about the guy and his girlfriend, primarily aimed at their friends) that copied a series of blog posts, and told the author that he could not afford to fight them in court.

Copyright is like British libel laws, whatever you want if you are rich, pretty useless if you are not.

Big media are particularly hypocritical about this, because they want to mould copyright to control distribution, rather than pay royalties. That is why Sita Sings the Blues (a free download from the creator's site) is not available through Netflick's streaming service because they would only carry it DRMed, which she did not want - "we will protect the artist even if they do not want us to", rather like the mafia .

StoutFiles

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 7:30 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

That's the question that is being dealt with. All this other stuff has just been interesting philosophical discourse.


Viacom is guilty in this case BUT it needs to be made clear this has nothing to do with the Viacom vs Google case. Google can't go "Oh, well look what Viacom is doing so now we're even!". Google should be paying money to Viacom for using their content, and then Viacom should be turning right around and paying the people they stole content from.

Of course, none of this happen. Viacom and Google will have an under-the-table deal and nothing will ever come of Viacom taking content from others. Big business for the win!

Demaestro

WebmasterWorld Senior Member demaestro us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 9:33 pm on May 20, 2010 (gmt 0)

Viacom and Google will have an under-the-table deal and nothing will ever come of Viacom taking content from others. Big business for the win!


I also beleive that this is what will end up happening. If that happens it is more than a win for big business though, it is a win for the true original content creators of Youtube and sites like it who will not be punished by the criminal acts of other users.

The real winner? The Lawyers!

mr_rock

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4123735 posted 12:29 pm on May 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

I just think youtube is a good web.For users,we should protect youtube,shouldn't we?

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