First, user generated content is now consumer generated media. Silly me, I’ve been using out of date terms. Sheesh.
All joking aside, there really is a need for an industry/unIndustry organisation to protect social media creators i.e. members of social networks. i.e. you. It’s not just Bigpond raiding social networks for marketing focus groups or Flickr deleting photographic works of art because of fear of infringement, or gdaypal turning off the social network without warning. What about this YouTube fiasco? (The Knight Shift). Hat tip to Kolya Miller.
Viacom hits me with copyright infringement for posting on YouTube a video that Viacom made by infringing on my own copyright!
Viacom used my video without permission on their commercial television show, and now says that I am infringing on THEIR copyright for showing the clip of the work that Viacom made in violation of my own copyright!
The clip in question was pulled by YouTube earlier this morning, at Viacom’s insistence.
Last fall, as part of my campaign for Rockingham County Board of Education, I produced three commercials that ran on local television. The first of them – which I simply dubbed “Christopher Knight for School Board TV Commercial #1” – was hosted on YouTube the same evening that the ad started running on WGSR in Reidsville. You can watch it at http://youtube.com/watch?v=nLi5B0Iefsk.
His video ended up on VH1.
A month and a half ago some friends let me know that the cable network VH1 was spotlighting the commercial on their show Web Junk 2.0, in an edition titled “Animals & Other Crap”.
VH1 took the video that I had created and hosted on YouTube, and made it into a segment of Web Junk 2.0. Without my originally-created content to work with, VH1 would not have had this segment at all. They based this segment of Web Junk 2.0 entirely on the fruit of my own labor.
He didn’t mind that VH1 used his content unattributed. He was just proud to be on TV. He posted their clip of his clip on YouTube. And then this:
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 Viacom International Inc. claiming that this material is infringing:
Web Junk 2.0 on VH1 features my school board commercial!:
Please Note: Repeat incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to avoid future strikes against your account, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about YouTube’s copyright policy, please read the Copyright Tips guide.
If you elect to send us a counter notice, please go to our Help Center to access the instructions.
Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification may be subject to liability.
See the part about a counter notice? Who on earth is going to do that? Do you see a Steven Lewis or Meg Tsiamis – I like picking those two, so sue me (or not) – thinking, “Oh, I better get me a lawyer and counter-sue!”. David and Goliath stuff only works in dreams right?
What does this mean for independent producers of content, if material they create can be co-opted by a giant corporation without permission or apology or compensation? When in fact, said corporations can take punitive action against you for using material that you created on your own?
I would really like to fight this as hard as I can. Unfortunately at the moment I lack the time and resources to do this on my own. I am also, admittedly, not an attorney. There’s a good bit of knowledge of copyright law floating around in my gray matter, but it’s not nearly enough to mount the challenge that I would like to levy against Viacom for doing this.
Do you really think an industry organisation is going to protect content creators? At the moment, they think these things are one-offs, abnormal. I’m saying, give it a year or two and there will be more user generated content than ‘professional’ and there will have to be class action suits to protect consumer rights. Start thinking about it now.
Which is why i want to set up EeeiEeei.Org – everyone everywhere every time involved, everything… whatever it was…. included. It’s time to say “Hands Off Our Content, Big Boy“. Hey, that can be the tagline!
I think I should start posting more of these bon mots – companies who delete user generated content because oh, they want to turn the social media experiment off, or because someone told them too, or because, you know, it doesn’t matter, it’s just user generated crap (in spite of the fact they monetise our crap with advertising and other stuff). Our memories, our fotos, our videos, our friends, our relationships, our lives. Hands off!
So, what do we call this organisation to protect social networks? No one likes my EeeiEeei.Org – which I presented at the last WebJam (except Priscilla, and she was just being polite). I thought of CivilDisobedience or HandsOff but they are taken. It should be positive AND negative. An ethics statement, guideline on how/when to delete user generated content and when not, example of reasonable terms and conditions that are mutually acceptable and an infrastructure to take action against naughty companies that seek to infiltrate and abuse the social network trust. A social contract that both companies and consumers can live with. Well that’s the idea anyway. Or is this a concept whose time has not yet come?