USA Today Claiming Copyright over Digg Demonstration Video

In September 2007 I uploaded a demonstration video of new features at Digg to YouTube; at the time the video appeared on the Digg blog and couldn’t be embedded, and we wanted it for the story. I can’t recall whether Digg pitched the story to me (or the site I was writing for at the time) or we simply picked the story up off the Digg blog, but either way we gave publicity to Digg at a time they wanted it, and they’ve never once objected.

So imagine my surprise to find that USA Today has claimed copyright over the video!

The very generous USA Today (a unit of Gannett) is allowing me to keep the video up, but now has full access to all stats from the video and gets to serve ads against it.

Now unless Digg has been acquired by Gannett, I’m stating the obvious here that this is a grade A joke. Whether the fault lies with YouTube’s content identification program, or with USA Today itself is a moot point: the content is an original video from Digg, voiced over by Digg staff, consisting of nothing more than pictures of features on Digg! If it is subject to a proper DMCA notice from USA Today, it would also constitute a false declaration under law as well.

Here’s the email from YouTube, and the video follows.

Dear nichenet,

Your video “New Digg demo” has been identified by YouTube’s Content Identification programme as containing copyrighted content which USA Today claims is theirs.

Your video “New Digg demo” is still available because USA Today does not object to this content appearing on YouTube at this time. As long as USA Today has a claim on your video, they will receive public statistics about your video, such as number of views. Viewers may also see advertising on your video’s page.

Claim Details:

Copyright owner: USA Today
Content claimed: Some or all of the visual content
Policy: Allow this content to remain on YouTube.

Place advertisements on this video’s watch page.

Applies to these locations:
USA Today claimed this content as a part of the YouTube Content Identification programme. YouTube allows partners to review YouTube videos for content to which they own the rights. Partners may use our automated video/audio matching system to identify their content, or they may manually review videos.

If you believe that this claim was made in error, or that you are otherwise authorised to use the content at issue, you can dispute this claim with USA Today and view other options in the Video-ID Matches section of your YouTube account. Please note that YouTube does not mediate copyright disputes between content owners. Learn more about video-identification disputes.

The YouTube Content Identification Team