YouTube Now Blocks Copyright Material First, Asks Questions Later

We’ve had some interesting run-ins with YouTube before over copyright. In December USA Today claimed copyright of a Digg demonstration video we uploaded, and given YouTube seemingly ignores complaints, USA Today to the best of our knowledge is still gaining revenue from a video that had nothing to do with them.

But usually copyright claims happen after a video is already on the site, with YouTube following the DMCA safe harbor provisions to take videos down that are subject to claims. But not any more.

We regularly receive pitches from various people, including reps for movie companies. On January 23 we received an email from one of our regular PR contacts (and we’re always grateful for the emails, even if we don’t always run them) for the upcoming film Sunshine Cleaning. The email included links to private downloads for the movie, including a trailer and poster. I downloaded the trailer this morning, ran it through iMovie for processing, then uploaded it to YouTube so we could run it on The Inquisitr. Note that the trailer had been sent so we could run it on the site, so we had permission to do so from an authorized representative of the copyright owner.

Imagine then my surprise that after the clip had finished prcoessing, YouTube immediately identified it as being in breach of copyright and didn’t allow it to go up.

I was then redirected to an option where by I could lodge a dispute to the claim; the end result in the picture above.

To YouTube’s credit the movie was quickly included again, but the process still begs the question: why has YouTube seemingly abandoned the DMCA process in favor of blocking material upfront, and automatically presuming that the uploader isn’t authorized to share the material?

No doubt the MPAA and RIAA will be happy with YouTube’s now authoritarian stance on copyright, but as a user it completely stinks, and offers no fair and due process in these matters. Once upon a time we would have expected better from Google/ YouTube, that’s obviously no longer case.