IMG Media UK Scam

By Shamus Posted Thursday Sep 22, 2011

Filed under: Rants 116 comments

Some people have pointed out that the most recent episode of Spoiler Warning is blocked in ALL COUNTRIES outside of the USA and UK. Apparently, we have the jackasses at IMG Media UK to thank for this. Here is another game channel that got nailed by these clowns, and here is that user’s explanation:

Link (YouTube)

I’ve disputed the claim. I’m sure in a few days this will be sorted, during which time our content will be down and IMG Media UK might make some money on our efforts in regions where the video is allowed. Apparently they can issue these fraudulent claims and collect money without fear of losing their “partner” status?

Off-the-cuff ranting:

Yes, the law has set up a system of guilty until proven innocent, on the basis of a (basically) anonymous accuser who has a financial motivation for making false claims and who can do so with impunity. I can point the finger of blame at Youtube, but Youtube points the finger of blame at US Law, which obliges them to behave this way. We can point the finger of blame at the lawmakers, but they will turn around and point the finger of blame at the Old Media giants who… lined their pockets to get this horrible law passed. Actually, I guess they ignore us rather than do that.

Either way, this sucks. We can moan about creeps like IMG Media UK, but if YouTube stomps on them another company will rise to take advantage of this lucrative exploit. (Lucrative in terms of effort vs. reward.) This problem can’t be fixed without fixing the defective system that makes it possible.

Still, YouTube needs to smack down these creeps in the meantime. I realize they might not want to stand up to the major publishers in Hollywood, but if some idiots show up and claim to own all the videogame footage in the world and file disputed claims against hundreds of content producers, it should be easy to deal with them.

The YouTube dispute process is still absurd. You’re accused of copying content without given ANY indication of what the content is, or where it’s located. This is like the cops coming to your house and saying they have a tip (from a guy who makes money providing tips to cops) that you have stolen goods. They don’t know where the goods are, how you got them, or even WHAT they are, but you need to sit in jail until you can prove you own everything you have. Once you clear your name, there is no penalty for the tipster.

Addendum: Grrrr.


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116 thoughts on “IMG Media UK Scam

  1. Nerm says:

    dont know about anyone else but i can watch it now(it was blocked a few hours ago)

    also: yay my first comment here!!

    1. Drexer says:

      Yup, apparently a bit of applied internet rage still goes a long way. :P

      1. Aldowyn says:

        … wow, your avatar is a Bionicle mask (I’m past it far enough that I forgot the name of the mask. It’s Kopaka’s, though)


        1. Drexer says:

          Yeah it’s a Kanohi Akaku. The one which in great masks terms had the power of X-Ray vision.

          For me it’s just my avatar of choice since forever. :P

  2. JPH says:

    I wonder if IMG Media UK is going to do this to my channel. Granted my channel gets, like, no views and only has a few videos, but those videos are of games.

    I would laugh if this happened.

    1. Mari says:

      Possibly. My hubby has been doing a video game “Let’s Play” of Guild Wars. He has like 3 subscribers and none of his videos has ever gotten more than 100 views but IMG Media UK did it to him, too. That’s actually the puzzling part to me. It’s scum-like to do it to Shamus and Co but at least I can see a financial motivation to do so, but my hubby? At most they made PENNIES/pence off of him. Maybe even ha’pence or thruppence. I can’t imagine any scenario wherein ANY amount of effort is worth the fractions of cents they make off of some of the people they file DMCA status against. I mean, seriously, it would take a hundred jokers like the hubs to pay one part-time employee third-world sweatshop wages.

      1. rofltehcat says:

        I guess they are scanning videos for a wide range of stuff that may or may not be their property and then the DMCA gets filed automatically. I don’t even think there is a person klicking “OK” on this, it is just fully automated.

        1. raygereio says:

          You’re right in that’s it’s hightly likely it’s all just an automated process. But from what I can tell, the only things the videos are probably scanned for is whether or not it will make a good target for their little scam .
          IMG Media UK, Agora and other organisations that are doing this don’t own anything that’s in the video they’re disputing. Heck, they don’t seem to own anything at all.

          Their goal is to spread their advertisements and they’re doing this by betting on the video owner not wanting to go through the hassle of challanging the copyright dispute. It’s one of the reason they’re going after LP videos (amongst others) as these are often made by teenagers who have a reputation of being lazy.

          As for it not appearing to be worth the investment. Well if you’re a normal person then sending out spam emails also doesn’t seem to be worth the trouble and yet somehow the vast majority of email traffic is still spam.
          Apparently it is somehow worthwhile.

          1. guy says:

            At a guess they’ve just got a program that scans for a set of tags.

      2. Do they have sufficient assets to make a claim or suit against them worthwhile? Small claims would be the perfect place to sue them ;)

  3. Eärlindor says:

    Holy cow! This is too crazy. 0.o

  4. Falcon says:

    To the DMCA, go die in a fire.
    To the politicians who passed it, GTFO of my congress, and pay back what you’ve stollen from our country.
    To the big media who demanded the DMCA, go find a hole to die in. It’s all you deserve.

    To IMG media, whom I won’t even dignify with a proper response, because to do so would give them more traffic than they deserve, I give you a BIG F¥€& you.

    I feel a little better now.

    1. krellen says:

      Instead of just ranting on the internet about it, find candidates to support that are against it, and other similar laws. DO something, instead of just complaining.

      (How many donations do you think I could make off the internet if I started my political campaign promising to strike down the DMCA?)

      1. Destrustor says:

        All the donations. All of them.

      2. Michael says:

        You’d probably end up in deep s— from the FEC though.

        1. krellen says:

          Not if I followed all applicable filing rules.

      3. Falcon says:

        That’s the thing though, I have.

        Donations to consumer groups like the EFF: check

        Vote for candidates that don’t support the DMCA: check

        Educate others around me about WHY it is so bad: check

        Encourage them to vote likewise (if they will vote at all): check

        Write my congressman: check

        Am I missing anything?

        Krellen I get what you were trying to say, yeah as a rule frothing at the mouth Internet rage tends to be lazy. Don’t be so hasty to assume all who rant haven’t also done their homework. Short of getting medieval on such subversive and anti-consumer people I’ve done my part.

        It hasn’t worked.

        Now all I can do is rage towards the heavens and scream at the injustice.

        1. krellen says:

          Stop trying to quash my enthusiasm. I need that if I’m actually going to get the gumption to run. :)

        2. Magnesium says:

          You said “short of getting medieval” like that’s where we should draw the line.

          1. Keeshhound says:

            Why medieval? Are you offering to work their land in exchange for military protection? I’ve always thought that in the case of the elite it should be “going Bolshevik.”

            1. silver Harloe says:

              I believe the phrase refers to the use of violence as a solution, and not to any other particulars of any medieval cultures. We may think we’re violent now, but proportionally fewer people die of violence these days. Even counting world wars and terrorist bombings.

              1. WJS says:

                Don’t terrorist bombings actually kill less people than lightning strikes, or something similarly ridiculous? (At least in the US, which is the king of “governance through fear of ‘teh terrorists!'” The number is obviously very different in the middle-east)

  5. Rax says:

    Now works in Germany as well. Looks like at least youtube-support doesn’t let this stuff sit in their inbox for days.

  6. RodeoClown says:

    Can you just delete the video and re-upload?

    1. Mephane says:

      Nope, Youtube has quite sophisticated algorithms to analyze videos and identify copies of it, even if slightly modified, different resolution, or just parts of it.

      Alas, this is not a technological issue anyway, but ultimately a political.

  7. Tacoman says:

    I haven’t watched the latest Spoiler Warnings yet. Would you post an update here when you get the rights (and any money) back for this so I know it’s safe* to go watch your videos.

    *meaning that you’ll get money and these douchebags won’t.

  8. gaz says:

    Hmmm -weird, the video wouldn’t work 30 minutes ago, but works now.

  9. Alan De Smet says:

    The DMCA safe harbor provisions were a great idea. They eliminated what would have been decades of lawsuits against sites like YouTube. The automatic takedown isn’t a bad idea. There are two problems with it.

    1: To qualify for safe harbor, a service provider cannot put content back up under any circumstances for 7 days, even if the poster claims it’s a legal use. This amounts to the ability to silence someone for 7 days. Useful if the content in question is legal information that a company would like to suppress for a few days. Details on Black Friday sales have been hit.

    2: The is practically no penalty for filing a false claim. “Oops, I was wrong, sorry,” is pretty much a Get Out of Jail Free card.

    Fix: 1. Allow content to be restored the moment counter-notice is filed. 2. Log all “Oops, I was wrong” claims. If it shows a pattern, prosecute for fraud.

    All that said, YouTube has cut a special deal. The DMCA has no “let someone else add advertising” clause. On the up side, it means content can stay up. On the down side, you can abuse it as IMG Media UK has. The fix is simple: Log them (trivial, I’m sure YouTube already does so). If the counter-notice wins, if there was money associated with the advertising, take it away from from the original claimant, offer it to the victim. If there is a pattern of abuse, no longer accept advertising from the claimant.

    1. Peter H. Coffin says:

      The penalty is that filing a false claim opens the filer up to civil suits for whatever revenue is lost, punitive damages, and anything else the plaintiff’s legal team think that they might be able to talk a judge into thinking was okay. And, were this organization operating out of the US they’d be by now risking a class action suit on behalf of EVERYONE that they’ve filed against, and I’m sure YouTube/Google would produce the list of parties with a wide grin and a song in their hearts. But these jackasses aren’t in the US, so US remediation isn’t available. Someone in the UK has to fix them. Maybe there’s a crown prosecutor out there that would love to haul up a few folks for 72,000 counts of fraud and see if they can actually send someone to gaol for 36,000 years.

      1. Chargone says:

        unfortunately, to avoid Exactly that…

        it’ll be a corporation.

        and they’ll get fined an amount that would destroy an actual human being and will be simply a ‘cost of doing business’ for a corporation, because they’re both ‘people’ under the law, and thus have the same punishment options, only the corporation doesn’t have a physical body to put in jail.

        really, for corporations fines need to be expressed in percentages of gross income over a given time period, not flat rates.

        1. Corporations can be small. The real reason “being a corporation” gets around the problem is the core reason corporations exist in the first place:
          It’s called a “limited liability” corporation for a reason. Say people X, Y and Z set up a corporation which they own by holding stock, and then use the corporation to scam for money, and pay themselves that money as dividends or whatever. Now somebody comes and sues.
          What they have to sue is the corporation. And the damages they can get are limited to whatever the corporation has–money people X, Y and Z put into it that wasn’t spent, plus any earnings the corporation itself retained. If it gets taken for everything it’s worth, then the stock people X, Y and Z hold is now worthless. But that’s it. People X, Y and Z keep whatever they pocketed and there’s nothing much that can be done about it–their Liability is Limited to whatever they put in; their profit-taking is untouchable.
          This is useful for scams, and in some cases useful for economic growth–risking less, people are assumed to be more likely to undertake economic activity. Well, people who own things, not people who do productive work. But it’s also a basic economic problem. There is “moral hazard” built in to the basic concept of a corporation. This is because the real reason for the existence of corporations as a legal entity is to allow already rich people to more effectively fleece the rest of us without taking responsibility. That’s also the reason corporations are considered legal persons; it’s not a necessary thing, ’cause they existed without that for ages. It’s a perk that helps their owners get away with things.

          1. Mari says:

            Well, y’know, that and the fact that if X and Y open a mom-and-pop photography studio together where X takes the pictures and Y brings in the clients and they remain unincorporated, Client Q can trip over a wrinkle in the industrial carpet, sue the pants off of X and Y personally and not only put them out of business but also personally bankrupt both of them. If X and Y go ahead and incorporate, Q can only sue the corporation and might put them out of business but won’t ruin any chance of X and Y retaining financial viability to open another business in the future.

            Not saying incorporation is all sunshine and roses but it can serve a useful purpose for the small business entrepreneur in protecting him/her/them from undue risk, thus encouraging entrepreneurship in a free economy. But yeah, the flip side is ugly and oft abused, no argument.

          2. decius says:

            Except that the people who work for a LLC are still personally responsible for their actions: If they institute polices that they know, or should know, to be fraudulent, they are personally responsible both legally and civilly.

  10. Vlad says:

    Wow. Who says ranting doesn’t solve anything? I can watch it now.

  11. Ravens Cry says:

    It works for this Canuck when I tried it after reading your post, Shamus.
    So, yay?

    1. SyrusRayne says:

      Works for me too. Canadian, as well.

      1. SolkaTruesilver says:


  12. Rayen says:

    this is why i don’t go to youtube to watch my videos. I’m happy shamus imbeds them here. However If they are gonna run there adds down at the bottom of the screen then i will have to stifle my spoiler watching ambitions until IMG media(the best in fashion sports and media[may you die in a fire]) gets it’s adds off my spoiler warning so my european companions can watch with me in equality.

    1. Drexer says:

      Embed videos or direct to youtube is indiferent. We Europeans couldn’t watch them anywhere and they just weren’t disputing copyright in the USA and UK(probably assuming most viewer base might be from there and thus wanting to avoid noticeable response for a bit).

      1. Rayen says:

        What i was getting at is if the ads run next to the video on youtube i don’t watch it there so it doesn’t matter because they won’t get add views… However if the video playing here (on twenty sided) still gives them ad views regardless or they run their adds at the bottom of the screen to get ad views (and thus revenue as i understand it…) then i’m not going to watch spoiler warning until this all gets sorted. However everyone is saying they can watch it now so whatever…

  13. rofltehcat says:

    I once heard about something like this happening to someone (a Japanese radio guy or something?) who was actually entitled to publish a piece of music and it was blocked because of inquiries from I think Sony or so. The guy actually took it to court and got a nice amount of money out of it though I’d guess they reached a settlement.
    No idea if it is true but if it is, mass-blocking everything without giving proper information about why exactly it is blocked and without them knowledge about whether the person putting it up maybe was actually entitled to do so… I hope their BS backfires. Hard. Right into their face.

  14. Deoxy says:

    So, how do they actually make money on this again? From what’s been said, NO ONE is watching it, as it’s blocked… ???

    1. acronix says:

      From what I understand, the idea is that you (uploader of the video) have two options: you can either fill the forms, putting your personal data that is later used for who knows what (or so that video says) or you can agree to let them put ads on your videos.

      1. raygereio says:

        Basically they’re counting on people taking the path of the least resistance. Which most people probably will do.

    2. Sydney says:

      It didn’t get blocked in the US or the UK. So the people who could see it saw their ads.

  15. Dovius says:

    Works again for the Netherlands, so I assume the rest of Europe as well.

  16. Destrustor says:

    Is there a way to collectively sue those bastards for uh… moral damages or… something? I’d personally throw a few bucks out there to make them regret the few pennies they got out of this.
    To them, directly: **** you ****ing ******* ****-eating ******er ****tards, ******* may you go to the deepest, stinkiest level of hell to get repeatedly, violently ***** by the ugliest demons of anger for a thousand years PER CENT YOU MADE OUT OF THIS!!!

    whew, sorry. I’m slightly exaggerating my anger, but I’m still deeply peeved. A stern scolding from their mothers should be given to them.

  17. moondance says:

    Is it possible to post something. Then claim copyright on it as a different account. Get The money from the ads immediately and block others from claiming copyright of it ?

    1. Destrustor says:

      I think that would technically be a fraud.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Considering how what these idiots are doing is also fraud,yet no one punishes them,I dont see what could happen to you.The worst case scenario:Youd get your accounts deleted from youtube.

      2. silver Harloe says:

        Yes. Be sure to make a corporation for this purpose first. Invest no money it and take all the ad revenue out as payments for yourself immediately, so that the corporation has no assets to lose in a suit. Then you can get away with said fraud without punishment.

  18. Josh says:

    Just as an update here, we’ve dealt with copyright claims from IMG Media UK before (quite a few times in fact) and every time we’ve disputed them we’ve won and never heard from them about that video again. Since they own essentially nothing that they file dispute claims on and thus wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in any sort of further dispute claim battle, I’m not too worried about them. The only real problem is that we didn’t catch the claim until after we posted the video.

    You may still see ads on some of our videos, but chances are those are for Kevin MacLeod, which you can read about here.

    Given what a help his music has been to the series, I wholeheartedly support him making money off of his work with ads.

    1. Hitch says:

      I will gladly watch any ads that put money in Kevin MacLeod’s pockets.

        1. Methermeneus says:

          Thirded. My god, was the ending theme to season 5 awesome!

          1. swenson says:

            It certainly was! I’ll willingly admit to not only watching all the way through the ending theme, but rewatching it because I loved the music so much.

          2. Reet says:

            forthed. Funkorama was the best credits music EVER.

            Also, I may have missed it but I’m in australia at the moment and I’m seeing the video just fine. So I don’t know whats going on.

      1. X2-Eliah says:

        I could agree to that.

    2. ? says:

      Wait wait wait… They can claim copyright infringement before video is posted?

      1. sab says:

        This reminds me of a problem with youtube I hear about a little while ago, and probably isn’t totally unrelated to this.
        Say some game magazine/site does a review about a game, shows a little in-game footage, maybe a trailer, etc, combined with authentic video material of the presenter talking about the game.
        They then upload the video to youtube, and claim it as being copyrighted. Because after all, they are the creator of the review. If you are the first to do this for this game, it is then assigned to you. If fragments from the video (say, the trailer or the first 15 seconds of the game) later appear in someone else’s upload, it is being reported as a derivative of Their work.
        Being a youtube partner, you also have the choice to either monetize the ad revenue from these derivatives, or to block them. In this case it seems the latter has happened.

        So all in all, I wouldn’t really call this a scam on behalf of IMG Media UK, but more of the content-detection system of youtube. You can’t really blame them for wanting to claim what’s theirs (the bits in between the ‘general’ video material), though it would be nicer if they wouldn’t block the content.

        The only solution to this problem would be to be able to selectively claim content in a video, on a second-by-second basis. But that would mean a lot of work on the part of the uploading youtube partner, and I think we all know how that would work out.

        1. Josh says:

          Thing is, this has never happened with any other company. The only other copyright notices we get are from the guys who advertise for Kevin Macleod. And I’ve seen a lot of talk about this particular company when it comes to errant copyright claims. Now as best as I can tell, IMG Media UK is some sort of television advertising company or something to that effect, so I imagine they might just have anything that’s appeared in any of their commercials linked on youtube as “theirs,” even if they’re only liscening the material for the purpose of creating/broadcasting advertisements for it. This is also why I’m not in the least bit worried about it. It’s merely an annoyance that takes a few minutes to fix.

  19. TehShrike says:

    Consider switching to Vimeo – I think they have less issues with copyright trolls.

    1. Wtrmute says:

      Spoiler Warning was originally on Vimeo, but it had a lot of technical limitations — often it would refuse to run for certain people, apparently because its player was crap. I don’t know if they’ve become any better at it, but the first two or so seasons of Spoiler Warning should be there, still.

      1. Deadfast says:

        Are you sure you don’t mean Viddler? Vimeo has a different problem though. They’re not too fond of videos from games. At least they weren’t a while back.

        1. Wtrmute says:

          They’re different things? Ok, I may have been confuzzled.

        2. Zukhramm says:

          They only allow videos on certain subjects?

  20. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “I can point the finger of blame at Youtube, but Youtube points the finger of blame at US Law, which obliges them to behave this way.”

    No,youtube is the guilty one here,because no law says that you have to prove your innocence first,and the burden of proof should be on the accuser,yet they have implemented a system that works the other way round.

    1. guy says:

      “because no law says that you have to prove your innocence first,and the burden of proof should be on the accuser”

      Uh, actually the DMCA says exactly that. Really. The official, legally mandated, system for a “safe harbor” that uploads other people’s videos is that they must take down videos when a complaint is filed and only put them back in the event of a counterclaim.

      Now you know why people say DMCA like it’s a curse word. It’s pretty unbelievable.

      Here’s the relevant section from Wikipedia:

      “The first way an OSP can be put on notice is through the copyright holder’s written notification of claimed infringement to the OSP’s designated agent. This must[13] include the following:

      (i) A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

      (ii) Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.

      (iii) Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.

      (iv) Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.

      (v) A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

      (vi) A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

      See 512(a) and (h) below if the information is not stored on the system of the OSP but is instead on a system connected to the Internet through it, like a home or business computer connected to the Internet. Legal liability may result if access to material is disabled or identity disclosed in this case.

      If a notice which substantially complies with these requirements is received the OSP must expeditiously remove or disable access to the allegedly infringing material.”

      Note the absence of any part requiring the filer to submit any actual proof.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        1,2 and 3 seem to me like asking for an actual proof.You need to show the work being infringed,and to prove that you have authority given to you by the copyright holder to do something about it.

        1. guy says:

          No, if you read the last bit you just need the signature of someone who claims to have the authority to do something about it and will be subject to perjury charges if it turns out they lied. In the event that anyone ever followed up on it.

          All they actually have to prove is that the video contains anything anyone has a copyright on.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Wait,it says it must include the following,not one of the following.Doesnt that mean all the 6 things,and not just one of those?

            Btw,they are subject to perjury if they lied,and yet here we have someone who lied,and youtube does nothing about it.So they still are the guilty party.

            1. Peter H. Coffin says:

              It’s not YouTube’s problem to do anything about them. Find someone that was harmed, or a big enough harm that you can get the State Department willing to file extradition papers.

            2. Michael says:

              Being able to say they’re the guilty party is great and all, but utterly worthless in practical terms. I’ve literally seen people lie under oath, and been able to prove it with physical evidence, and there were no direct consequences to them.

              Perjury in the US is more about compelling testimony rather than punishing someone who lies under oath. Now, getting caught will basically tank any claim you’re trying to make, (and in the above incident turned the entire case around on them to a degree that was, quite frankly, nearly impossible) but the odds of getting prosecuted for it are incredibly slim.

            3. I believe perjury is a surprisingly narrow offence. It refers to lying under oath in court during a trial. And for practical purposes, since bloody everyone lies under oath in court during trials, the burden of proof is very high. For anyone to actually get nailed for it, they have to be really significantly misleading the court and it has to be totally obvious and provable beyond the shadow of a doubt and it has to be completely clear that they knew it was a lie, rather than just being somehow mistaken or exaggerating or something.

              I don’t think you can nail someone for perjury for making a false claim in a legal-related document outside an actual trial. I could well be wrong. But at a minimum, for practical purposes I can’t see it happening.

              1. guy says:

                Lying on certain legal documents, such as tax forms and DMCA takedown notices, counts as perjury even if it’s not in a courtroom.

    2. Methermeneus says:

      I will now state the reason that none of this is likely ever to be fixed: All YouTube user accounts come with a clickwrap document, which none of us have probably ever read, and yet whose contents most of us can probably guess. One of the provisions therein is that YouTube is allowed to do just about whatever they want with your video short of claiming they own the content, including removing portions, blocking access, putting whatever ads they want on and/or around it, etc. at will. Technically, they don’t even need the excuse of a DMCA claim, although they generally won’t bother to do anything to you until they get one.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Shamus,would you please post the links to keepvid or hotspot shield or a similar site in the future,so that people could at least watch the videos without problems even if something like this happens again?

  22. Methermeneus says:

    I wonder if it’s possible to sue IMG? Certainly, the game companies could if they cared (and, while they probably don’t, they certainly should, since this is the most direct possible violation of copyright law: IMG makes money off of and claims ownership for someone else’s IP), but would a group of LPers be able to file a class-action suit? Maybe proving that there are consequences could get people to stop such tomfoolery.

    1. guy says:

      Apparently they’re technically guilty of perjury, or at least would be in the US. I really don’t know what the laws for following up on that would be or what the relevant rules are in the UK.

      1. Methermeneus says:

        They’re technically guilty of perjury, period, since they’re filing against a US entity (Spoiler Warning) through a US company (Google) based on US acknowledgement of international copyright law, which puts the jurisdiction firmly in US courts. (Or so I’m pretty sure I’ve seen YouTube claims described as by actual lawyers.) However, even when the false claimant, the victim of the scam, the actual copyright holders, and the ISP are all US-based, I have never heard of anyone actually being arraigned for perjury, let alone indicted, let alone convicted for filing a false DMCA notice.

        1. Avatar says:

          That’s because it’s actually a civil tort. You can sue them for damages, not call the cops and have them arrested.

          But keep in mind that, without a safe harbor provision, and not just one of them but one of them that Youtube is serious about upholding, Youtube just ceases to exist. A million lawsuits hit, claiming that Google is a party to the suit because of their involvement (and commercial involvement, at that!), and Google bleeds out in a matter of months.

          It’s true that getting something done about false DMCA claims is tough. But getting ANYTHING done about any kind of copyright infringement online is damn near impossible in the first place, so it’s not just in one direction.

  23. Jethro says:

    “I can point the finger of blame at Youtube, but Youtube points the finger of blame at US Law, which obliges them to behave this way.”

    Not wholly correct. The system is set up this way because it SAVES YOUTUBE MONEY. The DMCA may require immediate takedown, but the DMCA also requires ‘rightsholders’ to swear that they do indeed own the content they are asking to have removed. So, the actual law-breaker here is IMG Media UK, who perjured themselves with a false DMCA takedown notice.

    There is nothing in the law that says these disputes have to be automated. If it were real people doing the takedown filing, and real people assessing those notices for legitimacy, most takedown requests would be denied on a number of grounds. The problem is that the ENTIRE process is automated: (1) First, a program (let’s call it a RIAAbot) crawls through YouTube’s content, looking for matches to its signature database. (2) When it finds one (say some one’s vacation video with ‘unauthorised’ music playing in the background while the subjects slurp alcohol out of each others’ navels), (3) it automatically files a complaint with the YouTube ‘bot, which then (4) automatically applies the requested filters to the content. Depending on the scumminess level of the so-called ‘rightsholder’, and the content being disputed, the video may be completely nuked, region-blocked, ad-spammed, or silenced. (5) The uploader gets a cryptic notice that their video has been cited for copyright violations, and they are informed of their dispute options. (6) The uploader goes to the takedown dispute page, fills in the dispute form, and waits. (7) The content is restored automatically after either (a) a preset time delay designed to induce stress and discomfort in the uploader, or (b) once the dispute ‘bot gets to it in the queue. No real person actually ever looks at it. If YouTube had to pay real people (even ones in developing nations) to do this work, they’d go broke.

    In my experience, once an uploader files a dispute and the content is restored, it will stay up. Many uploaders don’t bother counterfiling, because a) they don’t know for sure that they are allowed to do what they did; b) the legal wording scares the shit out of them; or c) they know their work is clearly infringing. Or they’re lazy, whatever. But regardless of how many letters you write to YouTube, all you’ll get is the same boilerplate response. If you swear at them, I think their automated system just discards it.

    This is clearly not how the DMCA was meant to work, but given the sheer number of claims, both legitimate and not, it’s simply impractical for humans to do the work. Personally, I think the law should mandate human involvement, since that would ensure that each incident were handled properly (or as much so as possible). It would also have the effect of ignoring the ‘little guys’ who get a few hundred views, while dealing with the egregious offenders who are making money (potentially) from their uploaded content.

    1. WJS says:

      The problem would go away pretty much entirely if youtube were to simply charge a processing fee of as little as 1 US¢ per request. The reason media groups send out these takedowns automatically by the millions is because it costs them nothing whatsoever to do so. A 1¢ processing fee wouldn’t be prohibitive to even the smallest creator with a legitimate claim, but copyright trolls would be put out of business basically overnight.

  24. Ravens Cry says:

    Some of my favorite Pro Apollo Nutters, people who defend the reality of the Apollo moon landings, have similarly been hit by conspiracy theorists who wish to silence them, up to, and not limited to, having their entire account deleted along with dozens of videos.
    Yeah, this is a broken system.

  25. Jattenalle says:

    Actually, it’s not IMG Media UK’s fault. What’s happened is that they’ve protected their videos using Youtube’s own system.
    Of course IMG Media UK owns the videos they’ve done that are on their channel, and those they can protect if they want to.

    The problem is that Youtube’s automatic crawler is a piece of shit, and flags things left and right, without the control or input from IMG Media UK.

    All they’ve done is protect their videos, then the automated Youtube copyright protectron 3000 ™ goes around and scans videos for “simillar” content that might be infringing and flags it.
    This is how videos that have no music or singing in them can be flagged as having copyrighted music and so on.

    Or how videos uploaded by, say, MGM suddenly get taken down due to a copyright claim from… MGM…

    It’s not anything done actively by a person or group, but a flawed, stupid, automated system provided and run by Youtube themselves.

    The law does NOT require Youtube to do this.

    And the reason IMG Media UK does not dispute any counter-claims is because they KNOW of this. Try contacting them directly, they’ll acknowledge the problem without hesitation (Unless something changed in the past 2-3 months)

    So again, not something that was done by IMG Media UK, this is an automated and flawed Youtube thing. Put the blame where it belongs.

    Disclaimer: Of course I could be wrong and IMG Media UK suddenly decided to actively go after people, but you should still try contacting them. If I’m right they can probably add your channel to some “verified” list to avoid future auto-flagging.

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      If so, then why is IMG Media UK involved in so many of these cases, compared to, say, same old MGM or WB or Ubisoft? Why didn’t the crawlers flag this as infringing Ubisoft, in fact, cause of the game?

      Josh already mentioned that there have been problems before with specifically this company – I find it too unlikely that they are the poor good guys who just can’t stop teh eebil spiderz from flagging everything left and right, when a) other companies don’t have this problem, and b) they haven’t done anything (with communication/assistance from youtube) to solve it, at all.

      1. Jabrwock says:

        From what it sounds like, if this is true, then it’s using the “Partner” as the template, and scanning for videos similar to its videos. If they posted anything AC2 related, it would assume (wrongly) that IMG “owns” the video it posted, and flags the similar ones.

        But I’ll reserve judgement until I understand more about the “ContentID” system.

        1. Jattenalle says:

          Exactly, that’s how I’ve understood the system to work.

          Someone makes a “Let’s play”, protects it with Youtubes system, and any video of the same game (or similar frames/audio) gets automatically flagged by the system.

          IMG Media UK just happens to be one of the guys who used the protection system crap. And for that you could claim they’re dumb, but it’s hardly “their fault” that the system flags all kinds of videos. It’s not like they’re manually scouring Youtube to find videos to flag.

          And again, of course I could be wrong and IMG Media UK are baby-eating nazi zombie mutants ;)

          As for why Ubisoft don’t flag videos, Ubisoft don’t make Let’s plays, they don’t care about Youtube videos of a game since their source of income is the sale of the actual game.

          1. Raygereio says:

            I don’t know: from what I can tellI MG Media UK really is a bunch of baby eating nazi zombie bugbears.
            For starters I can’t find any video or content, that IMG Media Uk is supposed to own. Not just for AC2, but anything in general.

            Saying you own content in youtube videos just to get adplacements isn’t anything new by the way. IMG is merely the latest one to get known for this: Viacome for example targetted anything Halo related on youtube a while ago and Sanoma NL, Agora and several other companies have all done it before (and are still doing it).
            They aren’t victims of this poorly designed system. All signs are pointing towards them abusing it.

            1. Jabrwock says:

              They aren't victims of this poorly designed system. All signs are pointing towards them abusing it.

              No surprise there then.

              1. Way off topic, but I’m pleased to see your avatar appears to use the proper Tenniel illustration. Kudos. There is no other jabberwock, IMO.

    2. Jabrwock says:

      Interesting. Makes sense why it’s flagging videos with very few subscribers as well, people you wouldn’t think some Joe at a computer was actively targeting.

      THAT isn’t required by the DMCA. YouTube is doing it to “show” they are being proactive.

      What should happen though, is it should “suggest” similar videos, and make the copyright holder sign off on the takedown.

  26. Melf_Himself says:

    We don’t need a reduction in this sort of behaviour. We need *more* of it. The world is filled with copyright/patent trolling of all sorts. But apparently it hasn’t been enough yet for The Powers That Be to do something about it…. therefore, we must need more and more and more frivolous lawsuits.

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      I don’t see how making the lives of a few let’s players more annoying for a time helps in any way against the utter disregard of IP in, say, China.

  27. Amarsir says:

    The “someone refuses to broadcast my content” = “jail” analogy will weaken your argument every time you use it, Shamus. :/

    1. Shamus says:

      The “All metaphors must be perfect reproductions of the original idea, yet still be easier to understand” position has never seemed terribly reasonable to me.

      1. Amarsir says:

        Well no, any perfect analogy would cease to be an analogy. But metaphors are tools for explaining, not convincing, yet you were using it to argue injustice. And since liberty is a natural right but video hosting is not, it’s too many orders of magnitude away to be a useful comparison.

        One could just as easily compare to needing proof of age before getting served, another imperfect metaphor, but an accepted process. But now we’re quibbling over metaphors and losing the real points, which are A) there are many outrageous claims with no accountability and B) YouTube doesn’t owe you anything.

        1. Alan De Smet says:

          “YouTube doesn't owe you anything.”

          That’s part of the wonder of our new cloud enabled future. It’s free, or at least cheap. It’s pervasive. It’s powerful. You’re encouraged to entrust your entire life to it. Many people do. The network effect makes it increasingly hard to not do so. But, they don’t owe you anything. It is impossible to get them to commit to anything. If your digital life gets lit on fire, well, sucks to be you.

        2. Oleyo says:

          Nothing wrong with a little hyperbole thrown in a metaphor, especially when one is steaming mad. :)

        3. silver Harloe says:

          Anyone who has ever said “it’s my blog, I can moderate comments however I like” has to admit youtube has the same rights to their own servers (until or unless we get a government owned youtube equivalent).

        4. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Actually,youtube does owe you something.That little thing you signed,I mean clicked on,tells you how they have the right to remove videos at any time,but it also tells you how they will look into any copyright claim/counterlaim,which they dont.

          Furthermore,while they dont owe you to have your video there,it doesnt mean they dont need it,since its their way of making money.If people switched to another hosting site,youtube would lose money.

  28. GiantRaven says:

    Could somebody explain who ‘IMG Media UK’ actually are. They don’t appear to have any presence on Youtube/Google searches beyond people complaining about their youtube videos getting removed. This video is already the 5th result upon searching for them.

    So yeah, I’m a little confused as to what they actually do.

    1. Cerapa says:


      This is the only thing they do.

      1. GiantRaven says:

        Oh, ok. Some comments above about videos on their youtube channel had me somewhat confused.

    2. monkeyboy says:

      So they’re the video version of RightHaven?
      Hopefully the same thing happens to these guys.

    3. DaveMc says:

      And a follow-up, if I may: how do they make money out of this? There’s something about ad revenue, but I don’t see how getting videos blocked leads to them collecting money from ads.

      1. WJS says:

        It wasn’t blocked in the US or UK. Anyone who watched the video from there would be sending ad revenue to IMG Media. It was presumably blocked outside the US and UK because the ads were only available in the US and UK, and they (Youtube) didn’t want anyone watching the video without paying in ads.

  29. Dragomok says:

    The most irritating thing about that YouTube system is that there are THOUSANDS of recorded cabaret shows, videos reuploaded without author’s consent from other sites (especially Newgrounds) or other YouTube channels and even whole TV series (sliced in parts).

    And no-one ever does anything about it.

    1. WJS says:

      This isn’t by accident. The only way to get youtube to protect your content is to put it on youtube – how fortuitous for them!

  30. silver Harloe says:

    So basically the problem will persist as long as it’s only little guys getting stepped on. The solution will happen when EA realizes how much ad money they’re losing to other people claiming copyrights to EA’s games, and sues those other people for the $$. Because people don’t matter, only corporate interests get accomplished anymore.

    1. silver Harloe says:

      Speaking of which, I don’t understand how video LPs are even vaguely legal. I thought fair use covered “using minor excerpts of copyrighted work in something wholly original” not “injecting minor excerpts on top of something wholly copied”. I mean, well over 90% of the video content, and probably some 40% of the audio content comes directly from a copyrighted game. I love video LPs, to be sure. They just make me scratch my head and think, “I’m glad the game’s owners aren’t cracking down. I guess they consider it free advertising.”

      1. WJS says:

        No, fair use is not “minor excerpts”.
        Wikipedia: “Examples of fair use in United States copyright law include commentary, search engines, criticism, parody[…]”
        Also see the US Supreme Court, who you will note quote no numbers: Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music:
        From a: “the fair use of a copyrighted work . . . for purposes such as criticism [or] comment . . . is not an infringement . . . ,” i.e. while those who simply upload a screencap might be pushing it, Spoiler Warning and the like who have something to say about a game are very much in the clear.
        From b: “The more transformative the new work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use” It seems fairly obvious that the commentary of Spoiler Warning is extremely transformative – it is entirely unlike playing the game for yourself.
        From e: “the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole are reasonable in relation to the copying’s purpose” i.e. you can copy as much as you need to for your purpose – if your purpose is commenting on a game as a whole, you can show the whole game.
        From f: “As to parody pure and simple, it is unlikely that the work will act as a substitute for the original, since the two works usually serve different market functions” i.e. EA, Ubi, etc. aren’t selling youtube videos. They sell games, and playing a game != watching a video, even if that game is GTA.

  31. Dr Nick Riviera says:

    Dear Shamus,

    Quite apart from the rest of the discussion, I just want to thank you for using “obliges” rather than the increasingly popular “obligates”.

  32. Alex says:

    I suggest a mass-campaign of e-mails, directing all of the animal porn in the world toward IMG Media UK.

    If that fails, locate their corporate headquarters and ready the Poop-Cannon.

  33. WJS says:

    I think it’s ironic (I can’t be sure, given the confusion about the definition of irony) that this comes right after the rants. As much as “Youtube having a monopoly” is a good reason to look for alternatives, crap like this is the real reason you should use blip or whatever. It was SF Debris that sent Shamus on the rant against blip, and SF Debris used to be on Youtube before “Youtube bullshit” became too much and they moved to blip.

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