Giant copyright troll alert: Viacom uploaded videos to YouTube for years

, posted: 19-Mar-2010 16:28

Mr Editor Bossman at Computerworld NZ, The Roboneill, sent a link to the official YouTube blog with a rather interesting entry by Zahavah Levine, the video hoster's chief legal counsel. Have a read of it all, but the bit quoted below sticks out:

For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there.

It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately "roughed up" the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko's to upload clips from computers that couldn't be traced to Viacom.

And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users.

Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt "very strongly" that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

Despite that, Viacom continues to insist that YouTube didn't do enough to keep copyrighted material off its site. That by itself is a bizarre notion, because as Levine says, with very few exceptions, all material on YouTube is copyrighted the moment it's created.

The above shows that there needs to be some safeguards against copyright abuse by rights holders - probably more so than against "pirates" in fact.

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