YouTube Pulls First 'Scene Gems' Video--More Pulling on the Way?

Today was a first for me. I opened up my email box and was greeted by the ominous 'Video Removed: Copyright Infringement' from our friends at YouTube. This was one of my 'Scene Gems' clips that I have uploaded to show off cool clips from films that are not usually highlighted. Every clip has a link to this blog to further expound on why the clip has merit. I don't make any money, I don't alter the content, and I offer it up for comment. I thought this obviously fell under fair use, but I guess not.

Now, if you click on the clip (found here), you get an ominous red message that "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Paramount Pictures Corp." I've seen messages like this before, where the Orwellian corporation is specifically named as the wielder of the iron hand.

I had heard of crazy-popular clips being banned, but didn't think any of mine had enough traffic to warrant attention. Paramount must be on the warpath, since that clip (from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) probably had less than a thousand views, while my clips from Gattaca and Aliens have over five thousand views and remain unmolested.

Something else I noticed today was a post from Usertainment Watch about a very interesting article in Esquire. That magazine feature showcases a guy named Bob Tur, who covered the L.A. riots after the Rodney King verdict. He was the helicopter pilot that captured the violence in the streets (such as the Reginald Denny attack) that would play on news stations nationwide and later find its way to YouTube, whom Tur is currently suing along with Viacom for copyright infringement.

The title 'The Man Who Could Kill YouTube' is pretty presumptuous (online video isn't going away anytime soon), but it is a compelling read. As the law gets sorted and sifted and things finally settle, we will definitely see a changed landscape to what we have now. The Wild West of the past was finally tamed, and it's only logical to assume that the Wild West of the present will follow suit.


Anonymous said…
Remember that "fair use" is not an inalienable right, but rather a legal defense against overzealous legal action. It is the copyright owner's right to defend their rights in any manner they see fit.

In some ways, it is their obligation to defend their copyright. If they don't show a vigorous defense of their rights, then they risk LOSING those rights.

Unfortunately your use probably falls into a fair use category, but because you choose to use YouTube as a vehicle, you wound up in the middle of a fight that is going to help define the future of copyright. If you hosted the clips yourself, while you might get a "cease and desist" letter, you could take that and your "fair use" argument to court and probably win. because of YouTube's massive history of copyright infringement, you're basically s.o.l. YouTube is trying to clean up their act before they get sued out of existence (remember the original Napster?).

My $.02!
Scott Eggleston said…
Yeah, you're probably right. I like the 'Scene Gems' idea, but will mostly likely stop doing it to avoid any further hassle. It has brought some decent traffic to this blog, which I will now miss out on.

Oh well, I guess I have to be more creative and come up with something original!
I'd hate to see you lose the Scene Gems feature. Maybe you could try one of the other video hosting services. I've heard Viacom (or one of those big conglomerates) pays a lot of money to a company to police YouTube. But I'm not sure they pay much attention to the other sites.

It's too bad, because things like "Scene Gems" really bring attention to a lot of movies that could be overlooked or forgotten.
Scott Eggleston said…
You may have something there, Chris. I've used Vimeo a couple of times and liked it (the player is nice), but stayed with the 'Tube because it always nabs traffic. Switching sites may lose some eyes, but it's the principle of the thing...