Copyright vultures strangle freedom, competition – by Parveez Syed (c) 17 July 2009


Copyright laws are being abused by some large vultures to strangle freedom and stifle competition. The vultures ignore the legal significance of the doctrine of fair use, for creators, commerce, consumers and the soaring global social networks for over one billion people around the world. The 1976 US Copyright law permits a wide range of uses of copyrighted material without permission or payment. But many provisions of the law are being abused by many Internet platforms based in the USA and around the world. The ignorant mindset from India, for example, stifle, strangle and deny freedom of speech, critical thinking and comments.


“Fair use” is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment when the cultural or social benefits of the use are predominant(as on popular video-sharing and social networking websites, such as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook, etc) even in situations where the law provides no specific authorisation for the use in question, such as the media literacy education providing specific, researched and additional information related to the content and topics in audio-visual and textual formats, and thus adding value to build knowledge, critical thinking and communication skills.


The additional information or knowledge cultivates and enables critical thinking and expression about media content and its glocal social and global networking roles in anyone country, across the frontiers and around the world. The common collective benefits to six billion people outweighs almost any other financial consideration or commercial factors. Moreover, such discussions with fair use of popular culture content do not deprive the copyright owners of revenue, and would increase the marketability of the original content far and wide. However, the evidence is removed or deleted within hours by YouTube-Google to please Indian vultures, thereby denying the rights of over two billion people living in south-east Asia, central Asia, the Middle East, USA, UK, EU, Canada, Australia, thus strangling freedom of speech and critical thinking by unnecessary, needless and even baseless copyright restrictions on fair business practices.


It just takes one copyright vulture to panic YouTube Google to impose blanket banconsumer account that frequently contains content from other major content providers-advertisers. Every eye ball represents free residual content promotion, particularly with related additional information, descriptions and tags. But the blanket YouTube Google bans deprive other copyright ownersof sales and marketing platforms, free promotion and profits as non-infringing content is also removed by YouTube Google. In one recent case one unknown and unidentified copyright claimant alleged infringement on three out of some 400 items, and panicked YouTube Google to impose blanket ban on the remaining 397 items. That means over 99% of the items were deemed to have been uploaded or added under fair use provisions of the law. However, unilateral Google bans deprived much larger advertisers such as iTunes, and 80 other content providers such as the official Michael Jackson websites, Sony Music, iTunes, Yash Raj Films, Eros, Shemaroo and Rajshri who were happy with “advertising banner” on their items. This blanket ban was imposed on a top 20 YouTube Google channel that became very popular within three months of its launch to reach the rank worldwide. In this case, for example, the reason of its rapid popularity was its rare ability to add researched value to each content on its channel. The blanket ban also deprived established and new content creaters who remain less greedy and who welcome competition even from  greedy copyright vultures.


YouTube Google also refused to identify the copyright claimants who allege copyright violations or infringements. YouTube Google users diligently try to identify and locate the real copyright owner but were stonewalled by YT-Google copyright, legal and support teams. By refusing to provide complete legal discovery information unconditionally, YouTube Google is in breach of the legal provisions of the copyright laws in the USA where the global company is based.


The material remains in the public domain, frequently without additional information and descriptions, and in this particular case, the three items are still available from over 800 links on YouTube and Google video alone. In this case, the unknown copyright holder seems to single out some YouTube Google users in order to stifle competition, strangle freedom of speech and critical comments about Indian copycats; plight of Indian women(as in film Lajja), and the people displaced or made homeless by a dam project in Gujarat, subverted justice, human rights for the second, third or even fourth class Indian nationals, untouchable sects, lack of democracy in India, inadequate compensation for the creators such as lyricists, story writers, musicians and singers as well as lack of women’s rights. Ironically, Bollywood film makers and music composers frequently rip off, plagiarise violate, infringe and abuse copyrights of many American and European writers as well as lyricists, musicians, popular and cultured melody makers from Pakistan, frequently with citation or without giving due credit to the original sources.


In the final analysis: Instead of imposing unilateral blanket, it is possible for YouTube Google to remove each disputed items until the issues are resolved. Right from the outset (05 April 2009) on YouTube Google, for example, my goal is to empower people to discuss the issues in the media content, providing new or other uses for the original work, reaching more audience far and wide with additional informational content, descriptions and tags. Most viewers prefer the truly creative efforts of individuals who provide additional information or knowledge with the entertaining or educational content. As a result, the channel rapidly became popular, reaching thousands of viewers every day, consistently ranking around top 20 worldwide in less than sixty days from the outset and banned by YouTube Google on Thursday 16 July 2009. Clearly, there is a need to make YouTube Google find democratic and viable solutions in a free market economy for healthy and fair competition. That would also expose copyright vultures who are smart enough to infringe or copy other people’s copyrights and then use their copies to stifle competition, strangle and freedom of speech, democracy and human rights by curtailing critical thinking and comments. It goes without saying that under Section 512(f), YouTube Google along with some major copyright vultures, knowingly or materially misrepresents copyright allegations or activity is infringing may be subject to liability for damages. It has always been the responsibility of the copyright holder to defend their copyright. Basically, they and YouTube Google wants additional information uploaders to do copyright vulture’s job.

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