Bogus copyright claims analysed
London-UK, Sunday 20 December 2009: Almost all video web sites, including Google YouTube, and almost all legitimate copyright owners benefit from free promotions, whenever copyright is cited, to increase their web site traffic. Copyright fair use (reviews, comment, rate, vote, news report) also drive site visitors.
However, dealing with fake, bogus, dubious and fraudulent Google YouTube copyright claimants has become a full time job for several people, costing serious time and money only to discover the covert claimants breach privacy. Bogus claimants have no plausible legal case to verify their copyright ownership. They fail to prove their claims with irrefutable evidence beyond any reasonable doubt, adding insult to “you remain guilty until proven innocent” injury.
Some claimants are tied to snoopy intelligence agencies. Some are tied to covert credit ratings agencies. Some claimants are merely jealous. Most of them are phishing for personal information, breaching privacy without disclosing their own traceable and verifiable details. All video websites, including Google YouTube and covert copyright claimants, also breach statutory rights, freedom of expression, and stifle free market competition. They aid, protect and defend the criminals around the world. Their bans sacrifice human rights for their corporate financial interests, knowingly participating in fraudulent criminal scams and thus becoming an active party to any legal action that may ensue. They risk getting sued for punitive damages. When, if ever, identified, the criminal fraudsters and parasites will be named, shamed and SUED, big time.
Takedown spammers or fake claimants file copyright on hundreds of videos based on the title, keywords and description of videos that they google, yahoo or bing. All video web sites actively help and enable fake or politically motivated copyright claimants, Internet stalkers, child-abusers and cyber-criminals to abuse their subscribers or users, including females, under-age and vulnerable old. The unsuspecting subscribers and users are forced to waste considerable and needless time and money to defend the fraudulent claims; make the sites lift blanket bans; restore and reactivate suspended accounts. The wasted time and money only adds injury to “you remain guilty until proven innocent”.
All video web sites, subscribers and users must remember that filing a fraudulent copyright claim is a crime, but laws don’t deter criminals. All video web sites must be required to report fraudulent copyright infringement notices so their subscribers or users remain protected from disclosing their personal information to the criminals.
Unfortunately, the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) allows a content owner to issue a subpoena for the identity of an alleged infringer without first filing an actual lawsuit. Back in 2007, a 15 year old from Perth, Australia, sent a signed form to YouTube pretending to be from the Australian Broadcasting Co. The form ordered the takedown of hundreds of ABC video clips. Google YouTube terminated hundreds of subscribers without investigating the bogus copyright claim. Such repeated failures remain unacceptable. Even today many people order Google YouTube to takedown videos without any consequences for the fraudulent copyright claimants, their active accessories, financial beneficiaries or partners in the crimes.
Clearly, there a need to amend the flawed copyright (DMCA USA, and Digital Economy Bill, UK) laws in order to criminalise fake or fraudulent copyright claimants for the deception and the damages they cause; make all video web sites reassess their terms of service and policies that impose blanket bans, help claimants breach privacy, strangle freedom of speech and stifle free market competition, and enable video web site subscribers or users to sue false claimants for tangible, meaningful and punitive damages. The criminals must be prosecuted, named, shamed, jailed and fined. It is time for “criminal penalties for ‘copyfraud’ and non payment of artists, and writers. Lets also throw in open accounting standards for copyright holders,” according to Hephaestus on techdirt.
Why there are no severe legal consequences for Google YouTube and the unknown third parties or claimants for filing a fraudulent DMCA notice?
S P Syed, http://www.youtube.com/spsyed, for example, is set to seek punitive compensation for (defamation, libel, tort) damaging his reputation repeatedly to deter the fraudsters and the criminals. Spsyed invested more than £200,000 (US $330,000) in diligent research portfolio for more than 400 video clips on Google YouTube. His research takes many weeks or even months to put together. His researched clips made him popular, ranking in top-100 on 17 July 2009 Google charts before Google imposed a blanket ban on the undisputed 400 clips for five months to Monday 14 December 2009.
Google YouTube also violated his right to free speech, enshrined in the US’ First Amendment. The move would cost Google YouTube and the bogus claimants tens of millions of dollars in the courts, including the US Federal District Courts and libel rulings in British courts. That would cause intense investor unease on top stock markets around the world.
Google YouTube blanket bans are really about shutting up critics who have exposed serious human rights violations and abuses against minorities in countries like India. No American court would have entertained such overt censorships and blatant blanket bans.
Google YouTube’s audio-visual copyright “content ID” fingerprint enables fraudulent copycat criminals to obtain uncontested copyright ownership over someone else’s video clips and advertising revenue they generate as the ad revenues are split between the claimants and Google YouTube. It seems the fingerprint “asset” software has turned into a liability for Google for the financial benefit of the parties and partners. That is a large revenue stream for the bogus claimants as well as Google YouTube.
The bogus copyright claimants remain untraceable and unknown. They don’t exist! So, one can’t prosecute and sue them for their crimes, fraud or even perjury. The criminals are defended and protected by Google YouTube, and they demand removal of the material that they deem damaging to India’s fake “democratic, secular” public relations image at home and abroad. Google fails to investigate the bogus claims and complies with the disguised gag orders, citing the US DMCA laws.
Moreover, all video web sites, including Google give the accuser the benefit of the doubt without having to provide a shred of irrefutable evidence that the accuser legally holds the copyright. All video web sites’ “terms of service” and DMCA puts way too much power in the hands of the criminals around the world. Google and the accuser force the accused to provide personal information to the accuser, while the accused find out nothing about the accuser other than untraceable “business” name without postal address, telephone/fax numbers, website and email address. What have they got to hide?
Bogus copyright criminals also abuse DMCA notice as “phishing” technique on adults, under-age, females and pensioners. In addition to getting personal details, the criminals file three or more false claims without any irrefutable evidence, and immediately get Google to impose blanket ban, have any account suspended or terminated. The claimants do not have to prove legal copyright ownership. How, why is that even legitimate, and fair?
Moreover, the criminals are also using this as a means to spread viruses, panic people into opening attachments they should never open from anyone they don’t know and trust.
The unilateral Google YouTube blanket bans have become an absolute scandal. The most sinister thing of all is that – by definition – people don’t know what it is they aren’t being allowed to know by the global brands, and the protected criminals.
There is an obvious automated step that Google YouTube must be forced legally to take to stop these bogus claims immediately. All persons/companies wishing to file copyright infringement claims should be required to register, and have their addresses and copyrights, trademarks and patents verified. Google Ads has a system whereby a PIN number is sent to the registrant’s address for verification. This would certainly make individuals and companies, including all video websites, think twice before filing false claims, because they become vulnerable to legal actions and to serve any DMCA counter-notifications and other legal papers. Until then it remains too easy for criminals to get Google YouTube, Yahoo, and Bing content taken down.
The fullest examination is vital of those raising copyright and ad money fraudulently. It is time to examine the flow of money towards extremist (such as Indian or Hindu organisations) and terrorism who preach the ideology of hate against Indian minorities, such as Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Muslims.
Spsyed, for example, gave more than adequate time to Google YouTube to help them avoid the issue going before to the judges but Google ignored his repeated pleas to route out the bogus copyright claimants. Google YouTube failed to stop the cyber criminals who try or get a free ride on the back of someone else’s intellectual property, copyrights, trademarks and patents.
There are global financial and political interests and connections that are obviously of great interest to investigative journalists and others who demand accurate and rigorous investigation and reporting. That is in public interest.
There are costly and time consuming legal procedures to help deter unknown, unidentified, untraceable, fraudulent, fake and dubious copyright claimants. The claimants also use the web sites to impose blanket ban, strangle free speech, and stifle free market competition.
Google YouTube and its subscribers or users should contact the author when they are ready to probe the fraudulent, bogus, fake copyright criminals, and nullify or quash their dubious claims.