The Takedown Process is Broken. One Example: Vampires
The Takedown Process is Broken. One Example: Vampires
The Takedown Process is Broken. One Example: Vampires

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    Vampires and vampire slayers, specifically Edward and Buffy,
    can be found at the center of a fair use fight that encapsulates so much of
    what is wrong with the DMCA takedown process.

    Three years ago, blogger and “pop culture hacker” Jonathan
    McIntosh uploaded to YouTube his mash-up video Edward v. Buffy, a
    social commentary that excerpts clips from both Twilight and Buffy the Vampire
    Slayer.  Because his video uses clips to
    create a completely new work that stands on its own, it is protected by
    copyright and is legally “fair use”.

    At least that’s what McIntosh thought until this fall when
    Lionsgate Entertainment issued a series of aggressive takedown notices, pulling
    his popular video off YouTube and sending him into a legal battle that is still
    ongoing 3 months later. Read McIntosh’s highly informed blog about the process here.

    McIntosh’s vampire video is a case to focus on for a few
    reasons. First, his video is undisputedly protected as fair use; in fact, this
    summer the US Copyright Office explicitly cited it as an example
    (large pdf., quote on pg. 133) of a proper exemption from DMCA takedowns
    precisely because of its status as fair use material. Second, it highlights the
    leniency with which copyright law handles bogus takedown notices; Lionsgate has
    repeatedly removed McIntosh’s fair use protected video apparently without fear
    of legal penalty. Finally, it shows the detrimentally slow pace at which DMCA
    takedowns are processed.

    Lately, quite a few people have suggested that flaws in section
    512 of US copyright law need improvement, including Senator Ron Wyden in a speech
    at CES yesterday. Here is what Public Knowledge proposes to fix some of the
    issues with the takedown process.

    Penalize bogus
    Someone who intentionally issues a takedown notice for material
    that isn’t actually infringing can be made to pay fees, but PK believes that
    these penalties aren’t acting as strong enough deterrents for those disregarding
    the law. We need to broaden the range of misrepresentations that merit
    discipline. We also need to extend the penalties to actual damages, including
    statutory damages that a judge can increase if the misrepresentation was

    Restore removed
    content promptly.
    Currently, when a host service like YouTube is asked to
    restore a disputed video back to the site, they must wait 10 days before
    replacing it. For time sensitive issues, particularly of political or
    newsworthy nature, 10 days is too long to wait. 
    PK proposes that this wait time be eliminated so that content can be
    restored expeditiously.

    For more on curbing abuses of copyright takedowns see PK’s Internet