Several weeks ago, I noted that I postponed my planned post in order to accommodate something that was delayed but would be coming out soon. This something is Pokemon the Abridged Series. It finally went Internet live today. Then it got taken down from Youtube for copyright infringement.
I have a question. Is Youtube’s official policy that they don’t allow any copyrighted material on the site unless it’s by the copyright holder; fair use be damned? Is Youtube so scared of getting sued for hosting copyrighted material that they’ll bend to ANY claim not even looking to see if the claim is justified? (Actually, on second thought, those two things are practically the same.) Does Youtube not think that not-for-profit parody falls under fair use?
If Youtube is paranoid and just wants to cover all it’s bases since it does, after all, let videos go live before any sort of moderation process; they’re doing a crappy job. I can find so many shows and such on there, VERY clearly copyrighted material that does not fall under fair use. (note: I shall pass no judgement on whether such videos should remain on the site or not) However, Youtube does not do this, they hold the copyright holder responsible for issuing take-down orders of any copyrighted material.
If Youtube is just the copyright holder’s metaphorical bitch and bends to every whim of said entity, that makes more sense. I can understand Youtube not wanting to deal with inevitable lawsuits that would ensue if they took a stand and said no. It’s happened before (Viacom sued Youtube). I won’t get into the court case (not that I know much about it to talk about, plus it’s ongoing).
Ok. So Youtube takes down videos when the copyright holder issues a take-down order. Does it check the order? Nope. And it turns out that the copyright holder is obligated to do so. So the copyright holder must check to make sure that the video they’re ordering taken down does not fall under fair use.
That brings us back to Pokemon: The Abridged Series. It is a parody. It does not detract commercially from the actual Pokemon show because it is quite different from the actual show. These abridged series aren’t kidding when they put up their “this falls under fair use” disclaimers. Yet Youtube keeps shooting many of them down (Pokemon got taken down in less than an hour…at 4 AM) My conclusion. We’ve got Nazis prowling the web. Beware.