Monday, October 26, 2020

Youtube-dl removal from Github; more on copyright trolls, and the limits of Fair Use (even in a law school video)


First, there is some important copyright news, about the forced removal of Youtube-dl from Github, after legal action by the RIAA, as explained by Parker Higgins on here.

The tool is useful for users who want to keep for private use music or videos that they believe could be taken down.  But in a way, that sounds like having owing a digital copy of a film or music recording without paying for it.  Eventually, tools might be developed to scan cloud backups of personal drives for copies like this.

Nevertheless, I often save pdf’s for “private use” on my own computer, as well as various images that I would not normally have the right to republish without permission.  Some gay publications sell photos (non-porn) from events for home use, it’s not clear whether the sale includes a license to republish as in a blog.  Another related issue is that some news channels (like News2Share) allow embedding, but require licenses for reuse when remixed into other film or video projects (like rebroadcast on regular television channels).

Of course, earlier in my life, I collected music the old-fashioned way, vinyl records and then CD’s, and played them privately at home (from the 1970s to the early 2000’s).  Video started replacing this (in my own habits) in the early 2000’s.

I wanted to reiterate a story from Feb 2019, by Shoshana Wodinsky, on the Verge, about scammer threatening creators with third copyright strikes and extorting “ransom”.  This is essential copyright trolling (a la Righthaven). 

But The Verge itself had been involved in copyright takedowns against other video sites on building PC’s, as reported in Feb. 2019  (Kitguru).  The Verge agreed to cancel the strikes but did not admit Fair Use claims, and there some sort of private settlement of the litigation.

In March 2020, just as the pandemic was starting, the Verge also reported (Adi Robertson) on litigation against NYU Law School for an instructional video on music copyright, for its apparently “non Fair Use” of infringing clips to make its point (and releasing to YouTube.

 Update: Oct 27.  YouTube has sued the RIAA and French has a followup video on his channel explaining. 

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