Viacom Ignores Promise: Sends Bogus Takedowns To YouTube: “You may recall that back before it sued YouTube, Viacom sent the company 100,000 takedown notices, many of which turned out not to violate Viacom’s copyrights. At first, Viacom tried to brush it off as totally innocent collateral damage, but after the EFF filed a lawsuit pointing out that false positives violate the part of the DMCA where each takedown must swear that the sender is the legitimate copyright holder, Viacom not only backed down, but promised to be much more careful with its takedowns. Specifically, it promised to actually review each video before sending a takedown.
However, it now appears that Viacom may not be living up to that promise. Consumerist notes that Viacom has taken down an independent filmmakers’ movie to which it has no copyright claims whatsoever. The animation in question was the woman’s senior project, and was not a Viacom property at all.
The video remains up for now, but Viacom now gets access to all the viewership stats on a video property it has no rights over, and the filmmaker, Joanna Davidovich, is rightfully worried that the movie is going to get taken down by a big media company who has no right to it at all.
Update: Viacom has now apologized and admitted its mistake, claiming that the video had been included in a Viacom film festival, and Viacom didn’t realize that they did not retain the copyrights to the material. While the filmmaker in question is satisfied with this result, it’s still quite questionable. Viacom still filed a false takedown notice after specifically promising that it would not. Filing false takedowns, even done with good intentions is still a violation of the DMCA and can be quite chilling to content creators.