Terminated with Extreme Prejudice

This post is part of an inadvertent series of posts about my attempts to fight various media companies claims of copyright infringement on my uploaded YouTube clips. You can see part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, and part 4 here for context.

I thought I was making a little bit of headway with my YouTube battle, but it seems that I was sorely mistaken. This morning I got two claims against by account from Studio Canal and Fox for an Escape from New York clip and a Grapes of Wrath clip respectively. I can’t say I am too surprised that Google would shut down my account, and I didn’t backup many of those videos but I’m not overly concerned about that. Much of this stuff is ephemera from me, and there are other means to get clips from films and upload them to the web. What’s more, I didn’t have too much truly personal stuff (family videos, etc) up on YouTube, much of it was an archive for my thinking through this blog, and I’m pretty sure I can reproduce most, if not all, of what I uploaded. The real issue for me is the lack of any real due process. The three strikes you’re out mentality to the copyright game we’re playing online with our culture is extremely draconian and seems designed to end sharing as we know it. Check out the last two emails I just got:

And a couple of hours latter I get this, 3 strikes buddy, you are out!

I won’t claim to be an innocent victim, or pretend that I had no idea this was coming. I very much understood what I was doing, and I also wanted to push back on these constant threats from media companies delivered regularly by Google to my email address to see what kind of negotiations were possible. What I found was even after losing my account there’s been absolutely no transparency to the process. The corporations making the claims are entirely in the position of power. They decide what’s fair use or not, and they decide what constitutes a violation or not. Google plays the role of an errand boy sent by various media company grocery clerks to collect a bill—-and what’s odd about that equation is that they are the biggest media company of them all. It’s been a decade-long, coma-like love affair with Google as gateway to our memories, ideas, and creations, but at the end of the day they are just as invested  and complicit in barring the general public from any means of creation and expression when it comes to the minefield of digital media and copyright in the 21st century as any other media company out there. Evil will be done 😉

Here is what I see now when I go to what was my YouTube account:

I love that last bullet point, it kind of says it all: “Terminate an account, at any time, for any reason, with or without notice.” Is this who we are giving all of our data over to? And while they terminated my account for a reason, it’s my theory that the fact has not created within Google (or any other company that controls your data) any sense of obligation. On the contrary, they reserve the right to do whatever they want whenever they want. Scary.

I thought I would feel a bit more gutted and enraged at the idea of losing my YouTube account, but in the end it’s liberating. Fuck the arbitrary arbiters of copyright, they’re no friend of freedom! The bava will abide.

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13 Responses to Terminated with Extreme Prejudice

  1. Jim would you consider making a video response to YouTube’s terminating your account? I would publish it, and I bet a number of others would. Let’s keep the conversation going with a little collective action.

  2. Jim Groom says:

    Michael,

    Maybe at some point in the future, but right now I am just trying to pick up the pieces of my fractured digital life 😉

  3. Ben says:

    That’s really harsh. Sort of like the kid on the playground that’s telling funny jokes that sometimes “cross the line”, and receiving the second and third strike before you even get your punchline out.

    Maybe you should start work on GroomTube, a new video sharing service for all the other Jim Groom’s out on the world.

  4. Jim Groom says:

    Ben,

    Did I step over the sharing line again? Dammit! Thing is, I was tried and sentenced without a jury, and the assumption of guilt is mediated through corporations without heed to the context. That is a truly horrifying prospect for the future of sharing, and freedoms more generally.

  5. *cough*RECLAIM*ahem*

    • Reverend says:

      D’ArcyIToldYouSoNorman, just waiting for BooneWeWarnedYouGorges to head over 😉 You couldn’t be more right, but at the same time Reclaim might have guaranteed I keep this stuff on my own site a bit longer, but with pressures deep enough would a hosting service or ISP begin to tag me? I guess the bigger issue for me is how we are increasingly in an environment wherein the corporations are controlling the conversation. And perhaps Mike Caulfield is right we need to be more overtly political and make it an issue for the representatives, but at the same time what we have done is criminalized sharing and are about to litigate how we interact and process our own culture, I can’t say that road is any more exciting to me. To be honest with you, I am a bit confounded.

  6. It may not have completely prevented it, but it’s clear that sites like youtube are in bed with the media companies, and have automated processes for nuking what is claimed to be infringing material. Hosting your own stuff wouldn’t necessarily have prevented a takedown request (do Viacom and friends have automated scanners for non-Youtube-hosted video?), but a good ISP would have at least asked you to take down the potentially-infringing content without nuking everything based on an automated request from a legal firm representing a media conglomerate…

  7. might I suggest Vimeo?????

  8. and might I suggest you allow the use of ? as in

  9. Reverend says:

    @Peter,
    That animated GIF is brilliant, I am keep that one, and Vimeo raises the same questions, ultimately. They are safer now, but how long can that last?

    @D’Arcy,
    That point is well taken, and part of my banishment is also a banishment from the YouTUbe community, I can no longer leave comments on YouTUbe videos, which is an interesting other side to this. Seems like project reclaim is the only viable space for my future videos—the automated process is really the nightmare here. I’m pretty cure not one human being really looked at the implications for this, it was like a web-based touch-tone phone labyrinth.

  10. Benjamin says:

    Why not use Internet Archive instead?

  11. Pingback: Is There No Sanctuary? | mbransons

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