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YouTube Yanks Free Tibet Video After IOC Pressure 482

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the ioc-is-not-very-nice dept.
RevWaldo writes "The International Olympic Committee filed a copyright infringement claim yesterday against YouTube for hosting video of a Free Tibet protest at the Chinese Consulate in Manhattan Thursday night. The video depicts demonstrators conducting a candlelight vigil and projecting a protest video onto the consulate building; the projection features recent footage of Tibetan monks being arrested and riffs on the Olympic logo of the five interlocking rings, turning them into handcuffs. YouTube dutifully yanked the video, but it can still be seen on Vimeo. (Be advised; there is some brief footage of bloody, injured monks.)"
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YouTube Yanks Free Tibet Video After IOC Pressure

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  • by Art Popp (29075) * on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:19AM (#24569103)

    It wouldn't surprise me if the legal situation at YouTube was that they yank any clip against which there is a properly filed copyright complaint, and that they follow up later on the actual applicability of copyright law.

    I think the telling point as to whether they cave to pressure from the IOC and China will be when their lawyers have a chance to review the footage and determine that there is nothing infringing going on, if they put the video back.

    I'm setting a calendar event to go back and look for it in three days, and am ready to judge the G-folk harshly if they're unwilling to stick up for this obvious expression of free speech.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by penguinstorm (575341)

      My understanding is that's exactly what they do. Read Cringely.

      http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070329_001882.html [pbs.org]

      Anyway, the IOC is a cabal, a Pentavirate and the Olympics have lost all credibility.

      Can't wait till they come to my town in 2010 to screw the whole place up.

      • by AP31R0N (723649)

        Oooh I HATE the Colonel with his wee beady eyes and secret ingredient that makes you crave it fortnightly! /can't get to imdb to get the quote just right :(

      • by Phreakiture (547094) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:59AM (#24569853) Homepage

        Pentavirate

        Pardon the nitpick . . . I don't think that word is right. It appeared in a comedy film as a word-geek riff on secret societies and conspiracy theories. The word itself is wrong (which is the joke) because it is a build-up on triumvirate, latin for "three men". Penta, however, is a Greek prefix for 5. I think you are looking for something more like "quintumvirate".

        I'll shut up now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Z00L00K (682162)

        Considering all the mess that IOC and some national Olympic committees has been involved with I no longer have any interest in the Olympic games.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Ngarrang (1023425)

          I stopped caring about the Olympics when Curling made the cut for official status. Just how many obscure sports can we add to an already overly-burdened event.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Dekortage (697532)

            Chessboxing [slashdot.org] is next, of course.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by advocate_one (662832)
            curling is a traditional winter sport and was in the inaugural winter olympics: snowboarding, freestyle aerials and freestyle moguls are all recent so they should be the ones to be dropped IMNSHO... (basically because I consider them to be stupid where people get marks for ridiculously named stunts...)
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by statusbar (314703)

            For me it was when they not only included beach volleyball but included maximum bikini size for the women playing beach volleyball....

            The Olympics haven't had much to do with athletes for a long time. It is just big business.. Except for the athletes...

            --jeffk++

    • by lee1 (219161) <`lee' `at' `lee-phillips.org'> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:34AM (#24569349) Homepage
      I think the judgment came in a long time ago. For example: http://lee-phillips.org/youtube/ [lee-phillips.org] .

      Google has removed videos critical of the Pakistani government at that government's request, and has many more shameful examples of political cave-in under its belt.

    • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:36AM (#24569393)
      It won't be back up. If it does depict the five interlocking rings as the summary states then the IOC will aggressively attack it as infringing. The IOC does not let five interlocking rings fly, no matter the context. Ever. This will be no different. It has nothing to do with the Tibet/China angel - it's purely about the five interlocking rings. Had the video not had that imagery, I'm certain it'd be fine (from the IOC standpoint, at least).
      • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:49AM (#24569663)
        If I had to guess, I'd say this would be a perfectly acceptable use of the five interlocking rings: parody. IANAL, of course... but if what these guys did isn't protected, it damn well should be. The IOC can go fuck themselves if they don't like it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by RingDev (879105)

          The IOC will throw notices at any and all unlicensed uses of it's trademarks, regardless of legality or the context in which it stands. In the case of trademark protection, it is their safest bet to ensure that their world wide recognized logo does not lose its protections. If they did not go after each and every unlicensed use, it wouldn't take long at all for the logo to become unprotected.

          YouTube, as per their apparent standards, will pull down any video that they get a complaint on, review it, and decid

          • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:04PM (#24569955)

            Mostly true statements. However, this is false:

            . Limiting their liability is something they are legally required to do for their share holders.

            They are required to accurately represent the business to the shareholders. But if they said "Google/YouTube will fight for freedom of speech first, profits second", then they would have to live by that standard. I don't know what the rules on changing the nature of the company are, but stockholder value does not have to be the overriding concern. In fact, in some cases it cannot be (see the Microsoft offer to Yahoo!).

            • by Stooshie (993666) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:49PM (#24570641) Journal

              All companies are required to limit their liability. Shareholders can take managers to court if they willfully reduce the value of the company's shares.

              Keeping copyrighted material on your site, knowing you will be sued and almost certainly lose would surely come under the term willful.

              Saying something like:

              ... [we] will fight for freedom of speech first, profits second ...

              That could also come under the term willful.

              Also, companies can make any statement to their customers they like. They don't have to live by them. Their only nod they make to the customer is via the marketplace and a few trading standards costraints. If the customer stops buying, they change what they are doing.

              a

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by SimonGhent (57578)

            The IOC will throw notices at any and all unlicensed uses of it's trademarks, regardless of legality or the context in which it stands.

            Well, the Guardian's cartoonist Martin Rowson has managed to get away with it in a cartoon attacking China's human rights record.

            http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/cartoon/2008/jul/30/china.human.rights/ [guardian.co.uk]

            I would imagine that pretty much every UK quality paper has published something similar over the past week or so.

        • by nomadic (141991) <.nomadicworld. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:15PM (#24570159) Homepage
          IANAL, of course... but if what these guys did isn't protected, it damn well should be. The IOC can go fuck themselves if they don't like it.

          Well IAAL and it clearly is protected speech, and YouTube should grow a backbone.
      • by tambo (310170) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:00PM (#24569877)
        The IOC does not let five interlocking rings fly, no matter the context. Ever.

        They don't have that right. That's the point of parody [wikipedia.org].

        Jerry Falwell certainly didn't want his image used by Hustler Magazine, but he didn't have the power to stop them [wikipedia.org].

        - David Stein

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by interiot (50685)

          but he didn't have the power to stop them

          There's a LARGE IMPORTANT difference between a takedown notice and arguing a case before court.

          YouTube won't evaluate whether a takedown notice is likely to be legally valid in the long-term... as long as someone says that they swear under penalty of perjury that the takedown notice is valid, then YouTube will comply immediately. YouTube's role is not to judge the eventual legality of takedown notices, nor should it be.

          Once in court, of course, issues get close

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shliddle (1337091)
        First of all, if this were merely about the interlocked rings it would not be a copyright issue, it would be a trademark issue. In that case, the IOC still has no standing because trademark infringement only occurs when a reasonable person would confuse the use of trademark as being represented by the IOC. Even if that were found to be true in this case, they would need to go after the person who made the handcuffs, not to what amounts to be a 4th party. (1st - IOC, 2nd - Protester, 3rd - Videographer, 4
    • by Eil (82413) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:45AM (#24569577) Homepage Journal

      It wouldn't surprise me if the legal situation at YouTube was that they yank any clip against which there is a properly filed copyright complaint, and that they follow up later on the actual applicability of copyright law.

      I work for a web hosting company and thus have some exposure to this type of thing.

      In a nutshell, you're entirely correct. Under the DMCA, providers are required by law to remove the "offending" material upon receipt of an infringement notice. If they don't, they become liable for infringement as well. No real proof of ownership is required, the author of the notice simply has to say it belongs to them. When we receive one of these, all we do is suspend the concerned account, forward the DMCA to the customer, and then our job is done.

      The only thing that makes the DMCA bearable for us is the fact that we're off the hook if our customer decides to unsuspend the account and make the content available again after receiving the notice. From then on, it's a legal battle between the alleged copyright holder and the alleged infringer.

      In this case (depending on how draconian YouTube/Google decides to feel today), the user can simply re-upload the video to YouTube and if the alleged copyright holder wants to battle it further, they have to use the legal system to get subpoenas, court orders, etc for further action. (But of course IANAL, so feel free to poke holes in my understanding of the DMCA here.)

      • by interiot (50685) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @01:41PM (#24571333) Homepage

        Mostly. The "unsuspend their account" is really a counter-notification [cmu.edu], and it works on all websites. The thing that's intended to stop misuse of the DMCA is that takedown notifications and counter-notifications are done under penalty of perjury, and that if the accused believes they're in the right, that the default state before a court hearing is that the content stays up (because of the three steps 1) takedown notice, 2) counter-notice, 3) accuser files a lawsuit, #1 and #2 are very quick, so if it's ultimately headed to #3, the content is only taken offline for the brief time between #1 and #2).

    • by AvitarX (172628) <<gro.derdnuheniwydnarb> <ta> <em>> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:50AM (#24569683) Journal

      Whatever youtube does is hardly the issue.

      Actions like this by the IOC need to hurt (or at least make fear hurt) the sponsors of the events.

      Here is a sample letter I am sending (I will customize it for each business I actually work with, listing what I will now longer be purchasing.

      It is a rough draft, so if you use it, edit it.

      I just wanted to let you know, that as a freedom loving citizen of the world, your sponsorship of the 2008 olympic games, and more importantly, proud display of association with the International Olympic Committee is going to prevent me from using your product until any of the following happens:

      1) Your company issues an official statement condemning the abuses to freedom by the IOC (this includes, but is not limited to claiming copyright infringement on a critical video that used a clearly satirical alteration of their logo, blocking/allowing to be blocked free internet access to international journalists, and allowing people to be kicked out of their homes in tremendously huge quantities).

      2) The IOC behaves better at the next Olympic games.

      3) The IOC officially apologizes for the same reasons mentioned in item one.

      I hope that my voice is one of many (though I fear I am but one of a few) and that your companies inconsiderate pursuite of a new market ends up costing both prophits and shareholders for years to come.

      Woops, almost left my sig that includes my phone number from that email.

    • by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:52AM (#24569701)

      If I understand current US copyright law (DCMA, cough) correctly, the IOC can demand that YouTube yanks the clip now. But at least in theory, they do so under penalty of perjury.

      The person who put it up can file a counterclaim and say that he believes the video does not infringe any copyright. I think fair use might cover this use of the Olympic Rings, and I'd really like to see the EFF getting behind a lawsuit in such a case.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kjella (173770)

        If I understand current US copyright law (DCMA, cough) correctly, the IOC can demand that YouTube yanks the clip now. But at least in theory, they do so under penalty of perjury.

        Yes, but it's got very little to do with perjury. The only thing the IOC states under perjury is that they own the rights to the logo. The claim that the clip in question violates the IOCs copyright is not under perjury, but there's a damages clause for making fraudulent claims. Basic process:

        1. Copyright holder sends C&D
        2. ISP takes down content, forwards to user
        3. User files counternotice
        4. ISP restores content
        5. Copyright holder sues user

  • Was the original video on YouTube from a new station or someone's handicam? I can see copyright infringement from the former, of course (though fair use comes into play -- but I'm not sure fair use exists anymore), but not if it's a personal recording. I'll assume the former.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:21AM (#24569123) Journal

    The video depicts demonstrators conducting a candlelight vigil and projecting a protest video onto the consulate building; the projection features recent footage of Tibetan monks being arrested and riffs on the Olympic logo of the five interlocking rings, turning them into handcuffs.

    People, please! This is the Olympics. The Olympics--let's not bicker and argue about who's been brutally repressing who for hundreds and hundreds of years!

    On a side note, I used to enjoy this band from Minnesota called The Olympic Hopefuls who are now known [mtv.com] as The Hopefuls due to some legal business and the fact that the IOC is full of lawyers. And you're surprised a video criticizing the Olympics is taken down on the internet?

    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      I guess we should all be thankful the *AA lawyers aren't the Legal Athletes that the Olympics have.
    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:23PM (#24570271) Homepage Journal

      Dude the Olympic ideal died a long time ago. It is all about who will make millions selling sneakers.
      Sorry but that is what it has turned into.
      And in this case it is also to show off to the world that China is a new wealthy world power. So yes I feel that it is totally legit to bring up China's political issues.
      Trust me if it was in the US and people wanted to protest by blocking the marathon their would be people on Slashdot screaming about Freedom of Speech.
      As much as I like the Olympics coming to the US maybe they should just make it always in Athens.
      Or maybe they should pick the poorest country with a good history of Human rights and then all the rich nations chip in to build the infrastructure and give that nation a shot in the arm.
      Maybe that would bring back the spirit.

    • by philspear (1142299) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:44PM (#24570575)

      You think that's bad, you haven't talked to Zeus. He's had mount Olympus for years, and the IOC is constantly sending him cease and desist letters.

  • Ah the IOC (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jav1231 (539129) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:21AM (#24569127)
    The IOC is about as protective of its brand as China is. Sad.
  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:23AM (#24569169)
    The IOC has always been one of the most aggressive organizations in protecting their "five rings" copyright. ANYTHING depicting five interlocking rings will get them into action. Thus, this doesn't surprise me - had the video not had the five rings, I suspect the IOC wouldn't have been motivated to action...
  • Yup, videos of Jihadists killing American Soldiers can stay up. Videos recruiting terrorists can stay up.

    Of course videos that are against Jihad MUST be taken down as well.

    Gotta wonder about the people at You-Tube, they really seem to hate freedom.

    • by pembo13 (770295)
      Why not? If the issue at hand is copyright? There is no double standard... not that I agree with all this copyright, but don't make it seem like a double standard. Or are you suggesting that when it's American's being killed, YouTube should have a special policy for that?
    • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:34AM (#24569347)

      Yup, videos of Jihadists killing American Soldiers can stay up. Videos recruiting terrorists can stay up.

      Of course videos that are against Jihad MUST be taken down as well.

      +1 Insightful

      Gotta wonder about the people at You-Tube, they really seem to hate freedom.

      +1 Funny? -1 WTF?

      I just don't know.

    • by mxs (42717) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:35AM (#24569377)

      Yup, videos of Jihadists killing American Soldiers can stay up. Videos recruiting terrorists can stay up.

      Of course videos that are against Jihad MUST be taken down as well.

      Gotta wonder about the people at You-Tube, they really seem to hate freedom.

      Blah Blah Blah. This is not about the people at Youtube, it's about copyright laws and the DMCA. They didn't take these videos down of their own accord (and neither would they take those others down unless they were against the terms of use or there was a legal requirement to).

      The DMCA has long been abused to suppress free speech. Everybody knows it. Nobody cares.

    • by Da Fokka (94074)

      Could you be more specific? Which videos against jihad were taken down? I am going out on a limb and assume that you do realise that the jihad and China's reign over Tibet have nothing to do with each other. A search on the keyword 'jihad' yields many results from many perspectives. Surely there are many video's of afghans and iraqi being torn apart by coalition weapons. So tell me, where do you see this supposed bias?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by RingDev (879105)

      Gotta wonder about the people at You-Tube, they really seem to hate freedom.

      Anyone who claims that another party "hates freedom" based on nothing more than an uninformed opinion deserves to be culled from the heard. It's just idiotic rhetoric that serves no purpose but to instill fear/anger in the minds of those lemmings to dim to realize there are other people in the world besides themselves.

      Right up there with statements like "Obama hates America", "Liberals want higher gas prices", and "Republicans want another terrorist attack". Freaking retarded.

      -Rick

    • Yup, videos of Jihadists killing American Soldiers can stay up. Videos recruiting terrorists can stay up.

      It inflames and "reminds" the american public, particularly the youth. What better way to inspire a 18 year old kid to join the Marines, than to show him a video of a bunch of "towelheads" celebrating blowing up a humvee?

      Also, those clips probably generate a ton of hits from both the fans and the haters, in terms of linkage, and comment activity- and thus ad revenue.

  • by Arccot (1115809) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:25AM (#24569215)
    According to the screenshot, the video was titled "Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony." It's not about censorship, it's about copyright, and was probably automatically removed based just on the title.

    How about accurately titling your video next time? I don't think trying to scam people looking for the opening ceremonies into viewing propaganda for your cause is the best way to get sympathy.
    • by langelgjm (860756) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:47AM (#24569627) Journal

      According to the screenshot, the video was titled "Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony." It's not about censorship, it's about copyright, and was probably automatically removed based just on the title.

      What, does the IOC have copyright on the word "Olympics"?

      I imagine they're objecting to the image of the five colored rings that's shown in the video for a second or two. And if that's the case, this is a total abuse of a copyright infringement claim.

      First, you'd think that showing the rings for a time that's probably less than 2% of the entire clip would qualify as fair use. Secondly, there's an issue of free speech. Are we no longer allowed to identify organizations by their logos?

  • by slobber (685169) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:27AM (#24569241)
    At first I read it as "YouTube Yanks [as in Americans] Free Tibet Video After IOC Pressure". Needless to say, I was really confused until I read the description...
  • Google = YouTube (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Evildonald (983517)
    Whatever happened to "Don't do evil?" With their track record, Google should change their motto to "Don't do evil, except if it involves China".
  • if there are no Five Linked Rings, or the words approximating Old, Limp Pigs used, there is no violation

  • by b4upoo (166390) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:38AM (#24569439)

    The attacks upon monks in Tibet as well as the general lack of human rights in China are a moral abomination that over ride notions of copyright. There is a thing called natural law and every human being has a deep moral obligation to stand up for the oppressed regardless of circumstances.
                If anything America and all other nations should be deeply ashamed of allowing any commerce at all with China including Olympics or other sporting events. Cut the phone lines and to hell with any nation that persecutes people over religion.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:38AM (#24569443) Homepage Journal
    should i yank my own videos on youtube or not ?

    decide, users' wish against chinese government's whish.

    noone should even need to tell you which one you should choose, you idiots. dont let your lawyers run your service. lawyers do not increase popularity of a web service. they decrease it.
  • I'm not making a value judgement here. It is protected much more strongly than most other symbols. Only the Red Cross & Red Crescent have more stringent rules.

    In the UK we have the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995.

    Some countries have signed up to the Nairobi Treaty on the Protection of the Olympic Symbol.

    In the US, you have 36 USC 220506.

  • by Adeptus_Luminati (634274) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:44AM (#24569551)

    Just see how China came up with the logo...

    http://img102.imageshack.us/img102/7229/isnichwahrdepekingolympao6.jpg [imageshack.us]

    Ok, so that's not how they came up with the logo, but it sure highlights their horrendous human rights record and killing of 1 Million Tibetans in the past ~50 years.

  • Protected Satire (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @11:45AM (#24569585)
    Changing the Olympic logo into handcuffs, while certainly offensive to some, is clearly protected political satire akin to flag burning. YouTube should be ashamed, and the posters of the video should counter-file that their video is protected fair use.
  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:12PM (#24570089)
    http://gothamist.com/2008/08/11/youtube_bows_to_olympic_committee_p.php [gothamist.com]

    Just to give credit where it is due. (Gothamist is cited in the Firehose.)

    Cheers!
  • by florescent_beige (608235) on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:56PM (#24570747) Journal
    In 1976 my brother and I literally camped in front of the TV for two weeks to watch the Montreal Olympics. It was the most exciting thing I'd ever seen (and I wanted to marry Nadia Comaneci).

    Thirty years later I'll admit maybe I've changed more than the Olympics but I can't get into it anymore. It's a forum for political wankery and sports personality market development. Other countries are allowed in for no other reason than to give the US and the other big countries someone to beat. That may seem unkind, but it's the inevitable consequence of the focus on nationalism at the games. Some people say there should be no national identification at the games, and while it'll never happen, it would be better.

    The games seem to me now on par with the Academy Awards, an exercise in marketing and self-promotion for political units and soon-to-be millionaire sports personalities. The big countries that host the games brought the concept of self promotion to the games, which inevitably leads to politics which inevitably leads to protests. They brought this on themselves.

    Free Tibet!
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Tuesday August 12, 2008 @12:57PM (#24570755) Homepage

    I was young, but I remember West boycotting the 1980 Olympics in the USSR — Russia's suppression of democracy in Czechoslovakia (military [wikipedia.org]), Hungary (military [wikipedia.org]), and Poland (political [wikipedia.org]) were still fresh, as was the USSR's decision to, once again, prohibit its citizens a move to another country [wikipedia.org].. I could not really understand things then, but I'm disgusted, that the rest of "the Western Civilization" has deteriorated over the years down to the levels of the IOC...

    Oh, and the 2014 Winter Olympics will be in Sochi — only a few miles away from Georgia. Is not Putin the coolest [time.com]? He sure is, and now he is hot too...

    Commence the "troll" moderations, and "insightful" responses on how the US is just as bad...

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