This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Submitting a copyright Counter-Notification to YouTube

As the webmaster for Joel Weldon and Associates, I was surprised yesterday by a notice from YouTube claiming copyright violation. It was accompanied all the usual nasty threats, such as the potential of my losing my YouTube account, and I even had to answer a bunch of questions about copyright. From what I can tell, it's what will be happening more and more as companies send out dragnets using software that detects something. And YouTube, not wanting to get in the middle of things, immediately takes down the video, along with putting up a notice that it was taken down for copyright violation. And I have to admit that I would have let it go, but that Violation of Copyright notice would stay there permanently on my YouTube channel.

Of course I'm not in copyright violation. I felt kind'a bad wasting my client's time with this, but they went ahead and wrote a letter so that I could vindicate myself. I have to admit to being curious about the whole process. Obviously, it's a good thing, and will make it very difficult for people to post copyrighted stuff that they have stolen onto YouTube.

But if you're in the right, like I am, you get a chance to speak your piece, which is something that I finished up just a few minutes ago. I had to check boxes that I showed that I had read stuff, and be warned again that if I was wasting anyone's time, I could be sued. Copyright is a serious business!

So, if you get a notice of copyright violation from YouTube, and you are genuinely in violation of copyright, then rest assured that once the video is removed, that's all that is going to happen. This is what is known simply as *cease and desist*. They have stopped you, and really, there's no hard feelings. Maybe you really didn't realize that you were in copyright violation. YouTube has a policy of *three strikes* now, so if you're dumb enough to go on stealing copyrighted material, they will give you two more chances, and then close your account.

But, if you're like me, and got a *strike*, then you can submit a Counter-Notification. I made sure to get documentation from my client that they do indeed hold copyright, and have given me their permission to act as their agent. The automatically-generated message that I got after submission said that it would take 10 business days, so I should be patient.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Update August 13th. I got the apology this morning. I have no idea how long it will take YouTube to reinstate the video, and remove the *This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim* on it, but hopefully soon. It really is a black eye for me sitting there on my YouTube channel. And here is an excerpt from the letter:

To Whom It May Concern,

We are in agreement with the counter notification below.  We inadvertently included this video in our copyright sweep.  Joel Weldon is actually the speaker and does hold joint copyright to the material.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Update August 14th, end of day. In spite of the fact that there was an admission of error, the video has not been reinstated by YouTube yet. Now I'm curious as to how long exactly it will take. The lesson here seems to be to be absolutely sure before you accuse someone of copyright violation. If this video had been producing income for me (don't worry, it's not), I would have been wise to find a good lawyer who might have a few words to say about it! Anyway, it's only been a day. I guess, in theory, this could shut down a video for ten working days, as the form said. That could run into a LOT of money. My suggestion is that if you're *running sweeps* to shut down YouTube videos, don't.

Update August 27th. I just got the notice today from YouTube that restored the video. Looks like the video was down for a little over two weeks. I've had time to ponder this, and it seems to be the lesson here is to not do a copyright claim like this unless you are absolutely sure, which this company obviously wasn't. If this had been a video that had been earning income for me, the company that claimed copyright violation (not YouTube) could have been liable for a counter-suit.

Let's be careful out there!