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YouTube Blocking Legal Channels Ahead Of June 20 EU Copyright Vote

Blender Foundation channel blocked on YouTube

One of the largest French political parties, the National Rally (former National Front), had its video channel taken down by YouTube’s algorithms for alleged copyright violations. Prior to this incident, the National Rally party had pledged support for Article 13 of the proposed copyright directive reform, on which an EU Parliament committee will vote this Wednesday. Article 13 mandates that all online platforms implement similar copyright filters.

Additionally, YouTube has also blocked MIT’s OpenCourseWare channel, as well as the channel of the nonprofit Blender Foundation.

National Rally’s Channel Is Taken Down

On June 14, YouTube’s automatic copyright filter took down National Rally’s YouTube channel, “TVLibertés,” for  “copyright infringement.” Marine Le Pen, the party’s leader, called the takedown “arbitrary, political, and unilateral” in an interview with the French Europe1. He added that:

“This measure is completely false; we can easily assert a right of quotation [to illustrate why the material was well within the law to broadcast]."

Le Pen makes a good, but ultimately irrelevant, point. The issue with automatic takedown systems for copyrighted content is that the filter doesn’t and can’t tell when the copyrighted content was used in a “lawful manner.” If it finds a digital signature that it recognizes as being copyrighted content, then it automatically takes that content down.

YouTube’s “ContentID” system has long been criticized as going above and beyond what most copyright laws require and for not respecting people’s fair use rights. Fair use laws basically give some exceptions for using copyrighted material such as for educational or scientific purposes, or when the new work is transformative and can't be mistaken for the original.

However, YouTube’s ContentID, which is considered to be among the most advanced copyrighted content filters, doesn’t take those exceptions into account, and chances are that neither will the “upload filters” that will be mandated by the new EU copyright reform.

MIT, Blender Foundation Channels Taken Down

Over the past several days, other YouTube channels have been taken down by YouTube’s algorithms, despite the fact that these channels appear to be legal at first glance. The MIT OpenCourseWare team said that they’re are trying to get to the bottom of this issue and told their followers on Twitter to “stand by.”

The Blender Foundation, which develops the open source 3D content creation tool “Blender,” also had its videos blocked. Ton Roosendaal, Chairman of the Blender Foundation, said he contacted YouTube about this on Saturday but hasn’t gotten a proper response yet.

Other verified YouTube accounts, such as India’s Press Information Bureau, soccer club Sparta Praha, and England Rugby were also blocked. YouTube hasn’t yet made a statement about what could be causing these seemingly erroneous takedowns. The channels show the message that usually appears only when the content has been restricted to certain countries, except it's now appearing for everyone.

The new EU copyright directive has been criticized by activists and politicians alike over two articles. Article 11 proposes that websites pay a “link tax” when they link to publishers’ news stores. Article 13, which mandates that all online platforms come with an “upload filter” that filter copyrighted content as soon as people attempt to put it online.

Article 13, in particular, could cause many wrongful takedowns of legal content, especially considering that most websites will not have access to the same amount of investment and human resources as YouTube’s imperfect ContentID system did.

As Le Pen said, such systems could make “arbitrary” decisions to take down political content on a daily basis, and most people likely wouldn’t even be aware of it unless each event would be turned into a media scandal. Despite this potential abuse or even just erroneous takedowns, the French National Rally party had already decided that it’s going to vote for the EU copyright directive and Article 13 on Wednesday, June 20.

If you're an EU citizen and would like to make your voice heard about this issue, Mozilla and and other groups have published tools to make it easy to contact your Members of the European Parliament ahead of the June 20 vote.

  • TCG-CT
    LePen is female...
    Reply
  • YouTube leadership is a total joke and needs to be wiped out and replaced. They cannot go a month without another major screw up in the news. Their policies are inconsistent, their automated tools are inaccurate, and their human reviewers are incredibly biased and outright political activists trying to social engineer society with the site.

    Why is the CEO of YouTube still in place? What does she bring to make up for these numerous scandals and failures?
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    21068343 said:
    YouTube leadership is a total joke and needs to be wiped out and replaced. They cannot go a month without another major screw up in the news. Their policies are inconsistent, their automated tools are inaccurate, and their human reviewers are incredibly biased and outright political activists trying to social engineer society with the site.

    Why is the CEO of YouTube still in place? What does she bring to make up for these numerous scandals and failures?
    I'm no fan of Google but in this case they're right. The EU is currently trying to milk them like they milked MS, and simultaneously they're trying to wreck fair use and linking as we know it. Mind blowing how much support this has, and how poor of a job their mainstream media has done in covering this. Wait, most EU media is practically state-run with no opposition news networks... carry on.
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    Alt Fact people stumbling over themselves in contradicting arguments to whine about something.
    This law proposal was set in motion to prevent companies like Google from stealing ad revenue from news sites. Google would gain nothing from silencing protesters against it.
    The intention of the law is fair, whether they'll figure out how to implement it is another question.

    And I have no pity for France's nazi party losing their YouTube page just because they're too ignorant to source check their content.
    Reply
  • Dosflores
    21068649 said:
    Mind blowing how much support this has, and how poor of a job their mainstream media has done in covering this. Wait, most EU media is practically state-run with no opposition news networks... carry on.

    Mainstream media don't have any interest in covering this because they're content creators. It doesn't have anything to do with any political stance. Old-fashioned content creators will always agree with any copyright enforcement law without even bothering to read it.

    Those Europeans who know how the internet works oppose this law, because it is utterly ludicrous. However, you can't expect Members of the European Parliament to know how the internet works. The European Parliament is a total mess which most Europeans know nothing about. Mainstream media don't have any interest in convering anything that happens there, because it is much more interesting to cover anything that happens in national parliaments. In the US, people know that they need to know what is happening both in the federal goverment and their own state goverment. In Europe, people aren't used to that. People only used to care about what was happening in other European countries when it was dangerous enough to declare war. The European Parliament is a joke, which is the reason why Brexit succeeded. It doesn't matter whether what is done there is for the good of Europeans or not, because no one knows what the heck is happening there.
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    Dosflores, what a load of bigoted BS. If you're so smart, why aren't you protesting the death of your net neutrality?

    MSM has covered this. Both for and against. Because MSM isn't ONE opinion or ONE person.

    Le Pen's Nazi Party is only whinging here to get attention. Even though the only real fact here is that they got caught out stealing content.
    Reply
  • Dosflores
    21069385 said:
    Dosflores, what a load of bigoted BS. If you're so smart, why aren't you protesting the death of your net neutrality?

    MSM has covered this. Both for and against. Because MSM isn't ONE opinion or ONE person.

    Le Pen's Nazi Party is only whinging here to get attention. Even though the only real fact here is that they got caught out stealing content.

    Net neutrality hasn't died in my country. I protested to the Members of the European Parliament about what this news is about.

    I don't know what MSM is.

    And WTF are you talking about Le Pen? Their party is going to vote for Article 13 even though they're complaining about it. They're certainly not smart, just like you.
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    Dosflores, you're the one bringing up MSM. You're the one arguing that everybody in the EU is ignorant and not acting like people in the US. If you think that is stupid, which it obviously is, stop arguing that in the first place.
    Learn to use Google if you are as smart as you think you are.
    Reply
  • Dosflores
    21069451 said:
    Dosflores, you're the one bringing up MSM. You're the one arguing that everybody in the EU is ignorant and not acting like people in the US. If you think that is stupid, which it obviously is, stop arguing that in the first place.
    Learn to use Google if you are as smart as you think you are.

    I didn't bring up MSM; I replied to someone talking about MSM. And excuse me for not knowing every acronym in the world. I just like to write in a clear manner, because I can reason, unlike you. And I can talk about the MSM that I know, which obviously isn't every MSM in the world.

    Not everybody in the EU is ignorant about what is happening in the European Parliament, but most people are. That is a fact. If you disagree, you're certainly the ignorant one.
    Reply
  • johnsmith.91535
    New info says that Youtube down videos that dont accept show ads, unbelievable and sad.
    Reply