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11 May 2007 / erikduval


Yesterday, at the EuroSonic conference, we talked a bit about control… As I wrote yesterday:

The tricky bit here for public broadcasters is relinquishing control: you may like the way that digg was forced to allow posting the HD-DVD key, but would you also like it if your public broadcast radio would air racial hate messages? If zero control is not workable, then you’re always on a slippery slope, forced to make difficult calls…

So, of course, I discover two new examples in my inbox that illustrate the point quite clearly.

First, there is the case of the train passengers who got fined, didn’t agree with the way they were treated and then posted a movie of the incident on youtube. They added the sound of gun shots to the end of the clip. The trade union didn’t appreciate the “humour” and complained. Now the clip has been removed by the user. And the national news program posted a request on YouTube to get comments… That is a YouTube clip on a YouTube clip – metaYouTube as it were… I think it was appropriate to post the clip on YouTube: after all, they just recorded what actually did happen… But I do agree that adding the sounds of gun shots goes a bit far. Did I say “slippery slope”?

Speaking of slippery slope (note the subtle bridge to the next item 🙂 !), James Randi was asked to take down a YouTube clip about, among others, Uri Geller. How could I explain this better than Wikipedia does:

In March 2007, videos showing Geller “cheating” were removed from YouTube due to copyright claims by Explorologist Limited.[34] Explorologist Limited is operated by Geller who owns 75% of the company and his long time manager/brother in law Shimshon [Shipi] Shtrang who owns 25%.[34] James Randi noted Geller does not own the copyright to these clips, which includes Geller’s appearance on The Tonight Show.[34]
On May 8, 2007 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued Geller on behalf of Brian Sapient for making false claims to force youtube to remove video.[35] The EFF posted the documents pertaining to Sapient v. Geller online.[36]

Well, more succinctly: Geller is a fraud. Exposing fraud on YouTube should not be a problem. Enough Said…

The bigger point is that, once you accept contributions from anyone, you are going to face difficult choices about what to accept sooner or later. That means that, if you run a really popular service, you are going to have to devote substantial resources to responding to claims that you should remove certain material. For the world of open educational resources for instance, you can almost turn that around: we will know that we really hit mainstream once we receive letters from lawyers to remove material: I guess that I must be one of the few people looking forward to receiving such a letter 😉



Leave a Comment
  1. Hans / May 12 2007 12:13 pm

    Unfortunately we already got one because a teacher put copyrighted material on a webspace he got for free thanks to the educational portal KlasCement. Next time we receive such a letter I’ll send it to you, as your looking forward to it 😉

  2. Erik / May 12 2007 5:25 pm

    Well, congratulations 🙂 …

    So, the teacher got content from the KlasCement portal and then you got the letter from the lawyer? Did he indicate he obtained the content through your services?

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