More Crappy Censorship From Your Friends at Yahoo!
Mike Arrington has a blog post over at TechCrunch regarding a recent censorship case over at Yahoo where taking down and destroying user’s content seems to be business as usual.
In this most recent case, Loren Feldman uploaded a video mocking Shel Israel and the Village People to Yahoo Video only to see his video taken down after an extremely weak DMCA notice was presented by Scorpio Music.
The video in question, embedded above, certainly would fall into the fair use category. It is absolutely parody which is protected as fair use and the amount of the song used is a brief snippet, also brief enough to count as fair use even if the video was not parody.
But in typical Yahoo “shoot first ask questions later” fashion, they have removed Feldman’s video. They also sent him a threatening email saying that they could terminate all of his yahoo services and deactivate his Yahoo ID. Fortunately a copy of the video in question still exists over at Google on YouTube as embedded above. I guess Google cares a little bit more about a user’s fair use rights than Yahoo does.
It is terrible that it seems that anybody in the world can send a DMCA notice, valid or not, to Yahoo and get them to censor user content. Personally I think Yahoo has a higher obligation to the users who use their sites.
A while back Michael Crook sent Yahoo a bogus DMCA takedown request for one of my photos on Flickr. How did Yahoo handle this? They not only removed the perfectly valid and legal photo in question. But they *permanently* destroyed the uploaded photo along with dozens of comments. Later on Crook resceinded his bogus DMCA notice in my case but it was too late. The photo I’d posted and all of the comments were permanently erased by Yahoo from the internet.
A similar thing happened to Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir who also saw Yahoo destroy her photo along with over 450 comments which Flickr Chief Stewart Butterfield later chalked up as a “mistake,” to the BBC News.
The problem with Yahoo! is that these “mistakes,” only seem to get apologized for when they receive a lot of publicity. How many hundreds or thousandhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifs of Yahoo users have simply seen their content destroyed by Yahoo and didn’t really have the voice or reach to really do anything about it.
Shame on Yahoo for censoring Loren. And shame on them for treating their users so poorly. Yahoo should take more care when reviewing DMCA takedown notices and give their users the respect that they truly deserve.
It will be interesting to see if Microsoft does a better job with the censorship once they take Yahoo over here shortly.
On Slashdot here.