YouTube woes.

The second movie that I uploaded to YouTube was the sketch I did for the Illustration Friday topic "Help". I noticed back at the beginning of March that the video was offline and the reason given was "copyright infringement". That was odd to me, since nothing about it could possibly be considered the property of someone else with the exception of the interface of the art program that I was using at the time: Alias Sketchbook Pro.

So I deleted the offline version, and re-uploaded the movie. After a bit of waiting, this was the result:

Why was that video rejected? Who's copyright can something that I made from my imagination, recorded myself and containing no audio be infringing? I've set out to discover that, starting with emailing YouTube support after a WHOLE lot of searching to even find out how. They don't make it easy.


From: Collin
Subject: YouTube Support
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 11:29:23 -0800

I would like to know why this video of mine has been rejected. I noticed earlier today that it had been pulled due to "copyright infringement", which I found boggling because nothing in the video wasn't made by me. So I removed that one and re-uploaded the video, only to now be told that it's rejected due to "terms of use violation". Why? What about that video violates the terms of use? I'm mainly asking so that I can avoid this problem in the future. The video itself isn't that important to me, as it's simply a quick sketch. However my goal with my account is to
eventually make and share videos that show how I create my illustrations and possibly help people understand how to work in various art programs more efficiently. Thank you for your time.

username: Pensketch
Language: en
subject: other
videolink: IF: "Help" sketch
name: Collin
IssueType: policy


Their reply:

Subject: Re: [#119529285] YouTube Support
Date: March 13, 2007 8:43:52 AM MDT
To: Collin

Dear Collin,

I sincerely apologize for our delayed response to your email. We have received an exceedingly large volume of email recently, and are only now beginning to catch up.

We received notification from Viacom International. When we're notified that a particular video uploaded to our site infringes another's copyright, we remove the material as the law requires. If you feel a content owner has misidentified your content as infringing, you may file a DMCA counter-notification.

For more information, visit our Copyright Tips page, and


The YouTube Team


I replied with:

Dear Heather,

Was it a blanket notification, or was my video specified for some reason? I only ask because I don't see how, apart from possibly what I named the video, Viacom can in any way lay claim to an original illustration that I drew and filmed myself. There's no audio in the entire movie that could possibly belong to them, and there is no area beyond my computer screen that is recorded.

If my video was specifically chosen by them, could you please tell me what they feel they own so I have an idea how to proceed? I will be following the links you provided later in the day when I have more time to commit to this.

Thank you,

Collin Burton


So now I know who has a "thing" against my movie, I just don't yet know why. I did a quick google search and found out that I'm quite possibly not alone in this: Story of Viacom ordering YouTube to take down 100,000 movies.

In the meantime I've shortened the video slightly, changed the name to protect its innocence and it is "Live":

For now.

In the meantime I'm going to follow those links provided by the YouTube support-person and see how I can get the original video restored as my property.

As long as we are talking litigation, did I ever mention the time that Hormel threatened to sue me for a bumper sticker that I made for Heather? My girlfriend Heather; not support-person Heather.

I designed a bumper sticker for Heather's website that read "I (heart) MATTED SPAM!", and it was pink, yellow and purple and had a silhouette of her mermaid.

To get it printed I set it up at my CafePress store. After ordering the stickers I left it there, figuring it wasn't causing any harm.

Apparently Hormel's lawyers didn't agree and I received a cease-and-desist letter because my merchandise was too similar to their client's brand SPAM and their own bumper stickers "I (heart) SPAM". Never mind that the name for Heather's sticker is actually from a Badfinger song. Also, last I checked SPAM wasn't made from mermaids. Then again... New slogan! "SPAM: Chick of the sea."

Anyhow, due to the nature of and reason for the sticker I decided it wasn't worth fighting over, so I removed it from my store and that was that.

Now as I see it the difference between this and my YouTube movie is that I was contacted directly by the interested party, they explained how I was infringing and I voluntarily removed the offending product. I didn't get that from Viacom, or – so far – YouTube.


This just found: Collateral Damage: Viacom's YouTube Takedowns Include Personal Home Videos
Which led to this: YouTube and Viacom. It appears I'm late coming to the party.
And a final update: EFF is asking for anyone who was caught in Viacom's takedown net to contact them (which I am) and post a link to this video:


There's always .
Heather said…
Heather, huh? Bet she's sweet! :) I'm sorry that Viacom are being such dicks.
Totsie said…
Enjoyed your youtube illustration. Have you ever checked out the Daily Monster videos? Inspiring in it's simplicity.
Anonymous said…

Well, it makes TOTAL sense to me...

They need to preserve their programming and all. Let's face it, why go out and buy a DVD or watch a show on a crystal clear TV set and be subject to commercial bombardment when you can watch grainy and wobbly footage on You Tube instead??!!

Likewise, YOU need to understand that by naming your video with a licensed trademark, you are in fact GIVING it to them. The fact that you neglected to charge them for your film is your poor business savvy and not their fault.

Furthermore, since the content was of your own creation, they now own a 1% stake in your soul which will be payable in the event if your death or a hostile takeover of their parent company- whichever comes first. Payment terms are standard and if there is no buyer for the remaining portion they are prepared to bargain 50% on the market standard.

In fact, plans are underway for Viacom to trademark the letters V-I-A-C-O-M. Their lawyers will be requesting retrospective infringement charges based on this criteria. Sesame Street has already begun talks to open a casino and porn emporium in an attempt to recoup the projected costs. Big Bird was unavailable for comment...


(stupid blogger, I can't sign in as me since we went over to Google. OYE!!)

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