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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

YouTube Mars Footage Was Removed as Infringement

The entertainment industry has ordered to remove a video of dramatic footage from the Mars Curiosity landing from the largest streaming service in the world – YouTube. A news agency has claimed that the rights to taxpayer-funded probe footage belongs to them and sent a takedown notice to YouTube, demanding to ban the film from NASA’s official website.

Motherboard’s Alex Pasternack found out that an hour after Curiosity’s landing, NASA’s official YouTube channel had posted a 13-minute excerpt of the stream. However, only 10 minutes later the video in question had been taken down under the request of news agency which claimed that NASA was a pirate and that all of its Martian bases belong to them.

According to YouTube, the video contained material from Scripps Local News, and the company blocked it on copyright grounds. In the meantime, Alex Pasternack points out that the takedown notice boils down to a $2.5 billion taxpayer-funded NASA project, which was shown on a NASA-made public domain and published on NASA’s official YouTube channel, but was blocked under a copyright claim from some private news company.

Later, a spokesperson for the news company apologized for what they say was an “accidental takedown”. They claimed they made a mistake and did their best to make the video viewable again. It is still unclear how anyone could have thought they owned the video in the first place, and how someone got away without consequences after making such a bogus claim.

By the way, it wasn’t the first time NASA footage got blocked by way of copyright antics. According to NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Communications, similar claims emerge at least every month, usually relating to popular videos.

For instance, Scripps claimed that it owned a video of the NASA’s Space Shuttle being flown atop a 747. In some cases, the videos that aren’t blocked get slapped with adverts from the fraudulent claimant. Cooperating with YouTube aimed at avoiding the automatic disabling of videos hasn’t helped so far. It looks like someone is trying to play YouTube’s system, getting as much videos taken offline as possible. For instance, someone’s video of foraging for salad in a field was removed because the media company Rumblefish claimed to own the birdsong! This shows that YouTube’s system is biased in favor of complainants while ignoring “fair use” provisions.

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