The curious case of the YouTube Bots- updated 2-19-14

Photo AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Santos "Grim Santo" Gonzalez

UPDATE: 2-19-14

It could be entirely coincidental but on February 14th the official YouTube Creators blog had a post about bots inflation on YouTube. You can read the whole blog here. The blog certainly isn’t a complete response to our blog nor does it address the many complex layers of the Bots problem but it does recognize two important things.

First it recognizes the importance of likes and comments to the YouTube community and acknowledges that these “interactions both represent and inform how creators connect with their audience.” This was one of the biggest complaints we heard from creators. Not just that their videos were taken down but that they permanently lost the likes, insightful comments and best wishes from their fans. Even when creators reposted their videos they were unable to recover this part of their community.

Second, the blog may suggest that YouTube may focus on auditing view counts as opposed to taking videos down. The blog states that:

As part of our long-standing effort to keep YouTube authentic and full of meaningful interactions, we’ve begun periodically auditing the views a video has received. While in the past we would scan views for spam immediately after they occurred, starting today we will periodically validate the video’s view count, removing fraudulent views as new evidence comes to light. We don’t expect this approach to affect more than a minuscule fraction of videos on YouTube, but we believe it’s crucial to improving the accuracy of view counts and maintaining the trust of our fans and creators.

Although YouTube has been auditing views for some time now, there has been an inconsistent policy of removing some videos while simply auditing views of other videos. If YouTube’s new plan is to audit views instead of taking videos down; we support that plan. Almost every single creator who we talked to wanted a way to remove fraudulent views from their accounts. These creators are part of the YouTube community and believe in the importance of accurate view counts.  However, these creators don’t want to be punished when someone out of their control uses Bots on their account. By reducing view counts instead of taking down videos, the potential use of Bots attacks for censorship purposes greatly decreases, which was one of our biggest concerns.

That said if the recent blog doesn’t match reality we want to hear about it.  After all, it could be a complete coincidence that this blog was released shortly after our own blog. It is still entirely plausible that nothing is actually changing and YouTube intends to continue to ignore problematic Bots related takedowns. That said, if you video was wrongfully taken down for bots inflation AFTER February 14, 2014 we want to hear about it.

On the anniversary of the SOPA blackout we look forward to ensure we get copyright right.

On the anniversary of the SOPA blackout we recognize that copyright reform is badly needed for the digital age.  This reform need not, and should not, take the form of any radical evisceration of copyright. At the same time, reform should not be used as an opportunity to continue unreasonable expansion of copyright law without concern for the collateral damage it causes to artistic progress, freedom of speech, and the intellectual enrichment of the public.  Rather, much like one would tend to a garden, it is time we examine our current copyright law, remove the old weeds of law that no longer serve us, and plant the seeds of new law that will help to foster  a new generation of artists and creators. And above all, the removal of those weeds must be a transparent process where all voices are heard.

Celebrating Copyright Week with Films, Stories, and more!

This is the reaction we got from Radio KSCR's Jowanna Lewis at the New Media Expo when we told her about the services we provide to creators and internet users. We want to thank everyone who donated and helped NMR surpass our $5,000.00 end of year goal, especially our new Founders and Champions. Your support provides legal services that ensure the free exchange of ideas and creativity one case at a time and through open educational resources available to everyone.  We've gotten things rolling quickly this year.

Copyright Week
Monday January 13- Saturday January 18th New Media Rights will join the Electronic Frontier Foundation in celebrating Copyright Week. Copyright Week's goal is to raise awareness of the importance of copyright law in everyday life and put a spotlight critical challenges in the digital age. At New Media Rights we'll be using the week to spotlight some of the stories of individuals we've helped to help explain copyright law's complicated impact on the free exchange of ideas and creativity in the digital age. Stay tuned to newmediarights.org as well as our  Twitter and Facebook pages for updates on many copyright issues throughout the week.

The Public Domain shouldn't cost $165 an hour.

At New Media Rights we work to make the public domain more accessible. We feature guides to help you figure out when something falls into the public domain and we have a great guide that will help you find public domain and openly licensed works to use in your own creative works. We also have several YouTube videos that help answer commonly asked questions about the public domain.


At New Media Rights we think the public domain is something to be particularly concerned with since no new works will enter the public domain until 2019. That’s why the work New Media Rights does to bring awareness to the problems surrounding the public domain is so critical. Work like this blog post explaining how expensive it is to find out if some works are in the public domain.


If you have a question about the public domain you can contact us here. And if you’d like to support our work you can donate here. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.  You can also sign on to support Copyright Week’s 6 principles, including the importance of building a robust public domain, through the EFF here.

It's Copyright Week!

It’s copyright week! New Media Rights is joining with EFF and a host of other organizations to show why copyright law matters, and some of the challenges the law faces in the digital age.  Stay tuned to learn why copyright should matter to you and steps you can take to support copyright reform. You can vist the official copyright week page here.

 

 Each day this week we’ll be highlighting different principles critical to having balanced and effective copyright law, including Transparency, Building and Defending a Robust Public Domain, Open Access, You Bought It You Own It, Fair Use, and Getting Copyright Right.

 

The impact of California’s new Do Not Track law on innovators

California has been busy passing a multitude of new internet laws as we’ve outlined in a few previous blog posts.  The most recent law made us pause here at NMR because it directly affects the individuals we help everyday both in understanding and writing terms of use and privacy policies for internet users, creators, and tech startups.  Privacy policies are critical tools for website creators to protect themselves from liability and try to set consumer expectations for privacy on their website.

Under A.B. 370, all commercial websites that collect personally identifiable information are now required to disclose how they respond to “Do Not Track” (DNT) signals in their privacy policy.  Before we get into the practical application of this law, it’s important to understand what DNT is and what it isn’t.

New Media Rights helps shape FCC Consumer Advisory Committee recommendation on openness and transparency of consumer complaint data

Today the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee approved an important recommendation to improve the FCC’s consumer complaint data reporting. New Media Rights Executive Director Art Neill, and Legal Intern Marko Radisavljevic were directly involved in the research, drafting, and proposal of this recommendation.

New Media Rights’ Executive Director Art Neill is a member of the CAC, and co-chair of the Broadband Working Group. New Media Rights conducted extensive background work on the FCC’s current data reporting practices, the regulations that govern the FCC’s data reporting, and reporting practices at other agencies.

Based on this research and conversations with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on their widely recognized approach to complaint reporting, New Media Rights’ staff and interns helped draft a recommendation encouraging the FCC to improve the accessibility and transparency of consumer complaint data.

New Media Rights joins Knowledge Ecology International and others in cautioning against mandatory expanded copyright terms in the TPP

This week Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators will be asked to endorse a binding obligation granting copyright protection for 70 years after the death of an author.  New Media Rights joins Knowledge Ecology International, 26 other groups, and countless individuals from all over the world to tell TPP negotiators that adopting this term would be a mistake. As stated in the letter:

There is no benefit to society of extending copyright beyond the 50 years mandated by the WTO. While some TPP countries, like the United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore or Australia, already have life + 70 (or longer) copyright terms, there is growing recognition that such terms were a mistake, and should be shortened, or modified by requiring formalities for the extended periods.

 

The primary harm from the life + 70 copyright term is the loss of access to countless books, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, films, sound recordings and other works that are “owned” but largely not commercialized, forgotten, and lost. The extended terms are also costly to consumers and performers, while benefiting persons and corporate owners that had nothing to do with the creation of the work.

Why have the number URL removal requests gone up so dramatically in the past year?

For picture: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved byopensourceway

Starting around June of 2012, the number of URL removal requests that were sent into Google started to go up dramatically. URL removal requests increased from about 173 thousand per week at the beginning of the year, to 1.5 Million requests per week by August 2012.  By November, Google received about 6 million requests per week to remove allegedly infringing urls from search. That’s about 34.7 times the number of request Google received in January. All of this happened during a time where Google has been actively tweaking its piracy algorithms to identify more infringing links than ever. So what gives? We’re not entirely sure. However, it seems highly unlikely that this massive increase in takedown requests has any relationship to a corresponding increase in the actual amount of piracy on the web.

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