April 6, 2009 | By Fred von Lohmann

Warner Music Targeting More than YouTube

In recent weeks, we've repeatedly covered Warner Music's (mis)use of YouTube's Content ID (i.e., audio fingerprinting) tools to remove lots of videos that are clearly fair uses. Now ZDNet columnist Jason Perlow reports that Warner Music came after his wife's video slideshow on Vimeo, another video hosting site:

That Warner Music Group/Time Warner would actually care about some random slide show of 40-somethings getting drunk at a suburban New Jersey synagogue set to 15 and 20-year-old low-quality monaural rendered audio that they happen to have rights to is just extremely sad. Not only is it petty and Draconian to force Vimeo to remove someone’s unique works which include Fair Use content, but it’s STUPID.

It's worth pointing out that there is a big difference between a video that is removed by YouTube's automated Content ID tools and a video removed from Vimeo by a DMCA takedown notice -- the DMCA entitles a user to sue the copyright owner for sending a misrepresentation in a DMCA takedown notice. (We explain this distinction in more detail in our Guide to YouTube Removals.)

In fact, thanks to the EFF's efforts in the Lenz v. Universal, a court has ruled that failing to consider fair use before sending a DMCA takedown can put a copyright owner in hot water. Warner might want to keep that in mind if it's going to blanket video sites like Vimeo with DMCA takedowns.


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