Normally, when it is people vs Copyright holders on DMCA copyright take down notices, it is always copyright holders that stinks. However, if you read/watch BBC Click’s program segment about an unfortunate user’s experience, this time it is Google/YouTube that stink. What is surprising is the copyright holders come out and smell of roses as they withdraw their complains which finally got the user’s YouTube account back.
Before I start, in my opinion that user is stupid to not make backup of his videos. The old rule of ‘if something is important, keep multiple copies, and make sure you are in control of the copies’ applies even more in the digital age, cloud storage or not.
At issue here is the ridiculous inflexibility of Google’s three strike rules: It fails to take into account other factors, such as the proportion of non-infringing videos, and the fact that there is no expiry date, both for the offense itself and for reinstatement of the account. No reasonable person will find having 3 infringing videos in a collection of 900+ videos as a deliberate abuse of YouTube’s generosity and should lead to termination of one’s account. Nor is three offenses spread across 10 years a good enough reason for terminating the account.
The Google spokeperson did not exactly comes out smelling reasonable either. While I disagree with the interviewer suggestions that Google should indemnify users if the users claims that the video is not infringing, I do think in the majority of the case, Google should view the video and indemnify users if the video is clearly non-infringing. To refuse to even consider this, as the spokeperson insist on, is morally wrong for YouTube. Moreover, when challenged on the fact that the offenses do not have expiry date, i.e., three offenses in 10 years will still get your account terminated, the answer “There is a reason it is not one-strike” quite frankly did not answer the question.
In my opinion, after three strikes, the users account should be suspended and perhaps deleted, but the users should be given a reasonable timeframe to download all his video clip to take it elsewhere. In other aspect of cloud computing, Google is very good when it comes to allowing users to get their data, for example, from Gmail so why not YouTube?
The morale of the story, besides keeping backup copies of your favorite videos, is to use multiple accounts for your video. When one goes down, at least you still have the others. Use something like user0001 for year 2000 to 2001, user 0203 for year 2002 to 2003. Another scheme is event-based.