back to article Copyright bot boots NASA rover vid off YouTube

YouTube was a bit keen in the prosecution of copyright laws during NASA's victorious Curiosity rover landing yesterday morning, booting the first video excerpt of the livestream off its site for infringing a news service. NASA's video coverage and pics are actually generally copyright-free, which made the overzealous bot …


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  1. Peter 26

    There needs to be a fine for incorrect copyright allegations, otherwise this will carry on happening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and the fine needs to be more than those imposed for infringement so as to prevent frivolous takedowns.

      (c) Anonymous Coward 2012

    2. HMB

      Great idea, but let's be clear that the fine needs to be paid by the person(s) or organisation(s) responsible for the claim of infringement in the first place and not Youtube or the service provider.

    3. Fatman

      Time for a 3 strikes rule.

      And more.

      I propose a three strikes rule for those entities who engage in incorrect copyright infringement allegations.

      First offense: $10,000,00 fine.

      Second offense: a $25,000,000 fine plus the CEO is incarcerated for 30 days in a MAXIMUM SECURITY FACILITY.

      Third offense: $100,000,000 fine, and all `C` level types are extraordinarily renditioned to some gulag in a remote part of the world for life.

      Think they will "get the message???"

  2. Dave 126 Silver badge


    >"We've been working with YouTube in a an effort to stop the automatic disabling of videos. So far, it hasn't helped much."

  3. James 51

    re: QOTW

    If video suspect

    If video from NASA channel

    then refer to human investigator

    else block



    There you go, fixed it.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: re: QOTW

      Nah, not enough money involved there, LMFTFY so that it can generate some additional revenu

      If video suspect

      If video from NASA channel


      if request from Scripps local news


      email scripps - "please phone us on 0901 123 456 urgently about video blah"

      else refer to human investigator

      else block




      Might as well take the opportunity to make some money from the buggers. Of course, I've no idea what a premium rate number looks like in the US. Code doesn't look right either, think I need more caffeine

      1. Arthur 1

        Re: re: QOTW

        Premium rate in the US is generally of the 1-900-BOOBIES format.

  4. cyke1

    truely sad part

    People that make their own video completely original that becomes massively popular, some companies will submit a bogus copyright claim on them and select the ad's option to get ad's on the video so they can profit from it. But yea there needs to be some type of penalty for bogus claims, once ok it happens but when it happens repeatably then said company should be forking over some money or lose its axx to remove video without review by youtube.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re - Fine

    That's a very good idea, except for one thing. While our overlords are happy to impose new taxes and fines on us ordinary people every day, doing so against corporations, especially media, provokes an allergic reaction in them. Maybe it's time we tested for that and made it a requirement they do not have this condition before they are allowed to apply for office ...

    1. cortland

      Re: Re - Fine

      -- provokes an allergic reaction in them. --

      Send them a case of hives With bees!

  6. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Isn't there

    a fairly severe penalty for a false DMCA claim? Oh, maybe not.

    1. GreyWolf
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Isn't there [DMCA penalty]

      The penalty is laughable ($500).

      Paris Hilton keeps that much in her knickers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Isn't there [DMCA penalty]

        I'd want more than $500 to go anywhere near your knickers

      2. ItsNotMe

        Re: Isn't there [DMCA penalty]

        "Paris Hilton keeps that much in her knickers."

        And that's not the only thing(s) in your knickers Paris.

      3. Dani Eder

        Re: Isn't there [DMCA penalty]

        It does not have to be a fine paid to the government. It can be a "processing fee" paid to the content host (YouTube in this case) if it turns out to be a false takedown. That compensates the host for their trouble. You might set up to allow a few mistaken takedowns, but by the third or later, you get charged for wasting everyone's time.

  7. Ol'Peculier


    NASA does have copyright, but they don't enforce it.

    (Many) years ago a company I worked for wanted a picture of Earth for the front of their brochure, sent off a request to NASA who sent back a few slides to let us do what we wanted with them. Still have them somewhere.

    1. ukgnome

      Re: Copyright

      When I was younger I sent them a letter asking some schoolboy question about the space shuttle. I received a hand written reply, a brochure of shuttle stills, a model shuttle and a model Apollo rocket. Some flight suit patches and a couple of other space bits.

      NASA are an awesome organisation, and I have never forgotten their generosity .

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Copyright

      Generally in the US any data collected with taxpayers money is freely available - so all maps, databases, govt funded research etc is available for free. It's one of the advantages of working of socialism.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Copyright

        Here's a crazy idea, why not have an 'entertainment' tax, everyone pays for everybody's content/creation and that gives the public the right to share freely or even monetize the content since the tax payer already paid for it.

        It's a socialist solution alright, and not everyone pays taxes but sure beats dealing with this copyright bullshit IMHO.

        1. Fibbles

          Re: AC 13:33 (Re: Copyright)

          I'd rather not pay for entertainment that I'll never watch/read/listen to. Publicly funded scientific research is a good idea because it benefits everyone. Publicly funded entertainment only ever caters to those with mainstream tastes.

      2. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Copyright

        Except for research contract data and reports paid for by taxpayer money, frequently available only by purchasing $$$ professional journal subscriptions (or $$ for individual reprints). I believe the researcher also often obtain patents for their or their institution's exclusive benefit.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Graham Wilson

    Fed up with this nonsense.

    NASA, being a US Government agency, provides info free of copyright. (Unlike in Commonwealth countries which still persist with the unholy scam of Crown Copyright). That's how it should be--because the government is in the utility business of disseminating information it generates to everyone (or it ought to be).

    So why are middlemen charging and or adding copyright? Such actions ought to be unlawful.

    Yesterday, when I wanted to take the NASA feed I first went to YouTube and I couldn't find anything, which--given the landing's high profile--surprised me. Furthermore, feeds were scarce, I eventually settled for the Beeb's one.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Fed up with this nonsense.

      To turn that on it's head then, you'd like large organisations to freely take work created using your tax-money and sell it back to you?

      Some of this stuff does have a value, and the theory is that some of that value can be collected by enforcing crown-copyright. Whether that pans out to a net-benefit for the taxpayer I don't know, but if it's saving us taxpayers a little bit of money it's not necessarily a bad thing.

      Crown copyright also doesn't necessarily mean you're going to have to pay. All it means is that the Govt have control over what happens to it, they can still distribute stuff free-of-charge. Hell, they can distribute it under a perpetual-do-what-the-fuck-you-want license if they want without giving up the crown copyright.

      Some stuff should be distributed as a free-for-all, but if the Govt has spent (say 10bn) collecting information about some resource (let's say maps for sake of argument) it would be nice if some of the taxpayers money could be recouped from the organisations that want to make use of it. Very hard to see how some information gathering would generate any value for us plebs otherwise (though you could of course argue that perhaps the Govt shouldn't be collecting it).

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Fed up with this nonsense.

        What if it prevents the creation of other business that would be worth more than it cost to collect the data?

        So no sat-navs or A-Z in the UK because the govt had the copyright on all the mapping data and prevented competitors. Or you had no credit card address verification because all the users of your site needed a PAF license.

        Imagine if the UK charged Ordnance Survey or Postal Address File levels of fees on DNS lookups. The UK would recover the cost of running nominet - but the US would have all that internet stuff and UK business would be restricted to sending the occasional email (priced the as a first class stamp)

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: Fed up with this nonsense.

          True which is why a level of common sense needs to be applied. I never said all data should be charged for, in fact I'm pretty sure I said there was some that should not be.

          What if it prevents the creation of other business that would be worth more than it cost to collect the data?

          That strikes me as something the Tories would say. Now assuming that the cost of the data was reasonable (i.e. the Govt isn't gouging on price) then the answer's simple: that business model wasn't viable. If the Govt wasn't collecting the data because it was simply a drain on taxpayers cash, would it be financially viable for the company to collect that data themselves? If yes, then you know what they need to do (and that the Govt is gouging) if no, business model aint viable.

          There's a big difference between a DNS data and data that the Govt has had to actually collect/aggregate. It would be stupid of them to charge any kind of fee for that (not saying they wouldn't mind). There are some areas where the money in can never really be recouped (Defence being a good example), I'd say Nominet falls under these.

          Of course, what I've left out of the equation (because I don't have the figures) is the adjustment to the income/outcome that'd be made by a business paying tax in the UK. You've always got to accept that the Govt will make a net loss, but it's a matter of deciding whether on balance you can mitigate that loss a little.

          It's capitalism, it's all about money. I'd love to change it, but it's the world we live in

      2. Graham Wilson

        @Ben Tasker -- Re: Fed up with this nonsense.

        As a person who once wrote stuff that was automatically Crown copyrighted, I well understand the arguments from both sides.

        Fundamentally, there are two sorts of people in the copyright debate and it's been forever thus: there's those who basically believe in the axiom "knowledge for knowledge sake, knowledge for everyone"--that is most information should be shared--then there's those whose fundamental belief is that everything has a price, including intangibles such as knowledge.

        There's little point in arguing about it because these views are both political/philosophical and diametrically opposed.

        The issues that surround Crown Copyright are also political and philosophical by nature. Moreover, Crown Copyright is also one of many matters that are bound intrinsically to issues concerned with the granularity of democracy and the democratic process generally.

        It is interesting to note that in the US--the most capitalistic country with the most independent individuals on earth--has no equivalent of Crown Copyright, in that information generated by the State is free to everyone--even those in other countries (with a few exceptions), whereas in the UK--home of modern democracy--Crown copyright still persists.

        This being an IT forum, I'll leave further developing this political science argument for elsewhere.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: @Ben Tasker -- Fed up with this nonsense.

          This being an IT forum, I'll leave further developing this political science argument for elsewhere.

          Ach, I was enjoying that!

          For the record, in principle I actually agree with you, it's just that in practice I see things differently. I'd much prefer that "knowledge for knowledge sake, knowledge for everyone" was the way things worked.

          1. Graham Wilson

            @Ben Tasker - - Re: @Ben Tasker -- Fed up with this nonsense.

            Leaving political theory aside, the only real solution is for a sophisticated reworking of the copyright laws. That's where cleaver compromises are made--those who want to free up copyright get much of what they want and copyright holders only lose small amounts of money at the margins. For instance, most printed copyrighted material, books etc, are down to only a percent or two of original sales figures after 17 years or so.

            Cleaver copyright would take this into account, as well as leaving 'margin' years for good measure, copyright duration would be reduced. For best sellers and the perennially popular, copyright might be reduced to 30 years for personal use only (no commercial use). Also, registration systems could be invoked say after 17 years--if you want to maintain copyright then register it (copyright would still be automatic up to this point). Orphaned works would be freed up after a grace period, 10 years or whatever the stats show is viable (not to hurt any latecomer who pops out of the woodwork). At the moment all copyright is the same, so smart copyright may change the duration and penalties. Movies may have a different copyright duration, say shorter duration but higher penalties for the duration of the copyright period.

            Then there's specifying all the exceptions: manuals for equipment etc. (no good having equipment that lasts 30 years but it's 70 years before copyright expires and you are able to replace a lost manual (and the company has gone belly-up at say 20 years).

            Partial copyright expiry seems an excellent way to resolve many issues, that, as already mentioned, is where after a period of full copyright, nominally at the end of the economic life (cutoff determined by the law of diminishing returns) is where copying can be done for personal or non commercial use only.

            There are many, many more options of course, and these proposals would all require careful analysis. This is hard laborious work and at its end no one will be fully satisfied. Today, with the internet, some aspects of copyright would be much easier to administer both locally and intentionally than in the past. For example, registration of copyrighted materials in cases where copyright durations are less than Berne's statutorily 50 years.

            All that said, none of these proposals are possible in almost any country, as most are signatories of the 1886 Berne Convention which prohibits all of these things. Until the impasse is broken, copyright law will remain a mess.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Ben Tasker - - @Ben Tasker -- Fed up with this nonsense.

              "That's where cleaver compromises are made-..."

              It's the cleaver ones that I'm worried about.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    #include <stdio.h>

    int main(int argc, char *argv[])


    if (video)


    if (video.owner == "nasa")


    if (request.scripps)

    {"please phone us on 0901 123 456 urgently about video blah");










    //pseudo c++. happy y'all?

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: #include <stdio.h>

      Oi! I held a patent on that (I, of course, ignored the obvious prior art).

      I'm seeking an injunction against use of any vowels on your keyboard and demand that you pay me £100 for every character typed.

      1. Spoonsinger

        Re: "I'm seeking an injunction against use of any vowels on your keyboard, etc.."

        Fair, but consider the fact that a "proper" c++ coder would have just stuck everything on one and a half lines. So the law suit will be against someone who can demonstrate that they are 'challenged' and 'special' by comparing themselves to their peers, and therefore not responsible for their actions.

        "proper" obviously means I'm currently trawling kak code written by 'professionals' who I suspect got paid more, and therefore I currently holding a grudge.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: "I'm seeking an injunction against use of any vowels on your keyboard, etc.."

          Fair, but consider the fact that a "proper" c++ coder would have just stuck everything on one and a half lines. So the law suit will be against someone who can demonstrate that they are 'challenged' and 'special' by comparing themselves to their peers, and therefore not responsible for their actions.

          Nicely thought out! Thumbs up

      2. mittfh

        Re: #include <stdio.h>

        In that case, I'll impose a patent claim on the consonants...

        ...I'll be generous though and allow someone else to claim for digits and special characters...

        We can then all have lots of fun paying each other millions of [insert currency unit here] for allowing us to use stuff covered by each others' patents.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damed if you do, Damed if you don't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Obviously dames are great but why should they be damed of all things?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Dame(d)

        I wouldn't mind being Helen Mirren-ed !

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally, someone large enough to do something about these false claims on Youtube? Sadly I doubt anything will be done. :(

    1. Anonymous John


  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. BillboBaggins


    Never heard of them before, but are Scripps anything to do with Apple?

    Seems like they have Apples "Block everything! It's mine!" mentality.

  14. Arthur 1

    Nothing new

    I used to watch a lot of youtube reviews of TV and movies. In the vast majority of countries (even the US) you're allowed to show clips of something for review/parody/etc sort of uses, and frankly it would be ridiculous if you couldn't.

    Pretty much every one of those shows has been banned from youtube and had to move to a proper web video platform (generally because of these ridiculous auto-copyright bots.

    Taking a "no human intervention scattergun and damn any innocent bystanders that get in the way" approach to DMCA complaints should be illegal and heavily fined. Unless you can program a bot with enough semantic understanding to comprehend fair use, you're going into the whole enterprise knowing you're going to generate fradulent complaints.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, but

      All that you said is true (hence my upvote of your post); however maybe one should use another platform should YouTube not fit ones purposes in this instance.

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Who is "Scripps News" and why are they giving people a hard time through IP faggotry?

    They could die tomorrow for all I care.

  16. GreyWolf

    What YouTube needs is a reputation system

    In the auto DMCA takedown system, those who complain should lose reputation for every false claim.

    One strike and your complaints get diverted to be checked manually (and YouTube makes sure the handling team is small and slow).

    Two strikes and your complaints have to be backed up by a sworn statement in front of a judge that you have checked properly that you are the copyright owner.

    Three strikes and you lose your userid in the auto takedown system permanently, and all your subsequent complaints have to be written by a lawyer at vast expense.

    Three strikes should also trigger a Small Claims Court case demanding immediate payment of all DMCA false claim penalties - in Small Court, the defendant (in this case, the false claimant) has to send someone empowered to settle or the judge will decide against them by default. The punishment here is not the $500, but either wasting the time of senior execs or spending money to send a lawyer to a hopeless case.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: What YouTube needs is a reputation system

      I am not a lawyer, but....

      My understand of the law, is that if YouTube, et al, take down content that someone else claims they have copyright over, then YouTube are immune from are copyright violation claims.

      I think something like your reputation system is great, but if YouTube implimented it, they'd start being liable for all copyright infringement on YouTube.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        @ Non e-mouse

        But... Surely allowing an uninvolved third party to take down your video, or apply advertising to it, is in itself an infringement of your copyright?

    2. Graham Wilson

      @GreyWolf -- Re: What YouTube needs is a reputation system

      Excellent idea except for one thing. The almighty Berne Convention allows all copyright holders--even those who claim copyright on something as inane as someone copying a game of ticktacktoe/naughts and crosses scribbled on a restaurant serviette--to whinge all they want about copyright violation.

      Unfortunately, all such nonsense will continue until this albatross of an international treaty is made more reasonable. And that ain't likely to be anytime soon.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only way they'll learn

    First offence of incorrect claim of copyright by an organisation should result in the loss of ability to claim copyright violations for the next year by that organisation. That should make them think about not committing perjury.

    If they were unwise or stupid enough to do it again, then the CEO should spend a month in jail. And not a nice one.

    If there were a third time, remove all copyrights from the company - everything they have ever created is now public domain.

  18. Steve Evans

    Do Scripps local news have a channel?

    Maybe we should start issuing take-downs...

  19. A J Stiles


    Surely with NASA being part of the US Government, everything they produce is automatically in the Public Domain by definition?

    I agree fully that maliciously making a false claim of copyright infringement needs to be made an offence in its own right, and not punished any less harshly than actual copyright infringement .

  20. billium

    "Give light and the people will find their own way." * Thier company moto, looks like they have lost thier way!

    *from wikipedia

  21. mittfh

    Another thing that doesn't help...

    Short of DMCA takedowns, when their content ID identifies content that the bots claim is owned by an anonymous collecting house, without giving any idea whatsoever of what that particular content may happen to be.

    Ideally, the database would have a description field next to each content ID field, so that when something you upload is flagged, it tells you the details of the track it's found (perhaps your playing of a public domain song is too close to a copyrighted arrangement, or perhaps a copyrighted song borrows heavily from the melody of a public domain song, or perhaps it's the keyboard's auto-accompaniment...)

    The silly lifetime of copyright doesn't help - nor does having companies putting their full legal weight behind songs that should in reality be in the public domain - although the melody was first published in 1893 and the birthday lyrics in 1924, the song was copyrighted by a publisher in 1935. In Europe, the copyright expires in 2016 (as Patty Hill died in 1946 - so life + 70 years), however in the US the copyright expires in 2030 (erm, copyright date + 95 years?)

  22. Wintermute

    YouTube's blocking is a real head-scratcher

    YouTube needs help with their content blocking. Yes, I've seen their TEDtalk about how wonderful it all is supposed to work, but experience suggests otherwise: For example, YouTube blocks Skrillex music videos in Germany, despite the fact that TheOfficialSkrillex account belongs to the musician himself.

  23. heyrick Silver badge

    What hope us?

    If a well publicised well known event by a government agency gets a claim, and says the content matching thing is not much help...what hope the rest of us.

  24. Gannon (J.) Dick

    Big Misunderstanding

    YouTube was just time shifting the Copyright forward until Mars could be safely declared an orphan work.

    Gotta go ... Google just sent Napoleon to Corsica where he can't make trouble ...

  25. Mectron

    Illegal by Definition

    So a Bot (controled by google) is illegally removing video (punishing EVERYONE who watch yout tube) whitout any kind of justice action? complain from the (c) holder to the police, then the police prossessing it in order of importance for the public safety.

    The MPAA/RIAA really must be destroyed at all cost and by all means, they are the most dangerous criminals in the universe. they make any terrorist anywhere in thr world look like a kindergarden.

  26. Dennis Wilson

    Remedial Work

    Not being the brightest spark on the planet i always thought the removals were complaint based. Being bot based i have to ask why has this buggy bot been allowed to roam around YouTube with these flaws for so long? Why hasn't there been remedial work on the program? As there is a long history of errors to work with.. If it took me six hours to upload a long video i would be more than a little upset especially if it is accepted as acceptable collateral damage.

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