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Space Science Idle Your Rights Online

NASA's Own Video of Curiosity Landing Crashes Into a DMCA Takedown 597

derekmead writes "NASA's livestream coverage of the Curiosity rover's landing on Mars was practically as flawless as the landing itself. But NASA couldn't prepare for everything. An hour or so after Curiosity's 1.31 a.m. EST landing in Gale Crater,the space agency's main YouTube channel had posted a 13-minute excerpt of the stream. Ten minutes later, the video was gone, replaced with the message: 'This video contains content from Scripps Local News, who has blocked it on copyright grounds. Sorry about that.' That is to say, a NASA-made video posted on NASA's official YouTube channel, documenting the landing of a $2.5 billion Mars rover mission paid for with public taxpayer money, was blocked by YouTube because of a copyright claim by a private news service."
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NASA's Own Video of Curiosity Landing Crashes Into a DMCA Takedown

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  • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @12:38PM (#40895961) Homepage Journal

    sauve for the goose is sauve for the gander.

  • by mr_lizard13 ( 882373 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @12:47PM (#40896097)
    $500 for private individuals. 10% of global turnover for incorporated companies. Seems fair.
  • Copyright violations (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @12:47PM (#40896099)
    That's the problem with the copyright filters at Youtube and elsewhere: Copyright is based on the production of a work, not the work itself. So if NASA releases footage of something that is public domain (paid for by your tax dollars) then if, say, NBC, replays that footage and adds a logo in the lower right corner... NBC can then sue you if you save that footage to your harddrive. So the content might be "Curiousity rover team hugging", which can't be copyrighted, but the production of it is. Since NASA made it public domain, they have no rights to it whatsoever, so anyone can take the content, re-broadcast it, and then claim copyright on that broadcasted content.

    Which is a problem in a digital environment: How can you tell whether something came from the original (public domain) source, or the re-broadcaster? YouTube's auto-filters obviously can't. There's no way to tell original from copy; And guess who gets sued if they don't block when they could have? Which underscores another problem with copyright law: Presumed guilt. DMCA notices force providers to take down potentially infringing content. Not actually infringing, potentially-infringing. It's a presumption of guilt; Your innocence must then be established later. And with technology like this, how can a judge, or even yourself, tell the difference between the original 101110101000101110100011 and the copied 101110101000101110100011?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2012 @12:47PM (#40896111)

    It would be better for the claims simply to be made on penalty of perjury, so people who make abusive claims can be prosecuted. Counter-claims must already be made with such a statement.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2012 @12:48PM (#40896115)

    If they are going to claim ownership of the video then the appropriate response would be to deny them access to any and all government video feeds. It requires no civil claim, is perfectly legal and will harm them more than the $500 penalty. It will also serve as a warning to companies that send out DMCA takedown notices at the drop of a hat.

  • by klingens ( 147173 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @12:49PM (#40896133)

    This is especially warranted since this is not the first time these Scripps people did this: []
    Last April, Scripps did the same thing with the video of space shuttle Discovery's last voyage to the Smithsonian.
    One time is an accident, 2 times is malice and should be acted upon

  • Close to home. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2012 @01:00PM (#40896257)

    I operate a youtube channel with just over 100,000 subscribers. I almost had my account permanently suspended when several of my government produced, copyright-free videos of 1940s military footage were flagged by some no-name spanish news station. These videos were converted directly from library archive originals. My only saving grace was one of my subscribers was a lower end employee of Google at the time and was able to contact the right people.

    What would have happened to me had I not been so lucky?

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @01:09PM (#40896379)

    It seems more-likely that Scripps contracted with Youtube to automatically have any content removed that has an "audio signature" which matches Scripps own uploaded videos. In other words, no people involved.

    I've heard radio host Alex Jones complain about this. Some corporation (CBS Radio if I recall correctly) has contracted a DJ for their national news starting in 2011. However they claim ownership of ALL recordings by that DJ, both present and past. So youtube is automatically removing all videos of said DJ, including interviews on Jones' show from ten years ago. There's no person involved... just a computer doing automatic filtering & automatic takedowns.

  • by budgenator ( 254554 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @01:12PM (#40896419) Journal

    Actually I was thinking along the same lines, IANAL but it occurred to me that Copyright law gives entities the right to control the copying of a work, a false take-down notice infringes on the copyright holder's right to control the distribution of a work, and since NASA is a US government agency it does not hold the copyright but passes it to the public domain, or to "We The People". Perhaps we should fine a good shyster and have him file a class action against scripts for infringing on the copyright of "We The People", a quarter of a million dollars times 300 million people, should get their attention.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @01:15PM (#40896449) Homepage

    There is an answer. Any false claim like this results in a $100,00 automatic fine that has 80% paid to the person who's video was taken down and 20% to youtube.

    PUNISH people for DMCA take downs if they are false. Negative reinforcment works better than any other.

  • by brit74 ( 831798 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @01:16PM (#40896467)
    I read the summary and concluded that Scripps Local News blocked the video using a false copyright claim. But, then I read the actual article:

    "YouTube will block or censor content for one of three reasons: if a video violates the site’s terms of service, if its content is automatically found to match copyrighted content, or if it receives a request from a copyright owner to remove a pirated video." ... Content ID, YouTube’s automated copyright monitor, was meant to be the site’s secret weapon in its fight to stay legal, and make some sense – or cents – out of the video chaos: by algorithmically matching content, robots can, ideally, keep track of which videos contain copyrighted material.

    So, basically, the whole takedown might've had nothing to do with Scripps Local News issuing a false takedown, and might've had everything to do with YouTube's robots misidentifying the video. Now, we've got a whole comment section full of people who want to attack Scripps for issuing a false takedown, even though we're not even sure what exactly happened. Please update the summary, Slashdot.

  • by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @01:27PM (#40896587)
    The DMCA's "It has to be taken down right now!" policy

    without any ability to stop the takedown prior to its execution is fundamentally unconstitutional.

    Charged with a 'criminal act and prosecuted' is better because you can get the damn case thrown out 'with prejudice' and get your expenses paid when the person claiming copyright is 'wrong'.
  • by N0Man74 ( 1620447 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @01:50PM (#40896869)

    I've heard similar stories. I remember seeing a story about a couple of guys who made a YouTube video. This Tonight Show decided to replay this video during their ending credits. Apparently an automated system detected the original YouTube video as matching the content from the NBC footage, and was automatically taken down.

    It's absurdity...

    And that is without even considering that detecting a small segment of the NBC broadcast is considered infringement would be considered infringement (and not fair use), while NBC broadcasting the complete video created by someone else was not.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @02:06PM (#40897053) Homepage Journal

    Sure. Throw in the cops, too.

  • by ghostdoc ( 1235612 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @02:36PM (#40897503)

    While your comment is indeed +5 Insightful. It is also off topic since no company filed a complaint, the video was caught by a over zealous automated system.

    It was indeed a company that filed the complaint, their name is right there in the message that the video is blocked by.... That they let a over zealous automated system file complaints on their behalf does not absolve them from being responsible.

    Interesting question actually. Not sure that's been tested in law yet.
    People doing things as a consequence of their employment are representing a company and the company is responsible.
    Officers of a company are vicariously liable for the things that their employees do.
    But is a company responsible for the actions of software claiming to represent it?
    IANAL, just a business student (in another country), so if there's anyone out there who does know, I'd be interested...

  • by Sqr(twg) ( 2126054 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @02:42PM (#40897583)

    How does this work? A DMCA notice requires somebody to certify under penalty of perjury that he represents the copyright holder. Perjury is a felony that carries up to five years in prison. In a system where scentences are served consecutively, such a script could easily get you sent to prison for the rest of your life.

  • by genkernel ( 1761338 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @02:47PM (#40897635)

    Excellent post. (Posting to keep this in my slashdot history, I could save the link somewhere, but meh)

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @03:09PM (#40897933) Journal

    The penalty must be near-zero. There are people with YouTube channels who bash Islam. Islamists issue DCMA takedowns flatly lying they own it. The reason is the real ownee's response is to counter-claim, easy enough, but they must submit their legal name and address, which is why the Islamists want it. The penalty for them is much less than the street justice penalty they want to hand out.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @03:09PM (#40897937) Homepage Journal
    What's to keep an enterprising group of people from submitting takedown notices for every new piece of content posted on youtube? Or the Internet as a whole, for that matter? I imagine it wouldn't take too many people to shut the whole thing down in the USA.
  • by ffflala ( 793437 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:06PM (#40900595)

    As far as being held for weeks without being charged of any crime... It happens all the time. I won't even bother rebutting that -- do your own homework. You can start with arrests at the national caucus' of either party in the last 20 years, if you need a hint.

    No, this actually doesn't happen "all the time." Rather, it's incredibly rare. It's also the sort of thing that goes up the appeals chain, and since I've already done considerable homework on it already, "do your own homework" isn't helpful.

    Still, taking your claims as perhaps possibly credible, I've checked your "hint" about party caucuses, and have come up flat. Every source I've seen so far describing an arrest at either party's national caucus in the last 20 years also describes what the person was charged with. You're claiming that it's common for protestors to be detained for extended periods without being charged for any crime, but I've yet to come across a single mention of someone being held for weeks without being charged.

    As for your first claim, please note that there's no way for anyone else to verify your own claims without more detail. So at this point, I, and anyone else who'd want to believe you, would have to simply take your claim at face value. Given the unusual gravity of what you're claiming --if that's true, it is a huge problem-- I'd really, really like to see something that can be independently verified. Do you have any more details at all, particularly anything that can be followed up on by others? Say for example, the names of the people who you claim have disappeared without a trace after seeing video footage of them being led away in cuffs?

BLISS is ignorance.