I interviewed Rebecca Jeschke, Media Relations Director for the digital civil liberties group, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Rebecca shared with me how they fight for people's rights with both creating videos and expression of freedom speech, and important information for all online video creators on what they need to know about how to deal with their videos being unfairly removed from YouTube and other service providers.

Why Online Video Creators MUST Know Their "Fair Use" Rights

To quote EFF's "No Downtime for Free Speech Campaign: "Copyright claimants are increasingly misusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to demand that material be immediately taken down without providing any proof of infringement. Service providers, fearful of monetary damages and legal hassles, often comply with these requests without double-checking them, despite the cost to free speech and individual rights.”

I learned from previous experience that takedown notices don't even have to be about who's right, who's factual, or even who's behaving rationally. They're sometimes much more about knowing your rights; and how far you may be willing to go to fight for your own rights (and for others).

Fighting Bogus Internet Censorship: How EFF Helps Champion People's Legal Rights with Online Video

Electronic Frontier Foundation To Online Video Creators: Know Your Rights! tron movie i fight for the user 2010 shirt  "Fair Use is an important part of our political discourse and culture," says Rebecca. "When it comes to user-generated content, particularly people's own creative works and political speech in these videos, EFF works to protect the rights these users from copyright claims, when often their use of copyrighted material in political speech or creative works is covered by the Fair Use Doctrine.”

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EFF is big into education and awareness about Fair Use – basically, the right for how others can feature someone else's copyrighted work without it following under legal infringement. Here are some links I recommend online video professionals and digital content creators in general check out to understand how Fair Use works with online video, and know more of what your own rights are:

Electronic Frontier Foundation To Online Video Creators: Know Your Rights! eff takedown hall shame

Stay Tuned for More of My Interview with EFF's Rebecca Jeshke

In part 2 of my interview, Rebecca will be sharing with us….

  • Some well-publicized examples of YouTube videos that YouTube had originally taken down, that EFF has been fighting for the users to get back up.
  • How you can file a counter notice with YouTube and any other Internet service provider to get your videos and other content back up, and;
  • How you can be part of the fight!
  • http://www.bing.com/ Marv

    I love reading these atrilces because they're short but informative.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    Thanks for sharing, Alexander! Yes, no responsible ISP can just submit to any takedown notice, otherwise all anyone would have to do is just issue one and we'd never be able to get any actually news published.

    My post and earlier posts here have all clearly followed under fair use, and we're covering news which is supposed to be assured the highest form of protection. This isn't even a matter of a copyright holder, since we're not using anything of Ms. Voldemort's that she is a copyright owner of. (She may have an issue with an image of herself used in a student film production, but that has already been circulated everywhere on the Internet for well over a year now.

    I am hoping ReelSEO's ISP will come to their senses and reverse this travesty. Stay tuned...

  • Alexander Pas

    @Grant Crowell: Sue the reelSEO ISP, they're liable if they do not follow the proper DMCA Process!

    Normal DMCA Process:
    - Copyright Holder makes Takedown Notice
    - Takedown of Post/Site by ISP, notifies Poster
    - Poster Makes Counter Notice
    - ISP is required to put Post/Site back online.
    - Copyright Holder is required to go Court for further process.

    Safe Harbour provisions ensure ISP is not liable if the process is followed properly.

    In August 2008, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel of San Jose, California ruled that copyright holders cannot order a deletion of an online file without determining whether that posting reflected "fair use" of the copyrighted material.


  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/jeremyscott/ Jeremy Scott

    This is the most entertaining comment thread I've read in a long time.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    You mean Benjamin "Franklin?" That's what the outside website gave the name of the link. so I guess the next step for Ms. Voldemort's attorneys may be to send out hundreds of DMCA takedown notices to all of the photos already appearing under her name in Google Image search that she personally finds unflattering. (She appears to have no problem with the pictures of her on Good Morning American and The View, I might add.)

    So call it a "link loophole" I guess! Of course this show how wrong it is for any ISP to capitulate to such unreasonable and ill-informed demands. What a chilling effect it sends on any independent news publication if they can't even depend on their ISP to protect their legal rights.

  • http://www.videoleadsonline.com VideoLeadsOnline

    Ms. Voldemort's name seems to be part of the linked graphic in your comment Grant. I guess it is OK for the last name of Carla we-can't-say-the-name to be in a link, eh?

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    Here's the full text that was removed, with the last name changed to avoid ReelSEO's ISP threatening another shutdown of the site because they don't want to deal with attorneys...

    ReelSEO actually had our own takedown situation not long ago. The individual Carla VOLDEMORT was angry with the coverage of her own legal case against YouTube, and had her legal counsel send a Takedown notice to ReelSEO’s own ISP. (Ms. VOLDEMORT had also demanded as part of the takedown notice that we not feature a picture clip of her that she found unflattering.) Unfortunately ReelSEO’s own ISP decided to capitulate to her demands, which we argued were totally unreasonable. (Ms. VOLDEMORT'S own legal counsel even sent me notices requesting that I turn over to them my own files, with I flatly refused.)

    I learned from the experience that takedown notices don’t even have to be about who’s right, who’s factual, or even who’s behaving rationally. They’re sometimes much more about knowing your rights; and how far you may be willing to go to fight for your own rights (and for others).

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    Crap, due to more legal pressure, my whole piece on Carla Voldemort has been REMOVED!!! Well I'm going to include a link to it elsewhere online, because I don't cave in to these tactics. People have a right to read the facts and get real journalism.

  • http://www.reelseo.com/author/grantastic/ Grant Crowell

    Now we're treating her like Lord Voldemort – She Who Must Not Be Named?? Seriously, the photo we used is already available in Google image search. Trying to stop people from seeing a photo of her because she's a control freak is totally counter-productive. I'll just link to it here so you can see the photo she had her legal counsel send yet another takedown notice...


    This photo already appears in the New York Daily News site. There is nothing stopping anyone from linking to it. Apparently the NY Daily News can afford legal counsel that won't buckle to such stupid cyber-bullying tactics from a deluded individual.

  • http://maoneill.com Megan O’Neill

    Great post. :-)
    Oh, and I received the same takedown notice from Carla LASTNAME lawyers for a post I wrote about her lawsuit...sans the part about the "unflattering" picture. Ridiculous!

    • http://www.reelseo.com/mark/ Mark R Robertson

      Totally rediculous and unfortunately, I just got another one on this fricken post. I have to remove her name from your comment as well. What a stupid B*&^$. Let's just refer to her as Carla Stupid.