Hoaxers’ Unlikely Ally: Copyright Fear

deletedI’m currently engaged in a chess match with UFO hoaxers, who appear to be displeased with the way they’re being portrayed by UFO Theater. In order to keep their handiwork from being debunked, they’ve used the only means available to them: claim copyright infringement. In doing so, they’re activating video host’s reflexive response to have the video removed while the dispute is resolved. They’ve pursued the issue with Youtube and Vimeo.

It’s difficult to predict what either Youtube or Vimeo will do with the claims, which I’ve rebutted by explaining how inclusion of the hoaxer’s video is Fair Use, for purposes of education, criticism, and parody. These services have no obligation to rely on U.S. copyright law, and can follow their own rules. Secureteam 10 made a copyright complaint that I was able to see from channel creator Tyler Glockner, in which he asserted I simply re-uploaded his entire video. What? I’m not sure how that can be allowed to stand, being that it’s patently false, and the fact that most of the video was footage from the International Space Station feed (NASA footage is public domain) to which he added a flying saucer. A day later the entire UFO Theater channel and account was taken down without notice, citing “multiple copyright violations” without providing me with the additional complaints or who made them. I’ve been judged guilty and sentenced without having the charges explained, the benefit of a trial, or being able to face my accuser(s).

The upside is that as far as I can determine, UFO Theater has had some influence, since hoaxers have decided it’s worth having removed. Thirdphaseofmoon in particular has been much more careful about their hoaxes, moving from visual effects (computer generated imagery) to practical effects (photographing and videotaping actual physical objects) and misrepresenting the result. A good example of this is their “Cigar Shaped UFO Over Napa” that looks like it may be a real object, but they hide all context by only providing three seconds of video, zoomed in and heavily filtered. They spend most of the time polishing their turd with an “interview” with the person who supposedly shot the video.

Based on conversations with several people who have more Youtube experience, the video should be reinstated to that platform, but with the odd deletion of the account with no justification, it’s hard to say. It also may be possible that if videos are reinstated to either platform, the hoaxers may have the ability to simply submit a chain of complaints, one after the other, that keep UFO Theater in permanent limbo. Obviously based on my limited experience, I don’t have much faith in either Youtube or Vimeo. I’ll be exploring yet more third party solutions, but may end up finding a way to run the video off my own server.

If nothing else, this has all provided a lot of creative inspiration for some new videos that will hit the hoaxers even harder, and provide a lot of entertainment. Stay tuned.

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4 Responses to Hoaxers’ Unlikely Ally: Copyright Fear

  1. Excellent work and very much needed!! Bravo! I wish you well with your battles with youtube and vimeo. Can’t wait to see what you’ll do next.

    ~ Rick

  2. Thanks Rick! Good things happening.

  3. Dear Rick that sucks about content id complaints from youtube. That makes more sense now that i read this blog about why you’re not on youtube yet. What you need is content id for yourself. That way you could copyright protect all of your works from being removed or striked. Hopefully you will return to youtube.

    • Thanks J, we are on Youtube, it’s just that the full episodes are still going through the dispute process. Once that’s done we will be fully back and I’ll add the videos I’ve made since then.

      The problem is that I have to use the hoaxers’ videos in my shows in order to analyze them, so when they make a copyright complaint Youtube has to at least look at it. Part of that procedure means taking the video down. Once they determine I’m including the video as Fair Use in my shows, they restore them. It just takes time.

      https://www.youtube.com/user/UFOTheater/videos