When our video of the Twin Crib Escape went viral, almost immediately copies of it started popping up online. Whether it was people downloading it from YouTube and then reuploading it elsewhere or news programs uploading it to their video players, there were multiple copies of our video everywhere. The question I had was, “What’s going on?”
What was happening was people were excited and were sharing it. Duh, right? But that’s the truth. When people are excited, they don’t necessarily think about how that video belongs to you but rather they are telling their friends, “Check out this awesome video I found! Isn’t it cool?” It’s a complement to you, but it certainly doesn’t help your views and is a bit disrespectful since you weren’t asked if it could be reproduced anywhere.
So, what can you do about it? Well, there is the whole DMCA filing you can do (I have yet to file one), you can email the websites and ask them to take the copies down (which I have done) or you can file a copyright claim with YouTube to have the hundreds of copies of your video removed from their site (but you need to file a claim for every copy, which takes time).
Don’t stress about the news programs using it as it is free press. People will always want to go and find the original. Obviously, news stories are featuring something cool out there on the web and no one will settle for the news source as the place to watch it. They will always track you down.
But what if someone then files a claim against your video and says it’s theirs on YouTube? Well, that’s where things get tricky because it is extremely difficult to get ahold of anyone at YouTube. When you have a notification from YouTube that someone has filed a copyright notice, you will see the name of the program they say contains the video. They also have to supply a company name or channel name. Let me tell you our story….
I had this happen to me and it was a company in Mexico that filed a claim against our crib video. I received a message from YouTube that our crib video matched content with another video and they had filed a claim. I had filed a counter claim saying it was mine and the Mexico TV program rejected my claim saying it was theirs. What they didn’t do when they rejected it was they didn’t read over the claim and realize that I wasn’t uploading copies of their program, but they had uploaded a copy of my video. For an full weekend I was stuck as I received no replies to my emails to YouTube and I had to search for the program all over YouTube to try and figure out where this claim was coming from. What I discovered was that it was a morning television show in Mexico that had shown our video and YouTube had done a quick scan of all of their videos and found my video matched their content. I watched their episode with my video and a twitter account popped up on the screen. BINGO! I sent them a quick tweet and within hours the issue was resolved, the copyright claim was lifted and they apologized for the inconvenience. They were very good about it and it was a pleasure sorting out the issue with them.
My advice to you is, stay calm, piece together the clues, and try to figure out where the claim is coming from and why. You most likely will have to solve the issue on your own without YouTube’s help.
So, with any copyright issue, start with the least aggressive approach. Start with a gentle email, cause that will most likely be all that is needed to get the ball rolling in your favour. You don’t need to put someone on the defensive and people will appreciate your kindness about a mistake that they already know is theirs. Just be good about it and they will tell their friends that they talked to the person with that viral video and even though they were inconvenienced, they were very nice about it. Or, you could always blast them and then you’ll get a reputation for being a real jerk – your choice. 🙂