Youtube obeys fake takedown request

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 15, 2007
Updated • Jun 12, 2013
Internet, Youtube

YouTube Sunday it seems. We all know that YouTube likes to cooperate with everyone who looks just a bit like authority and takes down videos pretty fast. It does not always have to be copyright infringement, it can also be original works of art that some authorities like the Turkish or Thai government want removed from YouTube pressuring the site with a countrywide ban (man I love the Turkish interpretation of Democracy and free speech).

It is apparently even easier. A 15 year old Australian boy send a fake takedown notice to YouTube pretending to be a representative of the Australian Broadcast Company. He requested the take down of hundreds of videos from a popular comedy show. Guess what? YouTube reacted immediately and removed the videos and even send a message to the users who uploaded the videos threatening them with a ban if they would continue to upload copyrighted videos.

One would think that YouTube would try and reach out to someone from the company requesting the take down before they actually take the videos down, or gasp, the alleged infringing account owner to get the other side of the story.

This was apparently not the case which makes me wonder if anyone can send fake take down requests to YouTube to delete videos? Thailand, Turkey are you listening? It is easier than banning YouTube. Just send in a fake take down request and everything should go your way.

Google in the meantime has added a feature to YouTube that gives certain rights holders unprecedented deletion rights on the site. That is not all though: there is a filter in place that scans all uploaded videos for copyright infringement automatically. This led to situations where a  bird song was wrongfully identified as copyrighted sounds.

You may have come across silent videos on YouTube, which are another automated reaction that rights holders can put in place. Or, they can simply take over all advertising revenue the video generates instead.


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  1. James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil said on April 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    All this proves is that the operators of Youtube are as stupid as they appear to be. The delete clips, remove the audio and have not the slightest understanding of “fair use”, or anything else. Youtube is U-se-less. I’ve removed everything I have ever posted there and I hope they, and Google go totally broke.

  2. Steve said on April 26, 2009 at 4:12 am

    I had my account suspended without warning because I had an Oprah clip on. Like she needs more money.

  3. Heather said on April 30, 2007 at 6:13 am

    Well, you can’t really blame them for being a bit paranoid in this age of litigation. But you are right in saying that they should have at least made the effort to verify.

  4. lenny said on April 17, 2007 at 2:34 am

    yeh this was big news down here in aus….btw the video taken down were of a show called chasers war on ecerything… reccomend u watch it its the funniest thing ever!!!

  5. bangkokr said on April 16, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    I’m thai people. As far as i know our country contact with youTube for take down video that refer to my King but don’t have any effect about that. So our ICT have to block YouTube website. For me i think if takedown request is the easy way than everything why we have to block ? For me after youTube ignore takedown request my mide is no tube already.

    This is my opinion in my Blog.

  6. VoodooTool said on April 15, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    Some say this works with Ad se n se too. Its Go og le – take it or forsake it. No care for the individual.

  7. gnome said on April 15, 2007 at 2:51 pm


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