EFF: Copyright owners think twice before pulling YouTube clips

Advocacy group issues six principles that intellectual property owners should consider before sending take-down notices to Web sites.

Everybody knows that copyright owners can demand that YouTube and other Web sites remove unauthorized copies of their work under the law. But what happens when the owners of intellectual property err in their claims?

On Wednesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a group that advocates for the rights of Internet users, issued six principles that copyright holders should consider before trying to remove a piece of content.

EFF has represented several individuals who have seen their videos removed from Web sites after a copyright owner erroneously claimed that their copyright was violated. EFF recently filed suit against Prince on behalf of a Pennsylvania woman who posted a 29-second video of her infant son dancing to the rocker's song, Let's Go Crazy.

EFF fears that with more and more sites using automated copyright filters, designed to prevent the uploading of copyright work, more and more clips with a legitimate Fair Use claim will be unfairly barred.

"The following principles are meant to provide concrete steps that they can and should take to minimize the unnecessary, collateral damage to fair use," EFF said in a statement.

Among the six principles issued by EFF are that copyright owners must remember that people have the right to include intellectual property for purposes of criticism, reporting, parody or scholarship.

When filtering technology is used, a site should be allowed to dispute the findings of such systems. Once a take-down notice is received from a copyright owner, a Web site should send a notice to the person who posted the video in question so they have an opportunity to dispute the claim.

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