Anti-piracy firm Entura International, working on behalf of Columbia pictures, has recently issued numerous DMCA notices to the site Vimeo. It seems they have taken aim at any video containing the word “pixels” in the title, even if the content of the videos is completely original, and many of the videos predate the movie Pixels by several years. The details of the claim can be seen at Chilling Effects.
NeMe, a non-profit NGO and self-described “independent museum of contemporary art” had one of their videos taken down as a result of this claim by Entura. They took to the Vimeo forum to raise their concerns, stating:
Our NGO has just received a DMCA notice for a video we produced in 2006 entitled “pixels”. the video was directed by a Cypriot film-maker using his own photos and sounds/music on a shoestring budget and infringes no copyright. The notice we received says that this is strike 1 which we do not accept for the aforementioned reason. It also says that for Vimeo to accept to return the video online we have to give our name address and an assortment of statements.
Vimeo staff. Up to now you have been absolutely wonderful. Please somebody do check the video in question and confirm for yourselves that it breaks no copyright laws and that it has nothing to do with the latest multi-million blockbuster which prompted this notification. Please also remember to delete the strike.
Also targeted by Entura was a 2010 music video for the song “Life Buoy” by a band called “The Pixels”, which was created by Dragos Bardac and uses stop-motion animation to tell a story. Also hit by the claim is a 2011 video “Pantone Pixels”, a personal project created by Rob Penny. Perhaps most infuriating is the takedown of “Pixels” an award-winning 2010 short-film by Patrick Jean. This video about video game characters invading New York is the inspiration for Columbia’s feature-length movie of the same name, and its disgusting to see a copyright claim being made against the original.
While YouTube has come under heavy criticism for its DMCA takedown policy, including some comments on my previous articles, this situation reveals that Vimeo’s policy is exactly the same as YouTube. The fact is Vimeo, YouTube and numerous other sites are doing what is required by law. The DMCA has safe harbor provisions to protect these sites from liability if someone uploads infringing content, but only if the sites immediately takedown content that has a claim against it, regardless of the merits of the claim. Sites like Vimeo would not be sustainable if they were open to lawsuits for every infringing video that was posted on the site. The problem is that the DMCA insufficiently protects victims of false claims, and the law needs to be reformed.
How stupid can movie studios get with copyright claims? Leave your comments below.