Update 27 April 2009: I won this case – read the full story here.
The flaccid corporate pricks at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) and / or Formula 1 Management (FOM) have forced Youtube to remove the two videos of the 2009 Australian Grand Prix I posted yesterday, along with the videos posted by many other fans. This is an example of the email many people will have received:
This is to notify you that we have removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by Formula One Management claiming that this material is infringing:
2009 Australian F1 GP – grid installation lap turn 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1qCmBHJ4tY
Please Note: Repeat incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to prevent this from happening, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about YouTube’s copyright policy, please read the Copyright Tips guide.
If you elect to send us a counter notice, please go to our Help Center to access the instructions.
Be aware that there may be adverse legal consequences in your country if you make a false or bad faith allegation of copyright infringement by using this process.
It’s not Youtube’s fault. The issue is the result of antiquated perceptions about managing content from the billionaire dictator Bernie Ecclestone who controls F1.
The 2009 terms of entry (45kb PDF) to the Australian Grand Prix state that:
16. Without limiting any action available to AGPC pursuant to the Australian Grands Prix Act 1994 (Vic) or any amendment thereof, it is a condition of entry to the Event that:
(a) a person cannot make or reproduce or use any film or other form of moving picture, still pictures, photographs or any sound recording or any of them of the Event or any part of it (Footage) for profit, gain, public advertisement, display or for any other purpose except for the private enjoyment of the person making the Footage, without the consent of AGPC, FOM and / or FOA; and
(b) if a person makes or reproduces or uses such Footage of the Event or any part of it with or without the consent of AGPC, that person must on request by AGPC assign, in writing, all copyright and all intellectual property in the Footage to either AGPC, FOM and / or FOA or their assignees as directed by AGPC.
I have a number of things to say about this:
- It is not clear whether section 16 of the Australian Grands Prix Act 1994 (Vic) overrules the federal Copyright Act 1968 (where state and federal law is contradictory, federal law prevails), which would allow me make and post the videos under fair dealings provisions (non-commercial reporting of news or current events).
- I would argue that by allowing me to enter the grounds with a camera, the AGPC implicitly gave me permission to use it to photograph and video the event, and would know that this video may be published online as this is a common and widespread activity.
- Until I receive a request from the AGPC to assign to it copyright and intellectual property rights in the content, it provisionally still belongs to me.
- Therefore, AGPC or FOM cannot legitimately ask Youtube to remove the content it claims it owns when it has made no effort to verify its ownership of the content.
- The proper process would be for FOM to contact Youtube users who publish videos and ask them to include a “© FOM” notice on the video. FOM should develop guidelines and publish them on their website about how amateur content producers can create, share and publish ‘their’ F1 content.
I will be filing a counter notice with Youtube disputing the right of FOM to demand that my videos be removed. The AGPC and FOM have not followed due process and have not allowed natural justice to ensue. They use their wealth and power to bully their loyal and enthusiastic fans.
Amateur photos and videos posted free on the net for free consumption are no threat to the copyright or intellectual property rights of FOM. Viewing free amateur content is not a substitute for paying to view FOM managed content (advertising supported free to air TV, pay TV, DVDs, etc).
These circumstances were discussed two years ago by the F1 Fanatic:
Instead of wasting their time stopping the sports fans from enjoying F1 in a way that does not hurt FOM one iota, they should be working on offering them a high quality, high resolution F1 broadcast over the internet. I’d certainly pay good money for it, because I for one am sick of ITV’s abysmal coverage. (Except for Martin Brundle).
Ditto Channel 10 for cutting off the driver interviews from their live broadcast. You suck! The BBC coverage with Brundle was no better or worse than the ITV coverage from previous years, but I look forward to downloading a HD torrent of the race to watch without the crap Australian advertisements ruining the race. I still have not seen Raikkonen’s crash because it occurred during an ad break, so when I got home from attending the race to watch my digital TV recording of the crash, I could not see it. Channel 10 fail.
FOM could publish the best amateur content on its website and build an online F1 community. But they are stuck in the us and them corporate control model of media. They desperately need to learn about 21st century online social media. The only thing FOM has to gain by its archaic and draconian attitudes and behaviours in relation to the distribution of amateur content is the disdain and contempt of millions of people.
On a final ironic note, I wonder how long it will take the AGPC and FOM to find the videos I posted on Youtube of the 2008 Australian and Singaporean F1 Grands Prix, which have been live for 12 months and 6 months respectively without being censored?