I am pleased to report that I have won my copyright dispute with Formula 1 Management (FOM) over the copyright and intellectual property rights to spectator videos made at the 2009 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix. All the wealth, power and arrogance of FOM has been beaten by one belligerent blogger who doesn’t even have a law degree. What does this say about Bernie Ecclestone’s corporate media managers? They’re clueless dinosaurs.
To celebrate, I’ve embedded the two videos below. When you see how innocuous they are, it becomes obvious that FOM’s desperation have them banned is ridiculous and pointless.
I recorded these videos at the 2009 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, held in Melbourne Australia on Sunday 29 March 2009, and posted them on Youtube. I’m a citizen journalist and hyperlocal publisher, and I was planning to write a review of the Grand Prix with my own videos embedded in it. I publish under a non-commercial creative commons license and make no money from my site.
Before I was able to publish the race review post containing the videos, the videos were removed from Youtube by Youtube’s copyright team because of a copyright violation claim they received from FOM and/or the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC).
FOM claims to own the worldwide copyright and intellectual property rights to all content, no matter who creates it, that features F1 cars or F1 events. I believe that under Australian copyright law and the laws governing the staging of the Australian F1 Grand Prix, FOM’s claims have no legal foundation.
Youtube removed my videos at FOM’s request without verifying whether FOM owns the copyright or intellectual property rights in them. I filed a counter notice stating that, until FOM or the AGPC requests that I assign the copyright and intellectual property rights of the videos to them and receives my consent, I own the videos and FOM has no authority to request their removal.
I also stated that FOM has acted in a bullying and unethical manner in using its corporate wealth and power to have my videos removed from Youtube when it has lo legal right to do so.
The Youtube copyright staff are polite and professional and answer email correspondence promptly. They told me that, once a counter notice refuting a case of content removal is received by them and forwarded to the complainant, they give the complainant 10 days to notify Youtube whether the complainant plans to take further legal action against the person who posted the contested content.
By the time I learned this fact, the 10 day period was almost over. A few days later, Youtube informed me that it had not heard back from FOM, and that it would reinstate my videos, which are now available.
The status of many other videos of the same race taken by other spectators remains unclear. Australian video makers should contact Youtube and demand that their videos be reinstated immediately based on the legal argument I presented in my original post.
Fans in other countries should investigate the legislation that establishes the Grand Prix in their country (if applicable) and the details of their copyright legislation. They may find that the FOM case is insubstantial and invalid in many jurisdictions other than Australia.
At least within Australia, I have demonstrated that FOM and the AGPC falsely claim to own content created by spectators. FOM attempts to use its power to bully and harass spectators and to stop spectators from freely sharing the videos they have made and which they own.
Making enemies of your customers, as FOM has done here, sounds like a definition of commercial suicide to me. FOM’s arrogance and indifference to the copyrights of F1 fans may cost them in the future as social media becomes ubiquitous.
Bernie Ecclestone obviously needs someone to educate him and FOM about social media and citizen journalism. He should be including social media techniques in all F1 and FOM communications. FOM should hire me as their new director of F1 social media. Bernie, give me a call and let’s talk terms…