Blog on

Illegal Videos

All of my videos on are uploaded to YouTube and then displayed on my site using the YouTube API. This works well since it allows me to deliver the videos through Flash so that they can play on the majority of computers and reduces the bandwidth usage on my site, while the loss in quality is not a big issue since the videos are not exactly stunning works of art!

However, in the last year I have had three videos removed by YouTube for copyright infringement under the DMCA.


The three videos are all of outdoor sporting events filmed as a spectator: two of motor racing at Brands Hatch in England and one of the Red Bull Air Race over San Francisco. I have uploaded the three videos to Vimeo for reference, although I do not know how long they will last before being asked to be removed:

Email Notification Of Infringement

The videos were up on YouTube for a few months before I received an email saying the two motor racing videos were being removed at the request of ITV and another email a few months later saying the Red Bull Air Race video was being removed at the request of IMG Media.

The emails were all the same with just the third-party and video changed. Here is what the Red Bull Air Race email said:

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 IMG Media claiming that this material is infringing:

Red Bull Air Race

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 avoid future strikes against your account, 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.

Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification may be subject to liability.

The copyright tips contain some examples of copyrighted content and this is most likely the one that applies to my videos:

Videos of live concerts, even if you captured the video yourself

Even if you took the video yourself, the performer controls the right to use his/her image in a video, the songwriter owns the rights to the song being performed, and sometimes the venue prohibits filming without permission, so this video is likely to infringe somebody else’s rights.

What Is The Point?

So it appears as though legally the third-parties are in the right in asking YouTube to remove these videos, but my question is what is the point? None of the videos is longer than 90 seconds and the quality is not great so I do not think anybody is really going to be watching these instead of the television footage.

Surely the more likely scenario is that someone might see these clips and think that touring car racing or the Red Bull Air Race looks cool and maybe they will check it out the next time it is on television or live in their area. By removing these videos it seems to me that they are just removing free advertising for their product.

Hopefully media companies will wake up to the possibilities of online video, but in the meantime I guess I’ll just have to stick to videos of cats like this one from Abby:

Chris Pederick

The conversation on this post is powered by webmentions and Comments on Instagram are pulled back using Bridgy.