My project (EditVideoBot) is an automated 'Twitter bot' program that allows users to edit videos within Twitter (they can add music to the video, or their own text, etc). My first account I ran this project on was suspended at 31,000 followers after being pursued by UMG and Sony with their DMCA complaints, regarding music that my program added to some videos.
I'm just a 15 year old student developer, but I'm looking to find out what I can do in order to prevent things like this from happening. It seems that everything I've tried hasn't worked.
I should also note that this isn't a commercial project, it's just a hobby of mine.
Here's what I've tried so far:
- Submitting DMCA counter-notices to Twitter
In these counter notices, I've given all the required statements, as well as extra detail into their Fair Use Policy, explaining that my program is compliant with all the points detailed at that link.
Twitter says the following in their emails when they confirm they've received my counter-notice and forwarded it to the complainant:
If we don’t receive a notice from the complainant within 10 business days, we’ll cease withholding the material. The complainant’s notice must confirm that they’ve sought a court order to restrain you from engaging in infringing activity relating to content on Twitter.
In every case where I've received this email, I have never received a further notice from the complainant, but Twitter never ceased withholding the material after 10 business days either. I receive no further communications from both Twitter and the complainant.
There's no proper formal way for me to directly contact Twitter that I know of - communication is basically one-way.
- Contacting the complainant directly
This turned out very bad. Not only did I receive no reply back from them, they then appeared to increase the number of DMCA complaints my account got. I was receiving at least 5 complaints a day from then on - way faster than I could counter them.
Within a matter of days after contacting them, my account was just automatically suspended by Twitter - no way to counter it, nothing. I tried submitting counter-notices after my account's suspension, but I never even received a single email back.
So I have 2 questions:
Am I in the right here? I clearly have no commercial or malicious intent to violate copyright laws. The material uploaded by the program is very short and insubstantial. Everything it uploads has zero impact on the original work's value.
It's pretty easy to tell that just by visiting my account and looking at its content.
What further action can I take in order to prevent this from happening in the future (and perhaps get my original account back)?
I've just added a feature that automatically processes the audio to check if it contains proper music, and then gives credit to the record label it belongs to. Would that help in mitigating further complaints?
AFAIK, Fair Use isn't a law, so I'm not sure I can counter the takedowns based on that.
What else can I do? It's pretty crappy that they're trying to ruin someone's fun hobby while actual PIRACY is so rampant. There has to be something I can do.
I appreciate any advice. Thanks in advance!
I don't see why my program would be considered a 'piracy tool' when a program such as
youtube-dl (which is in fact the tool my program utilises in order to download music) is able to successfully be reinstated after a DMCA complaint from the RIAA.
Doesn't that program enable users to download copyrighted material from YouTube and other sites? Just because a tool could potentially be used to violate the DMCA, does that mean it can get taken down? Not in
youtube-dl's case, and I don't see a difference with mine.
How could anything helping users to add music not be used to facilitate adding without consent?
I like what @josh3736 referenced (from the Betamax case) and I think it's a good response:
the business of supplying the equipment that makes such copying feasible should not be stifled simply because the equipment is used by some individuals to make unauthorized reproductions of respondents' works....
EditVideoBot is an automated program that automatically edits videos based on commands provided by other Twitter users that mention the account - I am providing the service, other people operate and produce the material with it. I don't see why I need to take the fall.
Is my program not just one that provides a video editing service? It's purpose is not to infringe on any laws.
I just got my first ever reply back from Twitter saying they ceased withholding a video from my account!
Maybe Twitter's counter-notice process is just really slow, but hopefully this means that I get more soon!