2

I was about to buy some tales for reference purpose. Usually, I like to look for more information about the things I buy. Simply, by copying and pasting a title into a search engine, I found a YouTube video in which a mother enjoys reading the same tale to her preschooler. The problem is, it's clearly a copyright infringement as the book is not in public domain (published in less 5 years) and that every single page of the book is shown in the video.

Later, I discovered that actually all videos (a dozen) of that channel have copyright infringement issue for the aforementioned reason. As far I understand, YouTube makes it as it's none of my business as long as I'm not the copyright holder (and they are certainly right legally). But as a consumer and a future writer, I'm unhappy with this situation for obvious reasons.

If it was a single video, I would have contacted the channel owner or the publisher/author of the book and let them decide. If the copyright infringement was in a larger scale, I would have contacted the local authorities in charge of IP issues. Now it seems impractical to contact every publisher/author. What can I do in this situation?

As a side note,

  • All books come from the same country;
  • The channel owner may or may not be resident in the above country.
6
  • 1
    One thing you won't get from LawSE is legal advice.
    – Rock Ape
    Jul 29 at 11:24
  • @RockApe Yeah, I know that, it's a misuse of the word "advice" here (English is my third language). Otherwise, how would you call the answers of Law.SE, Informal opinions ? Jul 29 at 12:52
  • @FirminMartin "Legal advice" has a rather specific meaning to those in that sector - which is why LawSE explicitly doesn't provide it, but is instead an educational resource on legal topics. I have to say I'm dubious that your question is on topic here though - I've sent a message to the Law mods to see if it's suitable for their site, if so I can migrate it. Jul 29 at 12:57
  • @motosubatsu Thanks for contacting them. I know the meaning of "legal advice" as pointed above. I just employed the meaning of the two words separately without paying more attention. After all, they provide advices, but not "legal advices". Will remove the term ASAP... Jul 29 at 13:05
  • 1
    @FirminMartin yeah it's tough on us laymen when the colloquial and the "technical" terms differ :( I remember once a solicitor friend-of-a-friend wrote up some info for me and despite being a full two pages of useful info telling me exactly what I needed to do and how to do it they still had to put "This does not constitute legal advice" at the top in big bold letters! :) Jul 29 at 13:10
1

There are no "local authorities in charge of IP issues", at least not in the US and not in any country that I am aware of. Copyright enforcement is a matter of private civil suits, except for those few bulk infringements that warrant criminal charges.

Note that you do not know if this is infringement or not. It is possible that the YouTube channel operator obtained permission from the copyright holder for these videos using the copyrighted works. It may be unlikely, but it is possible.

Only a copyright holder or a holder's agent can file a takedown notice or file suit for infringement. (In some cases a copyright holder grants to a licensee the right to bring suit on the holder's behalf. This most often occurs when an exclusive license for a geographic territory is granted.)

You can inform the website operator if the site provides any mechanism for doing so. But many large sites by policy ignore any such notices that do not claim to be from the holder. YouTube is, I believe, such a site.

You could notify the author directly (if you can find contact info for the author) or the publisher as the author's agent.

You could post on your own site or social media page a comment that these videos appear to be infringements. That might let the holder and perhaps, cause the site to consider action. It might also influence some people. But be careful in making factual statements that you cannot be sure of or cannot prove. Otherwise you might face a defamation action from the channel operator, particularly if the operator in fact has permission from the holder.

1
  • You're right, there is "administration in charge of IP" in that country (not US), but not designed for reporting copyright infringement. You made a good point about permission: it looks highly unlikely, but no one really know except the channel owner, the copyright holder and the publisher. Accepted this answer as it provides information I would not think about. Jul 29 at 17:56
4

You can report it to the publisher(s)

Protection of copyright is a matter for the individual rights holder: some (I’m looking at you Disney) are vigilant, thorough and draconian in protecting their rights, others don’t care at all.

Unless you are the rights holder it’s none of your business. In much the same way that the guy charging your neighbour for 4 hours gardening but being long gone in 2 isn’t. If you like your neighbour or feel duty bound to do something, you tell them and then leave it to them what they do with it.

This is not a matter for the authorities as it doesn’t rise to the level of criminal copyright infringement. Just like the gardener above, this isn’t a crime.

1

Nothing prevents you from reporting suspected copyright violation to the website operator. The copyright owner has a special legal status, because he and he alone can follow the rules for DMCA takedown, whereby a legal notice of a very specific form is filed with the website operator, swearing under penalty of perjury, that certain things are true, one of which is that they are the copyright holder. As an interested party, you can't file that notice. The law quasi-requires them to pay attention to all such well-formed notices, but no law requires them to ignore other notices, that is a matter of company policy. All major social media companies follow the practice of ignoring non-DMCA notices, but some smaller companies (often with a political agenda) also pay attention to "interested user" notices.

1

Thanks for the answers. I write mine for completeness.

This post from New Media Rights provides almost all information I need. Here are the relevant paragraphs:

YouTube does not have a policy of removing a copyright infringing video if reported by someone other than the copyright owner. Even if you simply intend on being a Good Samaritan and reporting infringement as you find it, YouTube does not accept third party notifications.

They suggest that you should direct the copyright owner here, so the copyright owner him or herself can file the complaint. This is because the site doesn't have a legal obligation to do anything about the video when someone else other than the copyright holder complains about a video. This is because the law gives the copyright holder the sole right to enforce his or her copyrights.

Although this seems counterproductive to cleaning up all the infringement that happens on YouTube, if YouTube did take action against videos complained about by third parties, it could lead to more legal complications for YouTube than if it simply allowed infringement to remain on the service until copyright holder finds it.

To clarify a bit, although it's none of my business to report such copyright infringements, I still feel concerned as the industry of picture book in that country is dying. I would probably ignore these videos if they involved bestsellers.

I finally followed my initial thought that other answers also suggested: I have contacted the involved publishers. Fortunately, all videos titles contain the publisher name, so I was able to compile a list of publisher emails relatively quickly. Concretely, among the 13 publishers, there were 4 for which I could not find any email:

  • 2 don't have a website at all;
  • 1 has a buggy contact form;
  • 1 doesn't have any email or contact form.

They do have a telephone number, but it's obviously not practical to make an international call for that. In the end, I sent a general email in which I put every publisher in BCC and let them decide to file a takedown notice or to leave it as it is.

I will update the answer later if I receive any answer from publishers.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.