By on February 1, 2016

copyright_volkswagen

The Verge has an article today about the arduous process of hoops YouTube makes publishers jump through if a copyright infringement claim is made against a video. It’s an interesting look behind the scenes of video publishing and the tools YouTube makes available to copyright holders wanting to protect intellectual property. It also highlights the lack of human-based recourse publishers have when it comes to hollow copyright claims.

“Fair use” allows limited use of copyrighted material. This is how parodies and satires get around certain legal restraints. Fair use is also why we can use snippets of articles from other outlets, so long as we don’t use those articles in their entirety.

Even further, automakers make materials available for editorial use on their own press portals. This material is offered free of charge by automakers so we can pimp their products. But sometimes they make a mistake and post the wrong thing.

Volkswagen posted the wrong thing. And now our YouTube channel is crippled.

On December 2015, we posted “LEAKED: Volkswagen Might Show This Full TFT Display, Infotainment System at CES (Video)” with a video showcasing Volkswagen’s then-yet-to-be-shown e-Golf Touch infotainment system that the automaker was planning to show at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

At the time, we said this:

“For instance, Volkswagen will give quite a clear glimpse of the latest developments in in-car infotainment that are on the verge of being launched onto the market. This will see innovations such as the Golf R Touch concept car finding their way into Volkswagen’s broad product portfolio,” the automaker said in a statement.

That’s probably possibly what we’re looking at here in a B-roll video made by the automaker obtained by TTAC through less-than-official channels.

However, we actually obtained the video through the most official channel you can get in this business: the automaker’s own website. Volkswagen made an oops and we caught them — just like we caught Volvo’s mistake when they accidentally posted shots of the new S90 too early.

In the case of Volkswagen’s video, the automaker had tools available to them to retaliate. And retaliate they did. We’ve been in YouTube Hell ever since.

Thankfully, we haven’t been as restricted as many of those mentioned in The Verge article, but it’s still now more difficult for us to conduct business. We aren’t a large team. We don’t do many videos. But now the ones we post on YouTube come with extra work because of this mess. We’ve made a counterclaim based on the fact the video was downloaded from Volkswagen’s own media site. Fingers crossed we will get our YouTube channel back in good standing.

Until then, thank you, Volkswagen. Thank you ever so much.

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46 Comments on “Volkswagen AG Broke Our YouTube...”


  • avatar

    When I make videos I want people to hear specific music and ambience. Problem is, copyrighted ambience screws my videos up (even moreso than my shaky filming techniques via iPhone.

    As long as the Monetization keeps delivering over $2000 a month, I’m not complaining.

    VIEWS UP Thumbs Down…

    I only ended up in Youtube HELL once. It’s for the disastrous Hellcat vs. P85D video which p1ssed me off so much that I immediately began to attack the poster. He claimed copyright – and I got a strike for a few months.

    Amazing how that fit of anger spawned my “7 HELLCAT COMMANDMENTS” which went viral and earned big money – as well as being featured on a bunch of professional and unprofessional sites.

    The only way to beat them is to do re-enactments or still shots .

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Looking at your videos I assume that incomes mostly from the car reviews, your video game stuff hasnt faired well (thanks to how saturated gaming videos have become).

      I still think you got luck on that Commandments video, that was a mix of good timing, and the typically lazy journalism we have to endure “I know! I’ll just link a youtube video for this assignment!”.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, my Electronic videos and car videos bring in the longest green.

        Strangely enough, when I get really angry and make a hate-filled rant:

        Veyron vs. Hennessey…Hellcat Rules…

        Those videos take off – as if by magic.

        6 minutes of talking smack in “Veyron vs. Hennessey” created a video that gains over 2000 views per day, over $100 a month and is fast approaching 1 Million views.

        7 Hellcat rules was making $500 a day…

        P85D and P90DL…I gave shout outs to TTAC.

        I’m gonna buy a Mophie so I can go to the NAIAS and just talk a whole load of isht – and then switch over to recharge – when the battery fails to out last the 100 GB capacity.

        In 4K of course.

        My subscribers continues to grow as do my views. My other Youtube channels are doing well too.

  • avatar

    No one cares what their touchscreen-that-works-for-seven-months-’till-it-fries-a-wiring-harness-and-returns-for-warranty-work-four-times-before-the-owner-trades-it-in-at-a-loss-for-an-Accord-Sport looks like.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    TTAC has a Youtube channel?

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    This is why my personal website consists of text and thoroughly-sanitized-of-anyone’s-copyrights pictures I have taken myself. No google image search, no audio or video. I don’t know enough about copyright to protect myself except in the simple way I just described.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Could be worse, could be like youtube circa 2010 where ads werent even a thing, and channels would immediately be banned for strikes (one person was banned just for mentioning Family Guy!).

    What VW did was a bit unnecessary, but it seems that ad revenue and copyright infringement are increasingly more common fears on the internet.

  • avatar

    I’ve had a number of copyright claims made for videos I’ve shot at car events because there’s a DJ playing songs in the background or a car drives by with music playing (the owner of the Blues Brothers’ version of Flip, Flop, Fly made a copyright claim on my Woodward Dream Cruise video with a Bluesmobile replica driving by).

    I challenge them based on fair use and tell YouTube that if I can’t monetize the video because of some incidental music in the background, the owner of that music can’t monetize my own original work. Doesn’t do any good. YouTube wants to accommodate ASCAP & BMI etc.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque

    It’s surprising how slow some copyright holders are to react. There are tons of YouTube channels that haven’t been shut down yet, and still manage to have complete seasons of various TV shows my kids like to watch, with no apparent picture quality generational loss.

    That’s still not as discordant to me as watching some show from the 70’s or 80’s in 1080p on YouTube, because it was mastered on film instead of video tape.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    So they have a YouTube defeat device too?

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    I dont get why they didnt just email someone here? Is it just the way people are these days? Is this just the way social media is?

    I mean how hard is it, “hey Mark or TTAC, this is Hans from VW USA, could you remove this video? Its privileged communication. Thanks”

    Why go the nuclear option as the 1st step?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I don’t understand why YouTube would do anything to you. If VW posted the video and didn’t disable the embedding, then it effectively gave you and everyone else permission to embed it.

    VW’s recourse is to take down the video, which it did. There’s no legitimate copyright claim.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      EDIT: I see that I misunderstood. Since you took the content from VW’s website, then yes, it would be copyright protected unless VW said otherwise, which it didn’t. But I do feel for you, anyway.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    Make this the headline blog, every day. And thank you for reminding me, and others, as to why I wouldn’t want to purchase a Volkswagen.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyJZX

      As if you need another reason not to buy a Volkwagen…

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        1) Crummy reliability, expensive & frequent repairs, and dealers who take advantage of the situation.

        2) Cheating on emissions tests.

        3) DMCA takedown happy legal department.

        Wow. They’re even worse than Comcast and Microsoft as customer-hostile businesses go! At least they can’t use their monopoly power to make me own one again!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Post traumatic VAG syndrome?

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Reminds me of a woman I once dated.

            So many cats.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            “Post traumatic VAG syndrome?”

            Definitely!

            The thing that made it so traumatic was that I really liked car. But, it was a maintenance whore — I got f*cked, and I had to pay for it.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You know, I get that you had a bad experience with Volkswagen and that VW reliability is subpar compared to the best of the Japanese, but you don’t have to mention it several times per day.

          • 0 avatar
            GS 455

            Post traumatic VAG syndrome? VAG group needs to do some Kegel exercises to reduce those embarrassing emissions.

        • 0 avatar
          LeeK

          Again Luke? This is what, your 50th post, about a 2001 Jetta TDI that you bought used in 2006 that wasn’t very reliable? And then project that experience onto every Volkswagen ever made since then?

  • avatar
    05lgt

    They’re like feral ex pets. The only thing they understand is force and violence. I propose the VAG deathwatch.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    So TTAC misrepresented the source of the video to make it’s sources seem more mysterious to readers?

    Why?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      It would seem that VW posted it on its website, perhaps in error. Some unnamed person (whose name you can probably guess based upon the article credit) then copied that video and gave it to TTAC, which then posted the video on YouTube even though VW had already taken it down. Hence, the dispute.

    • 0 avatar

      Honestly, we wanted to obfuscate the source to protect whoever did the errant uploading. Nobody deserves to get fired over this.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Mark,
        One, a you Tube channel who know? Two you guys somewhat added to this issue right, I mean if you said we got this from VW not sure why they posted it early maybe they are busy with some other stuff lately, instead of That’s probably possibly what we’re looking at here in a B-roll video made by the automaker obtained by TTAC through less-than-official channels. would that had made a difference? Maybe this is SOP for TTAC and others I have no idea but it seems to me this is not 100 % on VW, would that be a fair statement or not?

        • 0 avatar
          VCplayer

          Pretty sure TTAC is engaged in journalism, which would mean the video falls under fair use.

          Unfortunately that holds up in court better than it does with YouTube’s army of bots and nonexistent customer service.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I don’t want to say that this is old hat for Volkswagen, but in the early 2000’s I was a member of a small Volkswagen club, and handled their website. While most every other manufacturer appreciated the free advertising that their enthusiasts provided, Volkswagen seemed to relish filing copyright claims against anyone who used their logos, model names, pictures of their vehicles… just about anything that had a sniff of Volkswagen to it. At one point they even had a process you could go through to register your club (and website) with them so they could approve content. Our solution was to remove any VW brand sourced content from the website and go about our days.

    From what I can tell, it doesn’t appear that Volkswagen bothers to do this anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Look at what happened to tdiparts.com and the askavwsalesguy site. VW aggressively goes after what they see as copyright infringers, even if it’s helping them as the askavwsalesguy site was doing.

      They should probably tone it down a bit since they’re kinda screwed in the US at least.


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