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Help, facebook took down my video due to copyright infringement!

Posted by Steve Vondran | Aug 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

What can you do if facebook pulled down your video?


Recently over the weekend I was hanging out with friends in Newport Beach.  We pulled up our “facebook live” application and started shooting a video to test out their software.  We were just having fun and trying to see how the application worked.  A song was playing in the background “People are Strange” by the Doors and we had some fun and posted the video.  Once we were done, I think we immediately got almost a 100 page views, but the next day I received this notice below from facebook:

Apparently, because the song is “copyrighted” this was in essence deemed to be infringing of the music.  However, as you can tell from the notice above, defenses such as creating a “transformative work” (using the song as a newport beach lounging tune), or deeming such use to be a “fair use” of the copyrighted song apparently do not get considered by facebook (at least as far as I can tell).  At any rate, facebook does appear to offer you a method of challenging the finding and to seek to get the video reposted.  This might be helpful, for example, where you took a lot of time to make a really popular video only to see it taken down the next day.  So this blog discusses their general process if you want to make a challenge to this.

NOTE: this general process can also apply to seeing ads on the side of a facebook page that infringe a companies copyrights or trademarks.  For example, this is what they say about trademarks:

If we remove your content because of a trademark claim, you'll receive a warning from Facebook that includes the contact information of the person or company who made the report. If you believe the content should not have been removed, you can follow up with them directly to try to resolve the issue. You may also be able to contact Facebook if you believe the content should not have been removed. In that event, we'll include instructions for how to contact us in the warning message we send you.

Listen to Attorney Steve discuss copyright takedown notices on Facebook

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Facebook appeals process following take down notice

Here is what their website says in regard to copyright take down notices:

“When we receive a report from someone claiming that content on the site infringes their copyright, we may need to immediately remove that content from Facebook without contacting you first. If we remove your content because of a copyright claim, you'll receive a warning from Facebook that includes the contact information of the person or company who made the report and/or the contents of the report. If you believe the content should not have been removed, you can follow up with them directly to try to resolve the issue. If the content was removed under the notice and counter-notice procedures of the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), then you will be able to file a DMCA counter-notification. If that is the case, you will also receive further instructions about this process in the warning you receive from Facebook.”

Here is more information from facebook regarding counter-notification under the DMCA:

“When we receive an effective DMCA counter-notification, we promptly forward it to the reporting party. If the reporting party does not notify us that they have filed an action seeking a court order to restrain you from engaging in infringing activity on Facebook related to the material in question within 10-14 business days, we will promptly restore eligible content under the DMCA.”

What happens if you are caught infringing copyrights on facebook?

You could always end up being sued in federal court for willful copyright infringement which carries a $150,000 potential damages penalty.  Also, according to facebook:

“It's our policy to disable the accounts of people who repeatedly infringe others' intellectual property rights when appropriate. Please make sure that all content you've posted and will post in the future doesn't violate or infringe the rights of others.”

Losing your account rights on a social media website like facebook is never a good thing, especially if you are like me and you run multiple “fan pages.”  So for me, I learned my lesson, no facebook “live” posts with music playing in the background.  This hurts a little bit as it cuts out some great movie scenes that could even help the artist.  For example, many young kids have never heard epic bands like Queen, Def Leppard, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd (ex. “Time” song), Doors, and many others.  Now if I am riding my bike down the boardwalk on any beach in America, Europe, Canada, or Australia, if some skateboarder comes behind me with the song blaring he or she may have just ruined my great video because now I cannot hit the “POST” button to publish the video.

This is why the copyright concept of “fair use” becomes so important, and why I wish facebook would provide a short analysis in their software algorithms to explain specifically why the fair use defense DOES NOT APPLY, at least so we would know.  Till then, I guess we can always dream, but we do have to be careful.

Our internet, technology and social media services

Our intellectual property and technology law firm can help you with digital disputes such as the following:

1. Copyright legal issues (ex. infringement notices)

2. Fair use defense (counter-notification / youtube content ID disputes)

3.  Parody defense

4.  Music law (Blast My Tunes)

5.  Video law

6. DMCA take down notices

7.  Copyright character licensing

8.  Privacy law (ex. unwanted photos posted online, drone privacy invasions, minor photos)

9.  Right of publicity

10. Software law (mobile applications, software audits, ebay & etsy disputes)

Contact a Social Media & Entertainment Law Firm

To get help, call us at (877) 276-5084.  Unlike most firms, we offer low flat rate legal fees for many of our non-litigation services.   We can help you challenge a take down of a song, music, or video from facebook, vimeo, or youtube or other social media website.  We are a copyright and IP law firm with offices in San Francisco, Newport Beach, Phoenix, San Diego, and Beverly Hills.  We accept federal trademark and copyright cases nationwide.

About the Author

Steve Vondran

Thank you for viewing our blogs, videos and podcasts. As noted, all information on this website is Attorney Advertising. Decisions to hire an attorney should never be based on advertising alone. Any past results discussed herein do not guarantee or predict any future results. All blogs are written by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise indicated. Our firm handles a wide variety of intellectual property and entertainment law cases from music and video law, Youtube disputes, DMCA litigation, copyright infringement cases involving software licensing disputes (ex. BSA, SIIA, Siemens, Autodesk, Vero, CNC, VB Conversion and others), torrent internet file-sharing (Strike 3 and Malibu Media), California right of publicity, TV Signal Piracy, and many other types of IP, piracy, technology, and social media disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337


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