NASA Talks to NMR About Their Flagged YouTube Mars Landing Video

Last night’s landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars after its “seven minutes of terror” was yet another achievement by NASA in its ambitious quest to find life on the red planet.

Cheers erupted at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena where staffers hugged and cheered the moment the rover made contact to mission control for the first time. It was like an Olympic moment for the thousands of people who helped make this mission possible and the thousands more who watched it all live.

However, if you wanted to see that joyous moment on NASA’s official YouTube immediately after, it was unfortunately blocked due to a frivolous copyright claim by Scripps Local News. Are you kidding me? NASA’s own video (which, by the way, is in public domain) on their own channel got taken down by a private company?

Unfortunately, it’s true. Viewers who wanted to see that beautiful moment got this message: “This video contains content from Scripps Local News, who has blocked it on copyright grounds. Sorry about that.” Luckily, it has been reversed, and anyone can see the Mars Rover Curiosity landing moment for themselves.

Bob Jacobs, Deputy Associate Administrator for NASA’s Office of Communications, told NMR that this flagging is nothing new to them and that companies do that so they can place advertising on their content.

He said:

“We’ve approached YouTube for some sort of general clearance that would keep organizations from placing copyright claims to content that is clearly paid for by the American taxpayer. So far, we haven’t seen any difference.”

Jacobs added that the automated process in flagging copyright claims has made it problematic for NASA since private companies and news organizations throw them all the time. It’s because this was during a historic moment that it’s become more prominent.

He said, “When you have a system that relies so much on automation, you’re going to have problems. What we would like to see is some enforcement on companies that continue to copyright content that is not theirs – perhaps a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule. That would force organizations to pay close attention to filing copyright claims. The companies have automated systems and YouTube manages it with automation.

What’s missing is a little common sense and until that is introduced into the process we’ll be forced to plead our case one video at a time.”

Here’s hoping that YouTube gets its act together the next time NASA or other non-profit, governmental organizations post stuff on their own channel while opportunistic news organizations claim copyright.

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