UPDATE 08/13/2013 1:15 pm: Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos got back to us in the comments section of this article (see below). However, you can check out George’s response here:
“This is a simple example of Fullscreen protecting the copyrights of our partners. The compilation video in question used a clip from one of our partners without permission. I’m sure you can understand that creators often do not want their videos being used (and in this case monetized) without permission. The compilation uploader ultimately removed the unauthorized clip and reposted the video. Problem solved.”
Last week, a Vine compilation uploaded to YouTube took the web by storm, but just as it was reaching the height of popularity, the video was pulled down by YouTube, citing “a copyright claim by Fullscreen 2.” The compilation was reuploaded by a separate YouTube channel later the same day, however its original iteration is still down.
At the time of the copyright violation, website Gizmodo described the claim as “the work of a copyright troll.” With the “troll” clearly sharing the same name as YouTube multi-channel network Fullscreen, is it possible that Fullscreen — a multi-million dollar network — is unjustly pulling down videos or working with a broken content ID system?
A query of “Fullscreen 2” yields few results aside from the Fullscreen website and a Google product forum where users have chimed in on experiences they’ve had with Fullscreen 2. Among the forums, the most highly-cited example of Fullscreen 2 claiming copyright violation is on CopperCab video “Gingers Do Have Souls.” However, the copyright claim seems to have since been reversed.
“They [Fullscreen 2] have also claimed my video… this is ME and i own ALL rights to the video,” writes one forum user. So, what is happening here?
In terms of the aforementioned popular Vine compilation, the video could have been pulled simply because a Fullscreen partner was featured in it. However, given that all of these clips are from Vine, some legal grey area applies. The compilation’s original uploader writes: “My video got deleted again and I’m not exactly sure why it wasnt [sic] just age restricted but ill [sic] upload a new video soon.” In a second update, the uploader hints at possible copyright-protected material, saying “Vine video will be back shortly with copyrighted material removed!”
The term “copyright troll” seems strangely out of place in this situation as its original meaning denotes that the troll enforces such copyrights for a financial benefit. In the news lately, a company called Personal Audio has claimed they own the patent on podcast technology. With this, Personal Audio is taking several prominent podcaster to court. However, as many of these podcasts are independent, Personal Audio’s overall gain seems to come via settlements from podcasters who cannot afford litigation costs.
In the case of Fullscreen 2, they do not seem to be seeking any type of legal ramification, which suggests that this could be the work of an occasionally malfunctioning content ID system. YouTube, even backed with the full force of Google, has been accused of running an imperfect content ID program. These types of mistakes are all too common when it comes to dealing with millions of hours of video uploaded, and in Fullscreen’s case, by hundreds of partners.
Taking a step back, although this so-called “copyright troll” has the name Fullscreen 2, there is no official word on whether Fullscreen 2 is actually the product of network Fullscreen. We reached out to Fullscreen for confirmation or otherwise and have yet to hear back from them. We will update with more information as it comes in.
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