Lessig immediately filed a counter-notice with YouTube, and the audio was restored earlier today. Open Video Alliance General Coordinator Ben Moskowitz called the incident “cosmic irony,” adding that problems like these wouldn’t be that much of an issue if the online video world wasn’t as centralized as it currently is.
Lessig was invited by the Open Video Alliance to talk about Fair Use and the politics of online video, and his talk got streamed in real time to some 40 public screenings across the U.S.. Part of Lessig’s talk dealt with examples for what Lessig has been calling the remix culture: YouTube users mashing up songs and videos to provide commentary and become part of Internet memes.
This practice is protected by Fair Use exemptions to U.S. copyright, but Lessig has pointed out that these rights are under attack – and YouTube involuntarily assisted him in making his point by taking down the audio section of the talk. The take-down was the work of YouTube Content ID system, a technology that scans videos for songs submitted by rights holders. Content ID currently contains over a million reference files, and one of those IDs related to a song owned by Warner Music that was used for a few seconds in Lessig’s video. Warner had instructed to take down any content with that song, and the site automatically disabled the audio of his talk as a result.