So, it happened. I never intended to get someone’s entire YouTube account shut down, but that is exactly what happened. I know because it’s so easy in today’s world to obtain a video and to re-upload it yourself, but it doesn’t negate the fact the Intellectual Property laws are still in effect. 
What complicates my situation is the actor that did this was my ex. Normally, I’d have just sent a nice message saying, ‘Hey, I really prefer that you not upload the movie in its entirety to your accounts, so can you please just delete it and link to my copy if the film?”

Being that things are not-so-nice between us, that means no contact at all. What was I supposed to do? Now, YouTube has an automated response that more than 3 Copyright violations means an automatic termination of the entire account.

I have made 2 exceptions of allowing someone else to upload short films I own the copyright to, and that’s because they were the directors and I produced the films. No actor that appears in the movies have the right to take my movies and use them in any way they want. I’m totally cool about using long sections for a reel online, or doing whatever, but NOT the entire movies.

And I would never go to someone else’s movie where I was just a gun for hire and claim copyright ownership, even with the legal loophole. I once shot video for the United States Copyright and Patent Office when they did a seminar in Columbus. What made it interesting was the fact that unless you sign a “Work for Hire” agreement with the producer (aka copyright holder), you own an equal claim to the copyright. Motion pictures are a collaborate creation. By signing a Work for Fire, you are surrendering your claim on that copyright. So even if it’s work you do for FREE ($0), you should sign this agreement to the producer/production company.

I just think it’s incredibly disrespectful to do that work for someone else on their creation then exploit that weakness just to screw them over, no matter what kind of person they are. Even if you don’t sign the WORK FOR HIRE agreement, it is implied and I respect that no matter what.

I had to ask myself, what would I do if this was a stranger, and aside from the aforementioned email, I would have done everything exactly the same, and have several times already in the past. I exercise my rights as the owner of the films a lot. YouTube automatically lets me know if there is an upload that matches my videos, even partially. My policy is always to have it removed.

Honestly, I wasn’t trying to take a stab at my ex. The last thing I needed was another reason to piss her off. I’m so torn inside because I didn’t want to do her harm, nor inhibit her career or anything she’s trying to accomplish. At the same time, without the ability to contact her, the only way to maintain control of my movies was to go via the 3rd party of YouTube.

People agree to a ‘TERMS OF SERVICE’ agreement when they sign up. Why is it when they violate that, they want to blame ME for protecting my rights?

Categories: blog

Peter John Ross

A filmmaker, a dreamer, and the world's only Dan Akroyd Cosplayer


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