YouTube Cuts Off Video Essayist Following Copyright Complaints

YouTube has cut off Keven B. Lee, a video essayist, following the receipt of three copyright warnings.  While many of the video essays included scenes from the original movies, hundreds of hours of work went into the creation of the essays which include considerable original work.  As Matt Zoller Seitz notes in a post on the issue:

Can a critic argue without clips? Sure. Film criticism has largely done without external accompaniments for a century and can continue to do without them. But it's important to note that clips and still frames have been a central part of cinema studies since its inception. Anyone who's attended a film history or theory course knows how valuable they are. Clips often determine the difference between learning something and truly understanding it. They're quotes from the source text deployed to make a case. Take them away, and you're left with the critic saying, "Well, I can't show you exactly what I mean, so I'll describe it as best I can and hope you believe me."

At issue here is not YouTube – they are just following the DMCA notice-and-takedown system – but rather the DMCA system itself, which regularly demonstrates the chilling effect of taking down content without any analysis of whether there is actually an infringement.

Update: Coverage of this story from TechDirt and Ars Technica.


  1. Ahh, I see the hypocrisy alive and well in today’s economic “bogus times”…

  2. It is getting better – videos with no sound!
    It is getting better:

    Under the headline YouTube Full Of Creepy, Soundless Music Videos, “YouTube has been testing a new way of combating copyright violations on the site,” he says.

    And that’s removing the audio, leaving the video with a, “wasteland of music videos that are creepily silent” as the result.

  3. Unenforcible laws
    This is another example for unenforcible laws. Unenforcible laws are not meant for the masses, but their purpose is to silent the few where the laws’ creators don’t like certain types of speech by someone else.

    Marc Emery is another perfect example.