28 January, 2013

Youtube suspends copyright holder

Youtube has just suspended a friend's account for copyright violation.
The problem is: the person whose account was suspended actually owns the copyrght, being the exclusive producer of the DVDs in question.

What is particularly interesting is Youtube's procedure to correct the problem.
In this instance, Youtube sent a warning notice some months ago. The subscriber responding, filling in the appropriate online forms and got an automated response.
There the matter should have ended. Not so. A couple of days ago, his account was simply removed. Since the account is now closed, he no longer has access to the complaints resolution forms.

Impossible situations like this are becoming increasingly common with the growth of e-business. I had a couple of run-ins myself with Ebay a few years back, with a variety of issues like items removed, accounts and billing problems. What became clear was that it was impossible to deal with a single person. In the case of billing problems, although it was possible to send emails, each one went to a different person who had no knowledge of the previous correspondence. In the case of items removed, there was simply no way of informing anyone. that the items were entirely legitimate. I even tried resorting to including a statement in very large letters on the object description, stating that this was a legitimate item. But all to no avail.

All this is only symptomatic, a bit like the endless voice menus in automated calling systems. But there are already signs of public backlash. Companies may then respond and improve the situation. Of course this would be on purely business grounds. But I suspect the wait will be long indeed.

Update 10 March:
Youtube reinstated the account in mid  February with no explanation other than to say it had reconsidered the matter. But the traffic counter was down to zero and the channel had lost all of its subscribers.
Then in early March Youtube suspended another of the same person's channels.

What is clearly missing is some way for the user to communicate with Youtube. Ironic in this particular sector.