Once on youtube, always on youtube?
November 3, 2009 8:53 PM   Subscribe

How to remove a video featuring myself from Youtube or Myspace. Put otherwise: do I have any rights to this?

I emailed Myspace to remove a video that profiles me and that was used for marketing for a college I used to work for. Their bot promptly responded with requests for information re: copyright. I did not create this video, but as far as I know, I did not sign away any rights to it (at the time, I cooperated with the making of this rather cheesy, now embarrasing work). Am I just going to have to live with this? I would link to the video in question, but I rather far too google-able as it is right now....
posted by bumpkin to Law & Government (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What country was the college in?
posted by chris p at 9:11 PM on November 3, 2009

Response by poster: Canada
posted by bumpkin at 9:15 PM on November 3, 2009

In the US, you'd be out of luck. You don't own the copyright, as you didn't make it. Being in the film is irrelevant.

However, Canada may have different copyright laws--although I doubt it. Or, it may have likeness laws, which protect the commercial exploitation of your likeness.

Short of a lawsuit, I think you'll have trouble finding recourse for this.

Lawyer up.
posted by Netzapper at 10:23 PM on November 3, 2009

I think your best course of action is to ask the university, pretty please with sugar on top, to pull back the video.

But I think you have no grounds to demand that they do so.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:25 PM on November 3, 2009

If you used to work for the University, they may have had you sign a release at some point, perhaps when they profiled you. If you didn't sign a release -- well people ask for them for a reason. In some U.S. states it's illegal to use people in promotional material without their consent.
posted by delmoi at 12:48 AM on November 4, 2009

If you didn't sign a release -- well people ask for them for a reason.

Basically, it's a cover-your-ass. And, in my understanding, actually has more to do with dispelling libel and slander cases, and with proving that they had your permission to take the recording, than it does with copyright.

All the model release forms I've used have, essentially, consisted of a statement of copyright laws (I own this, not you), have said that I could use it for whatever I wanted (including editing it to make you look like an idiot), and indicated that the subject was receiving a one-time payment (or nothing at all) regardless of how much mad cash I made.

But, the OP should look up likeness protection laws. Those are her best bet. Here's what the oh-so-infallible wikipedia says on the matter.
posted by Netzapper at 1:05 AM on November 4, 2009

Those are her his best bet, rather.
posted by Netzapper at 1:06 AM on November 4, 2009

I bet if you read through your contract, it'd say something about signing away your rights to stuff like that. The college I went to did, I imagine that working for one would be similar.
posted by InsanePenguin at 9:46 AM on November 4, 2009

I hate to point out that once something is on the internet, it's nearly impossible to "take it down." Someone's probably already copied it and passed it on, especially if it's embarrassing to you.

I'm not sure how it is in Canada, but I believe that since you agreed to be in it, I'm pretty sure that's a verbal contract, and if you "acted" your part, it would be obvious that your participation was voluntary. I don't think there's anything you can do but maybe ask the college to maybe take it down.
posted by patheral at 12:58 PM on November 4, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks folks. I'm actually still on quite good terms with the college and it looks like I will get cooperation from them.

I recognized that that was my first line. However, I asked the question because of curiousty. Is copyright law or practice relevant here? What is the extent of my leverage for persuading the carriers (Youtube, myspace) to pull it on my behalf.

I signed no contract that had any language at all related to this sort of thing. In the early days, as a start up, we weren't very organized and this sort of detail eluded people.

I recognize that once on the internet, forever on the internet. However, just having it no longer carried by the main channels of distribution would be nice.
posted by bumpkin at 3:07 PM on November 4, 2009

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