VEOH decision about copyright

Its a good day for social media sites – a judge just threw out a case against Veoh (the video sharing site) and ruled that such sites are protected under the safe harbor law provided they do the below things. Copyright is a of concern to anyone running a social media site and this ruling is welcome. Copyright has not been a really big problem for SlideShare. We get the occasional DMCA and act on it immediately. Sometimes content uploaders are really upset when they approach us, but usually calm down after our swift response. We are lucky that the content owners in question are not the music companies!

TechCrunch’s analysis of the ruling is that as long as video sharing sites (and I am extending that to presentation sharing sites) do below, they are protected under safe harbord provision.

– Let users know that they should not upload copyrighted material. (we point this out)
-Act immediately DMCA takedown notices (we try to respond within 24 hours)
-Use technology to detect copyrighted material (we dont do that, but we do have community flagging mechanisms for pointing out copyrighted materials)
-Control infringing users, especially repeat offenders. (we do this)
-Most importantly, the court ruled that sites don’t need to check every video. This is important – there is no way we could check every file that is uploaded.
-Most of the content should be non-infringing (this is definitely true for us – we receive complaints for a very small proportion of content – much less than 1%)

Marketing department uploads, legal department serves takedown notice

This just happened. A big company approached us with a take down notice for a few slideshows. We responded and suspended the slideshows. The people who had uploaded protested. Turns out they were from the same company as the “big company” except from the marketing department. I see this happening again and again. Individuals from big companies want to embrace SlideShare (often web-savvy individuals, folks from marketing depts). The Legal and IT depts want to hold them back. Legal because they want every action to go through a set of legal hoops. IT because they have the “Made inhouse” syndrome and think they can build inhouse whatever web tool people are using outside.

Size and diffusion of responsibility already make it hard for corporations to be nimble and agile. Legal and IT depts make them even more backward thinking than they already are. Yes, both have their uses, but they don’t get the web, and especially how the consumer web has changed things for the enterprise by changing the individuals inside it.