Talks with Charli: A YouTube debut pierced by a copyright claim

Talks with Charli: A YouTube debut pierced by a copyright claim

On the night of August 7, after broadcasting and commenting on the presidential inauguration of Gustavo Petro in Colombia, the opinion and political satire channel Charlas con Charli (ChCh) received a copyright sanction on YouTube. 

During the broadcast, ChCh acknowledged the performance of the Colombian women's national team in the Copa América, despite the scant support from the Colombian Soccer Federation, using images of a protest organized by the players during the ceremonial acts of the opening match of the tournament. 

The platforms have copyright detection systems that automatically notify copyright holders - major record labels or TV channels, for example - when someone uses their material. With these tools, rights holders have several options at hand: block the content, keep the potential monetization of the video, or not intervene. In this case, according to the notice that the channel received and appeared on the screen when users wanted to watch the video, Conmebol - to which the broadcasting rights belonged - decided to block it.

YouTube message when trying to watch ChCh's video after being blocked by Conmebol.

In these cases, users have three options: delete the video, file an appeal or delete the questioned fragment. The fragment claimed by Conmebol was merely informative and did not include any play of the match. Therefore, it was covered by fair use, a doctrine that allows the use of protected material without the need to request authorization from the rights holder. ChCh decided to remove the fragment so that the broadcast would be back on the air as soon as possible; these were the key hours when this public interest content would be visited by users.

Creators are exposed to this kind of situation all the time. The case of journalistic publications is even more problematic, because in this context there is a risk that once the content is appealed and retrieved, the information has already lost its relevance, as explained in a report recently published by the Karisma Foundation. Even when this type of video is back online, the system tends to diminish its visibility.

As it was a four and a half hour broadcast, it took almost 24 hours for the video without the questioned fragment to be processed and be back on the air. However, when it was available online, the fragment of the Colombian soccer players' protest was not removed. The copyright claims section of the channel's administration reported that the rights owner had allowed the content to be used on YouTube. So far, the video has been played and accumulated views without inconvenience. It is unclear why the content was ultimately sanctioned and subsequently exonerated. 

After having blocked the video, Conmebol dropped its claim, according to this YouTube message.

* Charlas con Charli is a project of Carlos Cortés, co-founder of Linterna Verde. 

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