Copyright takes down YouTube Mars footage

Big Content has ordered a takedown of dramatic footage from the Mars Curiosity landing from YouTube.

A news agency claimed that the tax payer funded probe footage belongs to it and put out a takedown notice on YouTube to ban the film from NASA’s official page.

Motherboard’s Alex Pasternack spotted that an hour or so after Curiosity’s 1.31am landing in Gale Crater, NASA’s main YouTube channel had posted a 13-minute excerpt of the stream. Ten minutes later the video had been taken down by a news agency claiming that NASA was a pirate and that all of its Martian bases are belong to them.

YouTube said that the video contained content from Scripps Local News, which has blocked it on copyright grounds.

Pasternack points out that the takedown notice boils down to a $2.5 billion taxpayer funded NASA project, shown on a NASA-made public domain video, posted on NASA’s official YouTube channel, was blocked because of a copyright claim from a private news service.

A spokesperson for the Scripps News Service later apologised for what they said was an accidental takedown.

Michele Roberts said that it had made a mistake and reacted as quickly as possible to make the video viewable again. But it is curious how anyone could have thought they owned the footage in the first place, and just how someone got away with making such an obviously bogus claim.

This is not the first time that NASA footage has been blocked by way of copyright antics. Bob Jacobs, NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Communications, said such claims happen once a month, and tend to be more common with popular videos.

Scripps has claimed it owned a video of one of NASA’s Space Shuttles being flown atop a 747.

Sometimes if the videos are not blocked they get slapped with ads from the fraudulent claimant, the NASA spokesperson said.

Jacobs said that it has been working with YouTube to avoid the automatic disabling of videos. So far, it hasn’t helped.

It seems that there are some who are attempting to play YouTube’s system – trying to get as much content taken offline as possible.

One user’s video of foraging for salad in a field was taken down because the media company Rumblefish claimed to own the birdsong.

This sparked complaints that YouTube’s system is heavily biased in favour of complainants and is ignoring “fair use” provisions.

After Google and YouTube has been under attack for so long, it must feels it’s safer to give them what they want without asking too many questions – if any at all.