A video called “Buffy vs Edward” is giving us a clear view of the abuse of power afforded to movie studios over videos at Youtube. “Buffy vs Edward” is the creation of Jonathan McIntosh, who remixed parts of Buffy the Vampire slayer tv series and scenes from the Twilight movie series into a new creative work in 2009. The remix has been viewed over 3 million times, has been nominated for an award, and has been the subject of many articles regarding stalking behavior and its romanticized portrayal in tv and movies. The video was specifically named by the US Copyright office as an example of a fair use “transformative noncommercial video work” in regard to exemptions to the DMCA.
Despite that history and the video’s clear fair use protection, Lionsgate movie studio has twice decided to remove it from view at Youtube. It seems Lionsgate bought the rights to the Twilight series movies in 2012, and they are anxious to “monetize” any use of this franchise.
Mr. McIntosh’s story is one of frustration dealing with Lionsgate, who repeatedly ignored his fair use defense. Youtube sided entirely with the movie studio in this months long struggle, shutting down McIntosh’s account at Youtube and forcing him to attend an online “copyright awareness school” and take a test on copyright issues, despite the fact that he has been lecturing on the subject for years. This reinstated his account, but did not end the struggle with Lionsgate.
As it stands now, Mr. McIntosh has filed a DMCA counter-notification, following the advice of his lawyers, and Lionsgate will either have to allow the video back on Youtube within two weeks or sue him in court.
Very few have the tenacity to fight the movie studios in this manner, but this is one story worth knowing on how movie studios operate at popular video sites.
You can read the entire story at Ars Technica