What do you do when you have a multi-million dollar embarrassment of a film? Why issue take copyright notices on anything and everything that has the film’s name on it, whether or not it make sense. As if the flack it received for the “Pixels” wasn’t enough, now Columbia Pictures is reported to be behind a series of DCMA-induced removal of Video content. The alleged crime? Only that said videos have the word “pixels” in them. Nevermind if they’re not even related to the film.
DCMA takedown notices have been for years waved like magic wands by copyright holders and trolls to get some online content removed from existence. In a lot cases, those sites comply just to avoid legal expenses. Sometimes, however, action is overzealous and unjustified, as might be the case here with Vimeo taking down videos at the behest of an anti-piracy organization called Entura International, which happens to be employed by Columbia Pictures. Who happens to be the studio behind Pixels. Go figure.
UPDATE: Vimeo has released the following statement: Late last week, Vimeo removed certain videos pursuant to a DMCA takedown notice filed by Entura International claiming that the videos contained copyrighted content from the film Pixels. After users informed us that their videos did not contain any Pixels content, we reached out to Entura. Entura has since withdrawn its takedown notice. As a result, we have now restored the affected videos.
Videos that were taken down include “Pixels –Life Buoy”, a project by Romanian filmmaker Dragos Bardac done for his university degree. When? In 2010. There is also “Detuned Pixels — Choco”, a dance music video which was put up on Vimeo last year. A short film called Pantone Pixels was also taken down, despite having been made in 2011. And graphic designer Franz Jeitz is now basically a copyright infringer because his video announcement that he will be talking at the 2015 Pixels Festival was also removed.
Most ironic, but probably also most related, is that Patrick Jean’s award-winning “Pixels” was also removed. Perhaps Columbia Pictures forgot to give credit where it is due. That short film was actually the inspiration and basis for Adam Sandler’s flop of a movie. Interestingly, a lot of other “pixels” videos are still on Vimeo, making one wonder why only these very few have been targeted.
NGO NeMe’s complaint to Vimeo highlights yet another side of these notices. The group uploaded a video in 2006 also called “Pixels”, which was also served a notice. Apparently, each notice comes with a “strike” and, like in baseball, three strikes lands your channel a suspension. Vimeo has not officially commented on the matter and only suggests that affected users file counter notices to be processed by the site’s “trust and safety team”.