Blog Post

20th Century Fox Sics Takedown Notices on Its Own Mashup Promotion

Regular NewTeeVee commenter Nicolas Charbonnier, who goes by the alias Charbax, has seen his YouTube account “permanently disabled,” he told us this afternoon. Why? He participated in a Burger King-sponsored mashup promotion on YouTube, where users were encouraged to use a web-based voiceover-creation tool to dub over videos from Seth MacFarlane’s Google-distributed Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy series.

Now, it seems Twentieth Century Fox, MacFarlane’s studio, and Media Rights Capital (MRC), the digital studio that coordinated Cavalcade, have placed copyright claims on the footage provided for the contest.

YouTube sent Charbonnier a notice saying his account was terminated, and there would be no option to have it reinstated. He found the dubbed-over clip he created was replaced with the message “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.” As Charbonnier describes it, the takedown notices most likely affected other users as well because the promotion automatically uploaded the cartoons to participants’ YouTube accounts. Other dubs posted on Burger King’s channel have been replaced with the message “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by MRC” (see image above).

Charbonnier is understandably upset. “I created my YouTube account in 2006, with hundreds of thousands of views on many of the videos,” he said. His story seems to check out, so we have to imagine after his complaint comes to light his account — and perhaps many others — will become reinstated.

Update 5/6: YouTube restored Charbonnier’s account. See his comment below.

16 Responses to “20th Century Fox Sics Takedown Notices on Its Own Mashup Promotion”

  1. I Have The Exact Same Issue and this is the reply I Get..

    Dear Celso,

    Thanks for your inquiry. We’re glad you take copyright laws seriously —
    YouTube does too. In general, you must be certain that your video doesn’t
    infringe someone else’s copyright before you upload it to our site. We
    cannot make this determination for you, as it’s your responsibility to
    know the rules. To help you, we suggest you refer to our Copyright Tips at There, we’ve provided some
    guidelines and links to help you determine whether your video infringes
    someone else’s copyright.

    Yours sincerely,

    The YouTube Team

  2. Terry Lee

    Hi Charbax,

    I recenly had a notice myself and felt I need to learn more about the truth. Came accross your story. Congratulation s for the reinstatement and perhaps you could take look at my case and suggest me ideas of how to reinstate mine (if possible at all)? Cheers~ Terry

    Here is the excerpts of e-mail communications.

    Dear Member:
    This is to notify you that we have removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation claiming that this material is infringing:

    Edelweiss – Sound of Music (cover):

    Please Note: Repeat incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to prevent this from happening, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about YouTube’s copyright policy, please read the Copyright Tips guide.

    If you elect to send us a counter notice, please go to our Help Center to access the instructions.

    Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material or activity was removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification may be subject to liability.

    YouTube, Inc.

    Dear Terry,

    When we’re notified by an authorized representative of the copyright
    holder that a particular video uploaded to our site infringes another’s
    copyright, we respond promptly. If there remain videos on the site that
    appear similar to the one(s) we’ve removed, we are likely either not aware
    of them or do not have reason to believe they are infringing. Sometimes a
    copyright owner authorizes some, but not all, of its works to appear on
    our site. Other times, very similar videos are owned by different
    copyright owners, and one may grant permission while another does not.

    Please check out our Copyright Tips at, where we’ve provided some
    guidelines to help you determine whether your video infringes someone
    else’s copyright.


    The YouTube Team

    Original Message Follows:

    From: “Terry Lee”
    Subject: Re: [#527388673] Video Removed: Copyright Infringement
    Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2009 14:40:17 -0700

    Hello Justin,

    Thanks for the prompt reply and your kind information.
    I did read through the copyright site and it was very helpful and clear

    While I do understand and admit that there will be likely copyrights
    infringement on my video since I used some part that are not my
    original, I
    am still very interested in finding out why my video is singled out when
    other source video is up and fine.

    So, I would REALLY appreciate very much if you can see two videos, mine
    the source that I used and help me see if FOX Film may have
    misunderstood….(I dearly hope..). Here they are.

    1. This is the source video that I used, and this is still running in
      YouTube since Oct 2008 and many seem to appreciate. Since it has been up
      a while, and no indication of any copyrights infringement, I assumed it
      okay to use it as the basis of karaoke to sing along. over 29,000

    1. This is (was) my video, which is the exact (100%) copy of the above
      mixing my own song over it. under 500 views…

    Common sense tells me that yes FOX (or someone) probably own the photo
    and/or audio karaoke. But is so, why my video is singled out and why

    Again I appreciate your help to clarify on this matter and I need to
    properly to my family and friends for my own credibility sake.I have no
    commercial intend nor interests.


    Terry 1-604-952-4361

    —– Original Message —–
    From: “Copyright Service”
    To: “Terry Lee”
    Sent: Friday, October 16, 2009 8:38 PM
    Subject: Re: [#527388673] Video Removed: Copyright Infringement

    Dear Terry,

    Thanks for your inquiry. We’re glad you take copyright laws seriously –
    YouTube does too. In general, you must be certain that your video does
    infringe someone else’s copyright before you upload it to our site. We
    cannot make this determination for you, it’s your responsibility to know
    the rules, but we suggest you refer to our Copyright Tips at, where we’ve provided some
    guidelines and links to help you determine whether your video infringes
    someone else’s copyright.


    The YouTube Team

    • Terry, I don’t know for your case. But in my case I clearly did not upload anything copyrighted without consent of the copyright holder.

      If you think there is some fair use in your case or something, I suggest you try to get in contact with the copyright holder that triggered the DMCA takedown and see if you would reverse their DMCA takedown in exchange perhaps for you to promise to remove the illegal video then right after.

  3. Thanks to your article, Youtube has now restored my account!

    Dear Nicolas,

    Thank you for your counternotification. Fox has retracted its copyright
    claim with respect to the following videos:

    This content has been restored and I have reactivated your accounts. For
    technical reasons, it may take a day for the video to be available again.
    Please let us know if you have any further issues.


    The YouTube Team

  4. I think Youtube has a responsibility to fix the whole copyright and monetization mess that Youtube still is today.

    Sure I can understand that it can be a very complicated challenge to monitor millions of Youtube users who upload videos every day to Youtube. I can understand there is a real pressure in making sure to limit the amount of those 100 billion yearly Youtube video views to not be too much on copyrighted contents used without permission.

    Though Google does have digital and analog fingerprinting technology. So when is the day that Google simply offer all content owners the right to simply “Activate Monetization” for all of their contents being used and remixed all over Youtube by all Youtube uploaders.

    Viacom would have been making hundreds of millions of dollars of extra revenues by now if they simply had an easy to use monetization switch at Youtube, where quite basically, all Daily Show and Colbert mashups would display overlay advertising and bring $10 per 1000 views in the pocket of Viacom. Tens of thousands of other content copyright owners would very likely choose the exact same monetization plan. Simply allow remix, sampling, publishing of all content owned by the coyright owner, simply monetize it using relevant overlay advertising, perhaps even pre-roll and post-roll being available at the choice of the content owner.

    Now the other very important responsabillity that I think Youtube has is towards to huge amounts of independent content makers like me. Youtube seriously needs to get their act together and basically allow all independent content providers to monetize their videos very simply. Just like activating Adsense on any blog, any Youtube uploader should be able to activate overlay advertising.

    Of course Youtube has to make sure an independent content uploader does not monetize on a copyrighted work without the permission of the copyright owner. But that is basically many solutions for this:

    1. Youtube uploaders like me with hundreds of uploads and millions of views since 2006 are to a very certain extent more reliable than a new Youtube account created yesterday with only 1 video on the account.

    2. Youtube can hold monetization payments in some type of escrow for a certain verification period. Where not only Youtube staff can monitor the content being legit, but that there are basic flagging tools that all viewers are asked to use such as “Do you think youtubeusername is publishing this video on Youtube without using any copyright owners content without permission? Yes/no”. Once Youtube registers a whole bunch of Yes, then the video is very likely to be “Clean”. The more clean videos uploaded by the same user, the more reliable the youtube user. The faster payments are processed for that user.

    3. Errors like the one from Youtube towards me are not acceptable. Firstly, they suspend my account without warning because of a TOTAL MISTAKE on BayTSP’s part and the only automatically generated communications that I get from Youtube say that “Suspended accounts cannot be reinstated.”, “Your account has now been terminated” and “Note: In the event that your account is restored, your account information such as videos and comments will NOT be restored.” SERIOUSLY Youtube, they should not go around saying those things. They can hold the account invisible or locked while we clear things out. But threatening me by saying that my account is closed, all that because of a stupid video voice-over I did on Burger King’s Youtube account as part of a competition and a promotion, I am not going to accept it.

    It has now been 39 hours and 31 minutes that my Youtube account has been suspended. I still have only received automated email replies by Youtube bots and automated FAQ type responses on the Youtube help pages. A thread on the Youtube Help Forums has not provided any solutions either yet

    I filed a DMCA Counter notice at [email protected] but I have no idea if Youtube has received it, if they are forwarding it to 20th century Fox or to BayTSP and if anyone at 20th Century Fox or BayTSP are going to rectify any of this soon. And I also have no idea if Google has keept a safe backup of all of my videos, with all my views statistics, Google search rankings, Youtube search rankings, all of my video comments, ratings and everything.

    As I stand right now, I don’t know if I should believe the automated messages by Youtube saying that all my videos are deleted forever, even though this is clearly a mistake on BayTSP and Youtube’s part.

  5. timekeeper


    What were they thinking? Why totally erase your account instead of making it invisible and have you 1) remove the offending vidclips or 2) provide proof of license/rights to keep it up. A pointer to the Mashup contest should have been good enough.

    I guess your hundreds of thousands of views mean nothing to them when they are getting 100,000,000 views per month. They seam to be forgetting that they built the business on people like you.

    Maybe you have seen the future and predicted how the end of YouTube, as we know it, will come about. By providing bad service and alienating their core contributor base they will have to pay for their content. UGC will move to another platform….

    And BayTSP – why do companies use these services. They too are amatures trolling the internet looking for, what they deem, copyright violations. Hasn’t the industry learned their lesson from the MediaDefender debacle?

    Would you have paid $0.05 to license the properties in question for the mashup?


  6. Funilly enough, this was triggered by BayTSP which is a company that “Monitor for your content online and, when necessary, take action to have it removed.” I just got this email from [email protected]:

    Dear Charbax,

    We received notification from BayTSP as agent for Twentieth Century Fox
    Film Corporation. When we’re notified that a particular video uploaded to
    our site infringes another’s copyright, we remove the material as the law
    requires. If you feel a content owner has misidentified your content as
    infringing, you may file a counter-notification.

    For more information, please visit the Help Center page about


    The YouTube Team

  7. Thanks for posting this! It sounds kind of hillarious doesn’t it?

    I hope someone at Google is going to fix this soon. I expect that they have backups of everything and that they can actually restore suspended “terminated” accounts even though they say that they don’t.

    This MIT project has monitored and detected at least 4 of my videos which have now been removed among the about 400 videos removed with my youtube account being suspended:

    Most of my 4 year + video-blogging project at has lately mostly been relying on Youtube so my site is basically useless right now because of this.