A final look at the destruction of the Rosetta Stone project for Col. West’s speech is in order.
After an extended period wrangling with Vimeo about restoring at least some of his videos, Vimeo finally gave Vlad Tepes a direct answer of sorts to his question about who had claimed copyright and asked that his videos of Col. West with foreign language subtitles be removed.
The answer doesn’t supply any significant additional information, but at least it tells us that no further information will be forthcoming:
From: “Morrill, Sam”
Date: May 4, 2010 2:32:26 PM EDT
To: [Vlad’s email]
Subject: Re: Attention required on your Vimeo account
As a rule of thumb, if it’s something that you’ve made, then you’re certainly allowed to upload it.
As far as who flagged your videos, I’m sorry, but that is not information that we can make available to our users.
Community Assistant — Vimeo.com
The fact that the identity of the complainant “is not information that we can make available to our users” seems to contradict what happened to Costin, who received the following message when his copy of the Romanian version of the video was removed:
Dear Patruped Bun:
This is to notify you that, as a result of a third-party notification by Pamela Hall claiming that the material is infringing, we have removed or disabled access to the material that appeared at http://www.vimeo.com/11159463.
If you believe that your material has been removed or disabled by mistake or misidentification, please provide VIMEO’s Copyright Agent with a written counter-notification containing at least the following information (please confirm these requirements with your legal counsel or see Section 512(g)(3) of the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 512(g)(3), for more information)
So Vimeo can sometimes tell its customers this information, and sometimes it can’t. Why this blatant inconsistency?
Here’s one possible explanation:
– – – – – – – – –
Costin was notified that Pamela Hall filed a copyright claim on the video he posted. Presumably (if I dare use that word again) Vimeo is obligated to do this in case Costin wants to dispute the copyright. It’s probably a legal requirement.
In contrast, the claim against Vlad’s Vimeo account may have been based not on a copyright claim, but on a violation of one of Vimeo’s other guidelines. Hence they don’t have to tell him, and they won’t.
For example, in several emails Vimeo said, “Vimeo does not allow TV shows, movie trailers, or stuff you found on the web.” Perhaps a malicious complainant reported that Vlad had uploaded “stuff he found on the web”.
Or he could have been reported for hate speech, or for posting inappropriate material, or for a violation of some other variation of Vimeo’s stringent rules.
Unless the complainant decides to step forward and explain himself, we will probably — presumably? — never know.