Q3 Technologies - Releiving

Good morning,

On 23 April, I uploaded to my Facebook page a video clip showing a poem to mark World Book Day. The clip has a musical backing track, an instrumental on concertina and guitar.

It is not a new clip. I have uploaded it to my and other Facebook pages on 23 April in previous years without problems, and it has been on YouTube since 23 April 2017.

When I uploaded it this year, I received within one minute a notification that “your video is blocked in Andorra, United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Antigua and 245 other countries”. Looking further, I found a claim that “52 seconds of video … belongs to: Sony Music Entertainment – SME”. Quite why 52 seconds, I don’t know, as the clip lasts 1 minute and 3 seconds. Nor do I know if SME was claiming ownership of the poem, the music or the clip as a whole. The precise allegation was never explained.

The poem is my own. The backing music was composed, performed, recorded and mixed by myself. I also produced the video clip. At the end of the clip, my copyright is indicated. A clearer-cut case of intellectual property ownership would be difficult to imagine.

During the night of 29 to 30 April, I received a new notification. The words “Dispute claim in progress” had been changed to “Dispute claim accepted”. That is all. No explanations. No apology. But presumably, it means that SME has admitted that its claim was false and that it does not own my clip or the works contained in that clip, either in whole or in part.

A few points and questions:

– The immediacy of the blocking action strongly suggests that SME has an automatic right to block content on Facebook without reviewing that content first. Is that the case? If so, do any other companies have the same right?
– When I lodged my counter-claim, I immediately received a discouraging message from Facebook asking if I *really* wanted to go ahead with it, and threatening unspecified “further action” against my account if I lost my case. Of course, if I had allowed myself to be intimidated into withdrawing my claim, I would have been tacitly conceding that SME owns my work. Which it does not. So is Facebook colluding with SME to select content at random and then throw ownership claims against the wall in hopes that they will stick?
– A person accused by SME of copyright theft on Facebook has a maximum of 200 characters in which to make the case for the defence. SME is then apparently its own judge and jury in the case. Is that in any way consonant with natural justice?
– What would have happened if my dispute counter-claim had not been accepted?

Thank you for reading the above and responding rapidly. Before deciding whether to go public on this matter, and whether to cease uploading intellectual property to Facebook and to advise others likewise, I would like to have Facebook’s own assessment of the risks involved.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Graham

Found At: Facebook/SME – Blocking of content – false ownership claim

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