Universal Music May Have Inadvertently Exposed a Flaw in the YouTube Takedown Process

Last month, before federal authorities shut down Megaupload, the popular file-storage website got into a legal brawl with Universal Music Group over a video that was removed from YouTube.

Megaupload hasn’t experienced much success thus far in pressing claims that UMG misused its copyrights by removing the video, which featured many stars purportedly endorsing Megaupload. But the lawsuit did reveal something that wasn’t known — YouTube had granted UMG the powers to remove videos from the video-sharing website at will, “based on a number of contractually specified criteria.”

The contract between UMG and YouTube over use of a “Content Management System” remains secret, but the ability to remove videos from YouTube could become controversial quickly. Just witness what happened to one rap group who found it impossible to put up one of its own songs on YouTube.

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