Patrick and I got into a comment fight earlier this week over the Downfall DMCA takedowns. It was my opinion that Google had no choice, given how the DMCA was structured. It was Patrick's opinion that Google was a bunch of gutless phonies hiding in a corporate castle counting money and ignoring the cries of the helpless. I may be taking some poetic license.
In any event, Google has heard the cries of the helpless and is making it much easier for parodists to get their videos back online. YouTube now has a "fair use" button, so if the creator of the original content pulls your video, it is simple to claim fair use and have the parody restored. The ball is back in the court of the person claiming the original copyright to do the hard work of filing a formal DMCA complaint, which is more work than simply pushing a button.
The solution isn't perfect, because if a company can easily generate boilerplate takedown notices, deep pockets continue to give them a structural advantage (as always). At the same time, the DMCA notice have to be submitted in the face of a claim of fair use, which ups the ante if the parodist submits a counterclaim for abuse of process. And anything that makes it more difficult to pull a video is better for fair use.
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