It’s happened to lots of websites: criticism (or just a mention) of a product or a person results in an overreaction with an inappropriate claim of copyright infringement. How can you soundly explain the reasoning for why you think a certain photo is a bear, not a Bigfoot or that a UFO video is a hoax unless you are able to SHOW the actual example in a critique!
Parody or critique use is “fair use” under copyright law. Now, Google (owner of YouTube) has stepped up to support YouTubers who are victims of unfair copyright claims. In a post to their Public Policy blog on November 19, Google states they are offering their legal support to some video producers who have been subject to DMCA takedowns for what amounts to fair use. Their videos will not be removed but will be featured as examples of fair use. Google volunteered to cover the cost of any copyright lawsuits brought against them. Why?
We’re doing this because we recognize that creators can be intimidated by the DMCA’s counter notification process, and the potential for litigation that comes with it. In addition to protecting the individual creator, this program could, over time, create a “demo reel” that will help the YouTube community and copyright owners alike better understand what fair use looks like online and develop best practices as a community.
WordPress previously stood up for their users in a similar aspect. This type of support is really important as bad actors use DMCA intimidation as a dirty, cowardly way to silence their critics. Let’s face it, bloggers and content producers are often small operators who can’t afford court costs or the threat of a lawsuit.
One of the YouTube channels singled out in this new policy is UFOTheater.
We previously featured a link to one of their “Speedebunking” videos in this post where they described the problems with videos from another YouTube channel, SecureTeam10. Thanks to work by UFOTheater and others, SecureTeam10 is well-known as a UFO video hoaxing outfit. By the way, UFOTheater has a handy “UFO Black List” of YouTube channels and web sites producing and promoting UFO hoaxes, similar to our “Beyond Doubtful sources” list of hoax news sites. Check it out!
The New York Times included quotes from UFOTheater administrator, Dean Guiliotis UFO Theater channel had three copyright complaints filed against them starting in June 2014, including one by SecureTeam10 mentioned above. Until the complaints were resolved, the channel was offline. Not fair. In June 2015, Guiliotis was contacted to be one of four YouTubers for this project.
After seeing UFO hoaxes go viral week after week when they’re promoted by British tabloids, particularly the Express, it’s nice to get some notice for UFO Theater’s perspective.
I contacted Guiliotis (known as Constantine on the UFOTheater site) who writes about how UFOs are handled in the media and direct interaction with hoaxers and their fans. He knew of DN and appreciated our site as much as we appreciate what HE does.
Anomalous phenomena deserve investigation. Guiliotis believes UFO hoaxes “are an insult to real research conducted by ordinary citizens who have invested a tremendous amount of time and money trying to discover the true nature of the phenomenon.”
As is clear from the very popular tabloid coverage and online views of these non-events, UFO hoaxes “help foster a media culture focused on “anything for clicks”, cut-and-paste journalism that simply passes bogus stories from one news site to another without anybody taking responsibility to check the source.” Preach, brother. So there is a distinct need for someone to call out BS, since the news media have $ome other agenda.
Who are these hoaxers and why do they do it? Guiliotis thinks that they are attention-seekers who exploit the curiosity of their audience and make money from ads. Some, he says, aspire to be actors and filmmakers but they lack the real skills to make it in the entertainment industry so they “choose the easy path of fraud.”
“The nearest parallel to UFO hoaxing is porn,” Guiliotis says. “The material is easy to produce, the standards are far lower, and the audience is abundant and always curious about seeing something new.”
UFO hoaxers as well as people who sell ghost app photos to the local newspapers, or push Bigfoot hunts, psychic services or alternative cures, have a lot of guts (and serious ethical shortcomings) to deceive on a full-time basis. Guiliotis doesn’t know why hoaxers remain successful. “What I haven’t yet figured out is why people follow hoaxers and subscribe to their YouTube channels. Are they simply good-hearted people unaware of the debunking information? Do they not care? Do they think debunkers are government shills? Hoaxers certainly like to pander to that last idea.”
Sadly, humans will always seek out evidence to support our beliefs and bolster our worldview of choice. No matter how many times a hoax is revealed, they retain hope that the NEXT one will be the real deal.
It seems like a uphill battle to pick through crappy fakery and expose it for the nonsense that it is. SOMEONE has to do it, especially if journalists fail to. MANY regular skeptical bloggers and debunkers do it everyday.
A hundred times more viewers see, share, and perhaps believe, the hoax. The rational view is less popular but more powerful in the end as no UFOs, Bigfoot or ghosts claims have stood up to scrutiny.
We can only do our best to put an informed critical thinking-based view out there, should the viewer choose to consider it. Every once in a while a message or email will come along from someone saying thanks, a little donation gets passed along, or the media [in this case, one of the world’s biggest companies – Google/YouTube] will remind us that they appreciate the effort.
Keep on keepin’ on.