YouTube’s Soccer Video Takedowns Extend To Match-Goers’ Own Footage

The BBC’s technology correspondent is a serial intellectual property thief. Or, that’s how Rory Cellan-Jones seems to be feeling at the moment. After YouTube last year warned the reporter about using a Cat Stevens track in one of his family videos, it’s now deleted a video he posted from Saturday’s Football League Two football match between Brentford and Exeter City.

Writes Cellan-Jones: “It wasn’t exactly Match Of The Day … I wasn’t trying to record match highlights – my aims was to try out a new mini high-definition camera … I’d somehow forgotten that the Football League are policing YouTube closely – and also assumed that they were looking out for material grabbed from the television, not a few frames of video shot from the crowd. It looks as though my camera doesn’t belong to me once I go through the turnstiles at a football ground.”

The Premier League, trying to protect rights bought by broadcasters for megabucks, is still fighting a New York court case to force YouTube to better police its site for copyrighted material. Football League online highlights rights are held by Virgin Media.

YouTube’s message to Cellan-Jones demonstrates not only that it’s actively shutting down infringers – but also that the rules extend beyond copying from just televised matches, even to material captured by match-goers. In an age when every football fan can carry their own online broadcasting gear in a cameraphone, expect these warnings to become increasingly prevalent – and increasingly futile.