Dandelions by *Ter0k

In the past several days we’ve been tracking some rumblings going on from the Pony YouTube Community dealing with a wide range of videos that are being flagged due to copyright issues.

This is nothing new as trolls of the past have abused one basic system YouTube runs, the DMCA / Copyright Infringement claims. This system is available to anyone and requires a little effort to fill out a form, if multiple claims are made typically the video is pulled from YouTube. It has in the past resulted in some people’s channels being removed such as Alex S, though these channels were restored fairly quickly when the claim was disputed and further investigated.

The issues we have been tracking does not appear to be troll related, but a side effect of Hasbro Studios LLC using certain tools that are offered by YouTube to copyright holders, to ensure that their material are kept in check and not uploaded by multiple users against their wishes.

YouTube’s ContentID system is one of these tools. A full explanation can be seen here on their site, which includes a quick 2 minute video explaining things. Basically copyright holders can submit audio and or video to this automated system. ContentID runs 24/7/365 and constantly scans the vast archives of YouTube for matching material. If something is found, the video is flagged by this system and a claim is filed. Unlike DMCA take down claims, the video does remain in operation though it may not be viewable by certain regions of the world.

It seems within the last week, Hasbro Studios LLC has begun to use the ContentID system in a move to purge all the full length episodes from YouTube. This was first observed by a community HD ripper who encountered the system when attempting to upload the most recent episode. He figured out that it was the episode intro that was being tagged by ContentID, with the obvious fix of removing the intro to the episode. But it seems in the more recent days, full episodes are now being submitted to ContentID.

Unfortunately this has a side effect of flagging derived works using stock footage, ranging from episodes of Friendship is Witchcraft, the Mentally Abridged series, episode review series and so forth.

We have spoken to a friend with close ties to Hasbro Legal. What was said is that Hasbro has no issue with derived works on YouTube, and actually enjoys them as it brings the company free advertisement about the show and more so the products/toys they sell. It was also said that Hasbro recently attempted to sell the show to CCTV, the main television station in China who questioned why should they buy the show when they could just watch it on YouTube, giving reason to the most recent actions on YouTube.

So with that information anyone who has had their videos flagged by the ContentID system, submit a dispute claim. In general when you submit a dispute, the video becomes available to the general public again until the claim is cleared up (assumed by the ContentID holder). If the information from Hasbro Legal is correct, and you’re not actually hosting a full episode, the flag should be removed from your video and more or less given the green light to remain. We would assume your video would be added to a database of “green lighted” videos, thus not being flagged again in the future.

We thank our connection to Hasbro Legal for this information, rather than leaving the community in the dark about the situation.

[Updated Afternoon 1/2/13 @ 3pm ET]

  • Yup.

    That’s a bit worrying…definitely worth keeping an eye on.

  • Derp

    That would just make the uploaders act like Flim and Flam,
    Next town, next media content pages.

  • Thank you for reporting on this, unlike some websites out there.

    • bronydash


  • For those who read the unedited version of this article before I made changes.

    As the edited article reflects, I just talked with a friend who has close ties to Hasbro Legal, and that basically the flagging of derived works on YouTube is just a side effect of them using YouTube’s ContentID system. More or less they feel all the user made videos are a bonus to selling their toys and merchandise.

    As for the full episodes, that is still a no, and again as now written into the article, seems they went to sell the show to China, who then laughed at them and said they can just watch them on YouTube.

    So in general, nothing overly to worry about, if you have a video that is flagged by ContentID, just dispute the claim and everything should get cleared up.

    • bronydash

      that’s a relief… especially because of DOUBLE RAINBOOM, REGAL, and JOURNEY OF THE SPARK still being made.

      • I’ve talked and watched these guys, especially Journey of the Spark. They have talked with Hasbro about the fan made material they are producing, and in general Hasbro doesn’t care unless someone starts making money, then the gloves come off.

        • What about commentary and parody videos. Aren’t any parodies and commentaries protected under fair use? Or is something special needed to get around that issue too?

          • bronydash

            Parodies and commentaries do fall under fair use… so with creators like the Celestia Radio folks and the Everfree Radio folks, they aren’t in danger of copyright. If I understand this right, and DerpySquad, if you’re reading this correct me if I’m wrong…. Hasbro is very leniant on fan works (Like the fan films Journey of the Spark, Regal, and Double Rainboom) and the only time they’ll order a cease and desist for such projects is when someone notifies them that these projects are being made… Hasbro is then forced to take action because if they don’t they are in danger of losing their copyright.

          • The only ones who can decide what is and isn’t fair use is a court of law. Period.

            If you’re sued for using someone’s else work, the most you can do is *claim* it’s fair use, make your case, and then wait for the judges to decide if it counts or not.

            The judges then use a four-pronged test to determine if the derivative work really is made for the purposes of review or criticism (including parody, although satire usually has a harder time since it’s often about society and culture, and not about the actual thing in question).

            And copyrights don’t need to be protected. Until a copyrighted work enters the public domain, it’s owned by whoever created it. Trademarks are what need to be protected. Band-aid and Escalator were once brand names, but because the companies did not aggressively protect their trademark, the names became generic and usable by anyone. The artistic work of the show is copyrighted, whereas Hasbro’s ability to exclusively market the show is trademarked.

        • Twilight Sparkle 86

          If that’s the case why do that with the episodes then? I wanted to upload MLP videos on YouTube and then this caught my eye

  • At least there’s http://mlp-fim.com for guaranteed access to any episode even if you can’t find it on YouTube. I rarely use it, but I can see how it would come in handy.

    • Walugithewalrus

      Eenope. All their movies are hosted at Youtube and have already been taken down.

    • Walugithewalrus

      Quick edit, all the season 3 stuff is still up. All else is down.

  • anon36426

    Simple, just remove the intro from episode uploads. Not like anyone actually watches it every time, anyways.

  • Providence_

    I am extremely glad to see an actual report on this, unlike the rumor-mongering that EQD has been up to. If you ask me, EQD should butt out of the news section entirely (excluding roundups). DHN does a much better job with news.

    • bronydash


    • Anonymous

      damn right

  • Our 2 years of care-free episode viewing seems to be finally coming to a halt, but DHN’s summation of the facts indicates hasbro is only out to protect THEIR stuff, so it’s not like we should get worried for OUR stuff. FiW and other parodies of the kind can be up and running again in a jiffy. In fact, last time I checked FiW is already back up on youtube.

    Still, some people are going to find it a bit harder to watch all the new episodes. Me personally, I get the Hub, so that’s not an issue for me. I wonder what Hasbro will do about the episode day streamers, as that seems like the next big step in protecting their own stuff. We’ll see, but this isn’t anything huge in the grand scheme of the internet. If someone really thinks they are entitled to a free pass on everything because they like it (95% of people on the internet), they’ll find a way. Time will tell how far Hasbro actually goes with this, but for now, I say not a huge deal.

  • SuperGiantRobot

    As long as the episode is extant for the few short minutes it takes me to rip it, I simply don’t care.

    Once I have the episode, the yotube version becomes moot.

  • Oh, China!

    You so funny when you pretend you’re still communist.

  • Ah finally a full report rather than reading from that other site >.> Thanks for the info. Now I’m FULLY informed about the situation. <3

  • Anonymous

    That post on EQD about this has just vanished. What gives? http://www.equestriadaily.com/2013/01/new-wave-of-youtube-takedowns.html


      • Anonymous

        It’s because they stole your article isn’t it?

        • Ha, ummm no. I wouldn’t call it “stole” as I highly doubt Seth ever looked at this piece. Its more when something like this gets posted, at least 50 people will read it, lift info from it, and submit it to Seth.

          From what I’ve heard in the various back hallways in this fandom, multiple people asked Seth to remove the article due to the comments that ranged from omg to wtf in content, due to the confusion over there. Basically people didn’t want Hasbro to see it for reasons I’m at liberty not to say at this time. There is a thing going on between the community and Hasbro in a different sector.

          DHN wasn’t asked since are comments are pretty level headed.

          • Anonymous

            Im thinking its the thing regarding conventions. This was just poorly timed.

    • Anonymous

      The EqD post is still up for me. But they’ve closed the comments and purged the apparant offending discussion threads.

  • Anonymous

    Wow some commenters really like to bash another site instead of talking about the actual info contained in the article. I use both sites(and more) as the plural of data helps one get a firmer grip of any matter. some in this community are starting to become just as immature as the ign gamer community. Rather pick favorites than discuse the info at hand.

    • Indeed, I prefer an actual conversation within the comments, and have always been a fan of having multiple sources, in the world of news you don’t want to listen to just one source.

      • Unless information on a topic only comes from one source of course.

    • It’s no use. When people get like this, they’re beyond reasoning. Nothing attracts people quite like the elitism of being a “true believer”, a pure adherent in the face of their (pop) culture being sold out. And to think, bronies considered their fandom one of respect and tolerance.


      Now we have people bashing Meghan McCarthy by saying he’s a Hasbro shill, bashing the show for endless “pandering” to the masses, bashing Equestria Daily like it’s People’s Daily*….and if the history of fandom, or any other cultural movement for that matter, tells me anything, it’s only going to get worse from here on out.

      *Official newspaper of the Chinese “communist” party

      • Anonymous

        All fandoms have a loudly outspoken horrible vocal minority, the larger the group the larger the minority. One should not judge the the entire group based on the actions of that minority. Most people in the fandom are great, having been part of many fandoms before this has easily been my best experience. Sure its subject to the same bad behavior all other fandoms face, but not nearly as bad.

        • The problem with your argument is that you talk like this will always and forever be a minority.

          This is a movement of disgruntled fans, and it appears to be growing as season 3 wears on. Only time will tell how large it gets.

          Sure, maybe it’ll blow over.

          Or maybe Lauren Faust’s departure was the first fracture point, and every single creative decision from this point on will cause the fanbase to diverge further.

          • But the general sum of what the anon is saying is that not everyone in this fandom is a brony, nor do they follow the so called motto of love and tolerance.

            In general due to how fast this fandom grew, I think the end will involve an implosion much like a neutron star.

            In the end, the true fans will stand, the rest will bail from the wagon before it goes over the cliff. Only time will tell.

      • Anonymous

        >Now we have people bashing Meghan McCarthy by saying he’s a Hasbro shill

        You bring this up in every comment thread. Stop it. Nobody is talking about McCarthy except you.

        • Oh, really?

          Then how come an article where she’s mentioned or interviewed usually has comments along the line of “HERE COMES ALICORN TWILIGHT!” ?

          Or that the show is degenerating into a pander fest?

          Or that she’s an incompetent writer because she chose not to give Sombra any lines and has an obsession with not making the heroes do anything heroic?

          I’m not sockpuppeting these things. Should I forward them to you the next time I find any?

  • Jody Morgan

    China complaining about piracy is the funniest thing I’ve seen this year so far.

  • Anonymous

    China can’t watch YouTube. The government blocks it because it has videos that might have information about the existence of other political doctrines aside from an autocratic communist regime. Can’t have the people finding out about that stuff.

  • StatManDan

    I vote for calm on all sides right now. I would hope Hasbro, cast and crew, and the organizers of the cons can work together so that that situation can be resolved. There are many more cons planned in 2013 than there were in 2012. You have to factor in the potential for burnout.

    Bashing people who work on the show concerning the show itself is not going to solve anything. If you feel the need to be critical about something or express concern to either Hasbro or the show staff, then please do so in a constructive manner instead labeling one writer as the worst; telling the storyboard artist, “it sucks”; and calling the showrunner, “a Hasbro shill.” I know that this sort of thing was brought up after “Mysterious Mare-Do-Well.” Perhaps it needs to be brought up again as a reminder.

    I actually think Season 3 is progressing very well and have had very few problems with it. With regards to the future of the show, I’ll repeat what I said earlier: We’ll cross those bridges when we get to them.

    I am aware that there will be a section of any fandom, be it a pop culture or sporting one, who will always find some reason to complain or unwittingly put the whole fandom in a negative light. I would like to think that the majority of fans are much more supportive of the cast and crew and that it is just a minority of people who are being objectionable.

    I do need to say that the tweet to EqD regarding this story was unprofessional and I’ll leave it at that.

    I feel there has been too much anxiety over this and that in recent days. Everyone should calm down. Let’s just enjoy the show, comics, and whatever convention(s) that you will be attending.

    • Well what you see is unprofessional is something I see more the older brother slapping the younger brother in the back of the head for a horribly written article that did nothing but cause mass panic, confusion and outrage. Isn’t the first time I’ve hung out my office window and screamed at them. DHN is unfortunately nothing more than a hobby site in my books, if we ever earn money at what we do, then I’ll double check my screaming references.

      In general though people on this side of the fence have been calm and collective, versus the other side. I do agree and reasons why I took careful steps in this article, people don’t need to be hating on anyone over this issue, since all in all the so called ‘take downs’ are nothing more than a side effect of Hasbro attempting to coral the full length episodes off of YouTube.

      • StatManDan

        Indeed, and I agree with most of what you said. I, too, run what’s essentially a hobby site–only it’s on soccer. Your article was far more reasonable and commentary on EqD went off on a huge tangent. I just feel there was no need for that tweet.

        I do feel Hasbro does need to put more energy into making the show available on iTunes globally and/or try to get cable companies to include the Hub on a package that’s more widely available to consumers.

      • Anonymous

        Um…slapping someone on the back of the head would be considered unprofessional yes. Whilst I have not seen this tweet, considering the amount of EQD bashing that seems to go on here I cant imagine it was anything short of insulting. Which is sad because every EQD staffer I have had an encounter with has been incredibly nice. Too bad people seem to want to take any chance to disparage their work.

  • Aponymous

    Holy Guacamole…this seems to be the most commented thing on DHN,erm but aside from that,my 2 bits:

    @StatManDan & @DerpySquad
    Here here! and yes! / Keep up the good reporting work!
    2nd – Youtube takedowns are nothing new,and (while not pony related per se) the whole “this isn’t available in your area” notice is quite common (even for public-access-nonprofit-news-US stuff that was put on youtube then blocked then had a news story about how ridiculous it was in the news) I see the block as a better move vs. the “pull-video-remove/suspend-user,next” bit that’s more familar.
    3rd – While I am lucky enough to have cable tv,the hub,HUB ondemand,internet access,etc.
    I still sometimes like a digital copy I can manually seek through (and take a closer look on my screen at something I might’ve missed when the episode was repeated multiple times) not everyone has the cable or the HUB (or other stations that may show it elsewhere in the world) due to various reasons,and yeah sometimes the internet is the answer in that case.
    Which is why I’ve said before how I like the new episodes appearing on the hub’s website (which I can’t confirm but doesn’t seem to be geolocked/blocked outside the US,just saying)…however as of recently it seems the most reason season 3 episodes have yet to appear on hubworld.com. (Apple Family Reunion and Spike at Your Service…of course we’re into the post-holiday season,new year,and 3 weeks of off time so that could suddenly change at any time soon)

    Also ondemand is quite glitchy/derped up when trying to go back/forwards/pause (for me at least,the family photo in AFR took me serveral tries before I even saw The Oranges were in there)
    4th – I have no idea if anyone in China can or can’t access youtube…and find it odd China would say “why buy show when one can watch free online at youtube” of all things (and as previous comments have considered…ok that sounded more russian but)
    5th @StatManDan,DerpSquard,others – I’ve actually still yet to even vist EqD…not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing for a brony,is it?

    and 6th,last but not least –
    as a Popsicle Stick from the 1990s once said: “Simmer down”
    like StatManDan said just enjoy the show/comics/cons/etc. :)
    P.S: I watch the intro :P
    I know I know it’s only gotten one small update since Season 2,but can anypony confirm if there’s something new in Season 3’s intro? (might just be a updated mix of the theme song or something I can’t tell)

    • StatManDan

      Actually, I did not see anything new in the Season 3 intro. It’s basically the same as the Season 2 intro.

      • Aponymous

        but I thought I “heard” something different in the theme (like it’s a remastered mix for Season 3 or something,or my ears are playing tricks on me since it’s a new season and I was somehow expecting something new,derp knows :P

        Maybe if Daniel Ingram is reading this he can post back and tell me

        also seems hub must’ve read what I said since Apple Family Reunion is now up on the hub website (or in the event they didn’t maybe they just gone back into the normal-add-recent-episode on a Thursday night like they used to…either way in the event anyone from the hub/hubworld.com website is reading this,I thank you,your website is great,and please keep up the good work!)

  • Well, for what it’s worth, a YTP I made of “Super Cider Squeezy 6000” hasn’t been taken down yet. It’s got recognizable portions of much of the episode, but I suppose it was insufficient for contentID to make a match.

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  • RA2

    Mentally Advanced Series is down :/. They did just like the article said to do, and Hasbro rejected their claim. Really puts a damper on the respect I have for them.

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