The horrific luge crash in Vancouver today won’t get much play on YouTube: Google quickly removed uploaded film clips at the request of the International Olympic Committee, activating its copy-protection tools.
Attempts to play YouTube videos of the crash at YouTube.com or embedded on other sites return a message saying “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by International Olympic Committee.”
It’s not unusual for Google to pull copyrighted material from YouTube but it may be the first major, public copyright protection of the Vancouver Olympics, during which the IOC and broadcasters are taking extra steps to control access to coverage.
The same clip was still up at video-sharing site Vimeo a few moments ago.
UPDATE: Google spokesman Scott Rubin declined to comment on the specific videos but noted YouTube relies on users and copyright holders to flag videos of concern.
“We approach each video individually, and we do not prescreen content. Instead, we count on our community members to know the Guidelines and to flag videos they think violate them. We review all flagged videos quickly, and if we find that a video does break the rules, we remove it, usually in under an hour,” he said via e-mail.
Google also provides tools for owners of copyrighted content “to claim their materials and to resolve any disputes, per DMCA rules.”
UPDATE 2: I just heard from a Fox affiliate in Sacramento where the news director said “we felt we had a fair use argument and the public should see the potential dangers on the track.” He noted that CNN also decided to distribute the video.