WASHINGTON – When WND released what has been the No. 1 faith film for the last 20 weeks on Amazon, it didn’t count on Internet giant Google, owner of YouTube, repeatedly aiding and abetting efforts at piracy of the company’s intellectual property.
But that’s what has happened as YouTube has permitted the posting of the documentary “The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” in whole or in part, at least a dozen different times since March of this year.
With each offense, WND executives and employees have requested these violations be remedied in laborious conversations and email communications, meticulously following YouTube’s procedures, even hiring an attorney to work with the company.
While YouTube has eventually taken down each reported offending posting, it has steadfastly refused WND’s application into its “Content Verification Program,” for which WND meets all requirements for admission, according to YouTube’s posted policies.
Admission into the “Content Verification Program” would help automate the monitoring of copyright infringement and be of great value in assisting WND to prevent future copyright violation incidents.
In email responses, YouTube merely states that WND is “not an appropriate candidate for this tool.”
Despite repeated requests for additional information about appeals and re-application procedures, YouTube fails to respond.
“By denying WND admission into this program, Google is actively facilitating the violation of WND’s intellectual property rights,” said Joseph Farah, founder and chief executive officer of the company.
“With a monstrously successful film like ‘The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,’ and a well-established Internet company like WND, which is older than Google or YouTube, this is a very serious matter and suggests willing complicity in efforts to damage our business,” he said
But that’s not all Google/YouTube has done in aiding and abetting the infringements on the company’s intellectual property.
The Internet titan also refuses to allow WND to use the YouTube channel name WND, claiming it existed previously and the user closed the account.
Once an account is closed, YouTube claims it can never be opened again.
A Feb. 27 screenshot shows what visitors attempted to access WND’s rightful YouTube channel.
“Imagine the absurdity of denying the rightful owner of a name the use of that channel name because someone previously registered it illegitimately and then closed the account,” says Farah. “I can’t believe Google would treat the BBC this way. I can’t imagine Google would treat the AP this way. I can’t imagine Google would treat YouTube leader VEVO this way. Why is Google/YouTube so obstinate when it comes to WND?”
On April 12, a Google attorney stated in email “that channel name [WND] is not able to be re-assigned or re-used. It is a technical limitation of our system, and something that I cannot change.”
“Imagine that, one of the most innovative companies in the world with immense talent and some of the brightest minds in the world is technically limited!” said Farah.
Google’s attorney did suggest, however, the company might be able to create a redirect so that visitors to WND’s rightful channel would be redirected to another domain.
On April 13, a WND attorney offered to “bring in some technical resources from the company” to help Google resolve the technical limitation. Google ignored this offer.
WND has an established presence on the Internet for 15 years – one of the oldest Internet content companies around, Farah points out. It also boasts more than 6 million unique visitors per month.
“Like any other company, we rely on and depend upon the use of our trademark name for recognition and visibility,” said Farah. “Many businesses, especially content companies, register their company name as a user or channel name in YouTube. In this way, the channel name is used to identify the company in connection with their services provided by social media websites and search engines. By blocking control of the WND channel name, Google/YouTube is preventing WND from using it in the ordinary course of business and depriving the company of the ability to create a social media outlet that can help build visibility online. Google/YouTube is creating the impression that WND has no interest in providing services offered in conjunction with WND on this popular social media site.”
Farah says when you couple these two separate acts – the denial of WND’s application into Google/YouTube’s “Content Verification Program” and the company’s refusal to turn over control of the YouTube channel WND – it seems to represent a pattern of intentional unfair business practices by “the 700-pound gorilla on the Internet.”
“Are these decisions based on some ideological bias at Google?” wonders Farah. “Are they based on criticism I have personally directed at Google? Are they based on deliberate efforts to thwart our business efforts? I don’t know for sure. But after working quietly and tirelessly with Google on these issues over a period of four months, without any success, I believe it’s time to go public with what could eventually and needlessly wind up as a matter of litigation.”
“In this case, the abuse is even more egregious because the page says, ‘This account has been terminated due to repeated or severe violations of our Community Guidelines and/or claims of copyright infringement,’” says Farah. “A reasonable person might conclude from that announcement that WND something legally, and perhaps morally, objectionable. Google is implying WND is somehow at fault, when, in fact, it’s Google’s problem.”