MGM blocking RoboCop material on YouTube to Promote Reboot

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On August 15th 2013, RoboCop archive reported that YouTube began enforcing a block on any videos containing copyright material from RoboCop (1987). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) who holds the copyright to RoboCop (1987). MGM and Columbia Pictures Sony are releasing their franchise reboot also titled RoboCop (2014). It’s unlikely that YouTube would single out RoboCop when blocking copyright material. Copyright material is can be legally published under U.S. Copyright Law Section 107 regarding “Fair use.” It’s likely that MGM and Sony ordered YouTube to block this material in order to suppress search results for RoboCop (1987) and effectively result in RoboCop (2014) placing higher in search results.

Google and YouTube are private companies and commonly manipulate their services’ search results to promote their own interests. It may not be in good faith, but they are free to operate their services however they please. In this situation, they are choosing not to dispute MGM’s copyright claim. It’s cheaper and easier to comply because this battle isn’t worth fighting for them.

However, fans of the movie and series have lost YouTube as a medium for publishing their work. A vast majority of these content creators aren’t seeking financial gain from publishing RoboCop videos on YouTube. They make videos because of their enthusiasm for the movie and franchise. Let’s be real here. MGM isn’t worried about losing money from having clips of RoboCop 1987 floating around on YouTube. This is some form of inverse advertising that is suppressing one property for another.

In any case, it’s just annoying. I’ve created two videos using material from RoboCop 1987 that I can’t publish on any viable video sharing service. Ultimately, it doesn’t mean anything to anyone, but it’s still not fun to spend dozens of hours working on something that’s getting arbitrarily blocked so that some February-released action movie can make a tiny bit more money.

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