Facebook sends Ars takedown notice from Pink Floyd over NASA audio
“The Eagle has landed” are among the most famous words ever uttered in the 20th century.
Most Americans know that those words were spoken by Neil Armstrong just before his famous 1969 walk on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. (You have been watching Ars’ Apollo documentary series, haven’t you?)
Apparently Pink Floyd (or at least some bot acting on the band’s behalf) thinks that it owns the copyright to the NASA-recorded audio.
On Wednesday, Ars received an official notice via our Facebook page that one of our videos was in apparent violation of Pink Floyd’s copyright. According to the takedown notice, just a six-second portion of our video was infringing. When we clicked the link to see, it turned out that Pink Floyd was upset about six seconds of audio that we had taken from an official NASA recording that we pulled from the Internet Archive.
Here at Ars, we’ve been reporting on intellectual property disputes for some time. We know we’re in the right here. In fact, this isn’t the first time that NASA videos have been subject to erroneous copyright claims.
As a United States government work, there are no commercial copyright protections on that recording, so neither Pink Floyd nor anyone else can assert a copyright claim over them. So, we’ll chalk this one up to an honest algorithmic mistake.
Cathy Gellis, a California lawyer who works on intellectual property cases, told Ars:
The problem may instead be with the fingerprinting systems large service providers are using to preemptively mark content for removal and their reliance on these systems despite their apparent imperfections… Even if these systems can correctly suss out that a posted clip might bear a resemblance to a claimed work, it doesn't follow that they know anything else about the copyright status of the particular posted work, including whether it was posted with permission, or as a fair use, or in accordance with some other circumstance that would make the use permissible.
The notice doesn’t even say which Pink Floyd track we apparently infringed. After some online consultations with various Pink Floyd fans, it appears that similar NASA audio was used in an early version of “The Great Gig in the Sky.”
You’ll find the NASA audio on the Early Mix disc (Disc 6) in the Pink Floyd DSOTM Immersion box set. It’s the audio replaced by Claire Torry’s wordless vocal on The Great Gig In The Sky track on the final album. https://t.co/m8snxKMNCl
— Brendon Parsons (@BrendonParsons1) December 20, 2017
The Facebook takedown notice gave us the option to “dispute” the claim, so we did.
We’ve reached out to Facebook, Universal Music, and Pink Floyd’s Twitter account for comment. None responded as of press time.
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