Teenager embarrasses YouTube in takedown scam

15th Apr 2007 | 23:00

Teenager embarrasses YouTube in takedown scam

Tricks site into removing hundreds of legitimate clips

A crafty Australian teenager has managed to embarrass YouTube by successfully masquerading as an employee of Aussie TV company ABC. He wrote in to the video site, claiming to represent ABC and demanded that YouTube take down the user-uploaded clips of popular show The Chaser's War on Everything.

The form had been filled out in pen, listing "Loop Australia" as the company acting on behalf of the "Australian Broddcasting Corperation", yet YouTube still thought it was real.

The twist was that ABC was actually perfectly happy to have users posting up clips of the show, saying it was getting free publicity from the site.

Two hundreds clips were removed from the YouTube site over a four-week period, and replaced with the text: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Australian Broadcasting Corporation."

Cheeky tricks

"The head of ABC legal is contacting those involved," the head of arts, entertainment and comedy at ABC TV, Courtney Gibson, said. "We are very much keeping our options open in terms of what kind of action we take."

"Everyone does dumb stuff when they are 15. We really appreciate that he's apologised and we'll be following up with him next week."

Gibson added: "But what was of concern to us was the fact that YouTube was sending copyright infringement notices to people who have been uploading Chaserclips to YouTube, threatening to shut down their access to YouTube if they persist. That's what was worrying to us."

The Chaser's Julian Morrow said. "I don't think we should prosecute him - we should probably hire him. If they are copyright crusaders, I hope they don't look too closely at the old days of the The Chaser newspaper."

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