Allyson Townsend, better known as Ally ASL on YouTube is famous for translating songs by Kesha and Owl City into American Sign Language. She has gathered a huge fan base doing this. However Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group saw that as an infringement of copyright and ordered YouTube to have her account shut down.
Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation urged YouTube to reconsider its decision in the case and convinced it and both the music labels to reinstate the page in question.
Allyson Townsend approached the EFF for help when her account was seized. Her fan page has thousands of comments and around 90 videos of popular songs. Following the ban of her account, Townsend was forbidden from having any further accounts on YouTube as well.
In a world where freedom over the Internet is threatened by organizations like the RIAA, MPAA, other recording labels and other government agencies, EFF is the strongest contenders against these in the court of law. With an army of lawyers as its fleet, the EFF has a strong voice in the decisions that affect people over the Internet. However, this matter was solved through talks and without even taking it to the courts.
Cindy Cohn of the EFF, who led the talks with YouTube said,
The problem is that the various music groups hire zombies and trained monkeys who scour the Internet searching for any use of their licensed material regardless of the context or purpose,” Cohn said by phone on Monday. Often, this leads to flagged entries and complaints on sites like YouTube that really should have been approached with greater discretion.
No one here is the bad guy. However, these matters got so caught up in red tape, seemingly, no one actually bothered to read between the lines before signing off the ban. Matters like these should be handled with some respect and these recording labels can do better by hiring Allyson Townsend to do this full time.