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Heart

ToS Addition about pirated content

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Heart

I'm writing this to quickly announce a new clause in the AVEN Terms of Service. We have added the following clause:

 

Quote

Linking to websites which actively host pirated content (eg Putlocker) is prohibited on the forums; the link will be removed once brought to our attention, and repeated infringements can result in a nudge or warn. However, sites with protections against pirated content such as Youtube are fine.

While we acknowledge that streaming or otherwise watching pirated content is not illegal in all countries, it is in some. We have added this clause because we don't want a member to post a link to pirated content in a country where that is allowed, but have a member from a country where they could get in trouble for it, click the link and watch it.

 

Since the legality depends on where in the world you are, we thought to make it explicit in our ToS instead of relying on the legality clause. From now on, please refrain from linking to sites that allow or encourage pirated content. Sites like youtube, who have explicit terms of service against pirated content, are still ok to link to. No site is perfect, but we trust places like youtube to try their best.

 

Please know that we will treat this clause the same way we do with all of our terms of service. Namely, if someone breaks it by accident or because they did not know, we will likely just take down the link and send an informal PM, otherwise known as a "nudge", to let the member know to avoid this in the future. Only repeated behaviour is likely to get further disciplinary action, but like in all cases, this will be dealt with on a case by case basis. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask any admod, or to post them here. We'll try to answer them as best we can.

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Una Salus Victus

Are we going to have a list of sites that are a possible no no, sorta like the banned words list to refrain from?

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)

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LeChat
36 minutes ago, Una Salus Victus said:

Are we going to have a list of sites that are a possible no no, sorta like the banned words list to refrain from?

I think that would be helpful. I've never heard of "Putlocker," before.

 

It sounds a little difficult and problematic. How are members who live in other countries where links are allowed supposed to know which websites are illegal for people in other countries when they don't live there and aren't familiar with other countries' laws? Only members who live in places where they're illegal would know that information and be more familiar with which links are and aren't allowed for them. Wouldn't it make more sense, and be easier, for them to not click on the links, rather than expecting everyone else around the world to know which websites not to list? There are hundred of countries, all with different laws; it'd be very difficult for everyone to try to learn all the different laws, just so that they don't break them.

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Heart

I'm not a legal expert, but I'll try my best to relate my understanding. Keep in mind that I'm not an expert, just doing my best.

 

It's not certain links that are illegal in certain countries. It's much simpler than that: watching pirated content is illegal. So, if you watch any pirated content, then you'd be breaking the law in these countries, no matter what links got you there. Whereas, in the states, it's not illegal to watch pirated content, I think, it's just illegal to profit from it. Or maybe illegal to actually post it? I'm not sure, but the impression I'm under (I'm not American) is that it's legal to watch pirated content, so long as you're not the one distributing it. But in most of the European Union (if not all of it), you can get fined for watching pirated content, even if you don't distribute it or make money off it. This is where the concern came from; a lot of our members are either Americans or from the EU, so the fact that those two areas of the world differ so starkly is a big cultural difference. Though this is the example that brought this issue to our attention, it's I'm sure not the only one out there.

 

So it's not certain links that are illegal, it's certain acts. Of course, this makes it harder to police; admods aren't going to go through every thing ever linked here to check if it's pirated. Likely, we'll only check things we know are likely to be pirated, or things that are reported. We simply don't have the manpower to police this perfectly.

 

As for making a list of links... well, pirated content sites are notorious for moving around. One gets shut down, another pops up. I don't think we can ever list all the links, or keep it up to date even if we could. We can perhaps make up an example list, but it can never be exhaustive... I'd love some help doing that though. If people want to suggest sites that are notorious for hosting pirated content, then either myself or one of the other admods can consolidate the list and post it somewhere, like the list of banned words.

 

If I were to give advice (and keep in mind, this is coming from me personally, not the team), I'd say to just do some level of due diligence, but not to worry too much about it. Youtube is fine. Netflix is fine. But don't go out of your way to post pirated content. And if you accidentally do, we'll let you know if and when we find out, and you can avoid that particular site in the future, whatever it was you linked.

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daveb

question (not intended to pick on anyone)

If someone (like me) hadn't heard of "Putlocker" how would they know if it was illegal in their country to post a link and/or to watch it?

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Heart

We don't expect you to. No single link is illegal. I'm sorry, let me try to condense my explanation to one line (my own words, not the team's):

 

Quote

Don't knowingly post a link to pirated or stolen content.

 

That's it. If you do it by accident, then if we find out about it, we'll just take the link down and let you know it was pirated. If it's recorded as a nudge (sometimes informal communications are, sometimes not, it's case by case and moderator by moderator), then we'll know in the future if you become a serious repeat offender but that's all the record is for. No harm, no foul. It's just in the ToS so we have the power and ability to take down those links. And to take action if and when anyone decides to keep knowingly posting pirated content.

 

Does that help?

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LeChat

That's helpful. I accidently thought it meant that even links to research articles might be considered illegal in other countries.

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Una Salus Victus
1 minute ago, Heart said:

We don't expect you to. No single link is illegal. I'm sorry, let me try to condense my explanation to one line (my own words, not the team's):

 

 

That's it. If you do it by accident, then if we find out about it, we'll just take the link down and let you know it was pirated. If it's recorded as a nudge (sometimes informal communications are, sometimes not, it's case by case and moderator by moderator), then we'll know in the future if you become a serious repeat offender but that's all the record is for. No harm, no foul. It's just in the ToS so we have the power and ability to take down those links. And to take action if and when anyone decides to keep knowingly posting pirated content.

 

Does that help?

Yes and no. While in some cases it could be possible to know a certain link is in fact illegal, given the fact that the admods usually decide whether or not someone posted it knowing it's legal status is another. This could get sticky in certain situations.

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daveb

My question wasn't directed at the admods, but just a general question. :)

 

I think it would need to be a clear pattern of repeatedly posting such links to warrant disciplinary action, but I'm not sure how I would characterize that. Is there a similar rule about spam, for example? Or something else similar which mods can use as a guideline? I don't even know if it happens often or not. Anyway, that's what you (admods) get paid the big bucks for! :P 

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LeChat

.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
5 hours ago, Heart said:

Sites like youtube, who have explicit terms of service against pirated content, are still ok to link to. No site is perfect, but we trust places like youtube to try their best.

 

 

Okay, so serious question time after the asexual pirate debacle. 

 

The above youtube link is actually illegal content, even though it's from YouTube (though I hope I don't get a nudge, as you specifically stated YouTube is 'okay'). It's still stolen content that's breaching copyright though. Just because YouTube is legal as a site (well, so is Putlocker) doesn't make this legal content, it's just that not enough people have reported the copyright breach for YouTube to take it down (and they are often super slack with this kind of thing). So even though you have claimed that YouTube stuff is 'legal', a lot of it is actually as illegal as the stuff on Putlocker. I mean, there is a whole thread here about 'post your own music' which has hundreds of posts, but literally every time someone links a song here that wasn't uploaded by the person who made the song/the company that owns the copyright to the song - that's illegal content. And there are obviously millions of videos like this on YouTube, and yes many of them are often shared here. I know I've linked The Echoes- Asexual song many times.. even though it's technically pirated content that someone has uploaded illegally.

 

Illegal content from YouTube is linked here a LOT more often than anything from Putlocker or other streaming sites. To be honest in all my time here I've never actually seen anyone link anything from a streaming site like Putlocker but maybe I just don't hang out in the right subforums.

 

So, what's AVENs stance on this sort of thing? (clearly illegal content from YouTube - which makes up the vast majority of music vids on YouTube)

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Heart
4 hours ago, sg06 said:

That's helpful. I accidently thought it meant that even links to research articles might be considered illegal in other countries.

Ah, sorry for the confusion! I'm glad I could help clear it up.

 

4 hours ago, Una Salus Victus said:

Yes and no. While in some cases it could be possible to know a certain link is in fact illegal, given the fact that the admods usually decide whether or not someone posted it knowing it's legal status is another. This could get sticky in certain situations.

Definitely, and it's hard to say ahead of time. We do have conversations surprisingly often though about whether a certain member is intentionally doing something against the ToS or if they just don't know how not to, such as flaming a situation; I imagine these conversations would go similarly. That is to say that we tend to err on the side of the member; one must show evidence that someone has been doing it intentionally in order for us to see it as intentional. Such evidence is most often made up of proof that a member keeps doing something we've explicitly told them not to.

 

So, for example, if you post a link to a placed called "All Our Content Is Pirated". We take the link down and send you a note saying "Hey, just to let you know, that site is notorious for hosting pirated content. Please refrain from posting links to there." Then, you post a link to another site, "All Our Content Is Pirated v2.0". We look at it and think "well, maybe they didn't realize this is the same as the other site, just a different domain" and so we give you the benefit of the doubt and send you another PM similar to the first, with a strong recommendation to avoid this site. But, on the other hand, if you keep linking to the exact same two sites over and over again... at some point, we'll likely decide as a team that you're blatantly ignoring our messages, and we may vote to escalate it to a warn.

 

What I described there is an entirely hypothetical scenario. But that's the best way I can think of to "prove" that a member is doing it intentionally; if we tell them to stop a thing, and they repeat it again multiple times. Sometimes, they repeat it in a way that it may be ambiguous as to whether they know they actually repeated it, like linking to that second domain that was the same site. We usually try to give the benefit of the doubt. But after some number of times... that's the most common way I can think of that the team ever votes that a member is doing something intentionally. When someone repeats behaviour we asked them to avoid without changing even slightly and without showing effort to avoid it.

 

 

4 hours ago, daveb said:

My question wasn't directed at the admods, but just a general question. :)

 

I think it would need to be a clear pattern of repeatedly posting such links to warrant disciplinary action, but I'm not sure how I would characterize that. Is there a similar rule about spam, for example? Or something else similar which mods can use as a guideline? I don't even know if it happens often or not. Anyway, that's what you (admods) get paid the big bucks for! :P 

We treat spam quite differently, actually, but that's another story and usually involves some really cheap lingerie or something in some other language... ;) But yes, what you say about repeated behaviour is very perceptive. What I wrote above I think encaptures what I can think to explain.

 

1 hour ago, FictoVore. said:

 

 

Okay, so serious question time after the asexual pirate debacle. 

 

The above youtube link is actually illegal content, even though it's from YouTube (though I hope I don't get a nudge, as you specifically stated YouTube is 'okay'). It's still stolen content that's breaching copyright though. Just because YouTube is legal as a site (well, so is Putlocker) doesn't make this legal content, it's just that not enough people have reported the copyright breach for YouTube to take it down (and they are often super slack with this kind of thing). So even though you have claimed that YouTube stuff is 'legal', a lot of it is actually as illegal as the stuff on Putlocker. I mean, there is a whole thread here about 'post your own music' which has hundreds of posts, but literally every time someone links a song here that wasn't uploaded by the person who made the song/the company that owns the copyright to the song - that's illegal content. And there are obviously millions of videos like this on YouTube, and yes many of them are often shared here. I know I've linked The Echoes- Asexual song many times.. even though it's technically pirated content that someone has uploaded illegally.

 

Illegal content from YouTube is linked here a LOT more often than anything from Putlocker or other streaming sites. To be honest in all my time here I've never actually seen anyone link anything from a streaming site like Putlocker but maybe I just don't hang out in the right subforums.

 

So, what's AVENs stance on this sort of thing? (clearly illegal content from YouTube - which makes up the vast majority of music vids on YouTube)

We did talk about this. My impression is that youtube actually has a protocol for dealing with illegal content, and it does its best to do so... even though it may suck by some standards. But it tries, and we kinda decided that what's good enough for youtube is good enough for us. Why? Because youtube pays people to do this very thing, and we're, well, volunteers. We might as well trust a site that actually hires people and pays them and stuff. If we're not going to trust youtube, then who can we trust?

 

We did not explicitly set up a huge protocol for exactly where that line is. In my opinion (again, I can't speak for the whole team without going through a lengthy drafting phase, so forgive me) I'd say that if a website has something in their terms of service saying not to post pirated content, and there is any kind of mediation/enforcement of that (even if it's shoddy), then that's good enough due diligence for me.

 

I mean, yes, ideally we'd love to have cut and dry answers for things like this. Trust me. But if even a site that makes the big bucks like youtube can't police this properly, then what chance does a poor set of already over-worked volunteers have? All we can do is try.

 

I'm going to call it a night now. I hope this all helped, please feel free to keep asking questions and I hope some other admods can help answer if they have time :)

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Member4445

Youtubes protocol is that as long as the content poster writes a clause saying 'this content does not belong to me' or something to that effect in their video discription, then it's fair to post. 

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gisiebob

why not take the other end of the spoon and instead of resricting links to websites that may incure fines for its users, state in the tos that you are not responsible for content posted from outside websites as far as pirating goes. seems like either way you are only able to keep your own bum out of the fire and not actually support any of the endusers if some country found them to be illegally interneting while on this site.

 

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festiff
1 hour ago, Ciri said:

Youtubes protocol is that as long as the content poster writes a clause saying 'this content does not belong to me' or something to that effect in their video discription, then it's fair to post. 

YouTube has this policy on copyrighted material

https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2797449?hl=en

 

YouTube has a system in place to deal with this. Say hypothethically John grant doesn't like his music on a YouTube video, this video was shared on aven from youtube then John grant could contact YouTube, they remove the video and this deadlinks the link to it on aven.

 

YouTube provides the musician a right to reply. The sites that this change in tos is targeting don't.

30 minutes ago, gisiebob said:

why not take the other end of the spoon and instead of resricting links to websites that may incure fines for its users, state in the tos that you are not responsible for content posted from outside websites as far as pirating goes. seems like either way you are only able to keep your own bum out of the fire and not actually support any of the endusers if some country found them to be illegally interneting while on this site.

 

A concern there would be about  not wanting aven to be a site where users knowingly freely post links to pirated material because this would reflect badly on aven as it would then be acting as a go-between to pirated material.

 

So this explicitly allows us to remove the links to pirated material and notify the users of the reason.

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
7 hours ago, Ciri said:

Youtubes protocol is that as long as the content poster writes a clause saying 'this content does not belong to me' or something to that effect in their video discription, then it's fair to post. 

I'm not sure where you heard that. 

 

Copyright doesn't work like that. It's still illegal to use someone else's content without the permission of the copyright holder and YouTube does have to take it down if someone is flagged breaching copyright. Popular YouTubers have had their vids taken down just for a song playing on a stereo in the background while they put on makeup or whatever. Smaller channels don't get as much visibility (and less reports) so YouTube is much slower to getting around to removing their content but that doesn't mean they aren't breaching YouTube ToS. After 3 copyright strikes, YouTube will disable their channel. I listen to audiobooks and if they're on YouTube I'll take advantage of that, but they are never up for long because YouTube removes them and disables the channel after repeated breaches. That's even if you don't have monetization enabled. They have all sorts of ways of busting your for uploading movies too, you don't even need to get flagged to be caught uploading movies. You can say 'this doesn't belong to me' all you want, but that won't stop you getting your channel disabled if you're caught breaching copyright too many times.

 

Fair use is really tricky, there is certainly material you can use under fair use but you have to follow YouTube's fair use guidelines strictly and even then, your content can be removed. (I've seen lots of popular channels complaining about this)

 

Here, from YouTube ToS: 

 

Quote


Why was content I recorded or purchased myself removed?

 

Just because you purchased content doesn't mean that you own the rights to upload it to YouTube. Even if you give the copyright owner credit, posting videos that include content you purchased may still violate copyright law.

 

Additionally, just because you recorded something yourself does not always mean you own all rights to upload it to YouTube. If what you recorded includes someone else's copyrighted content, such as copyrighted music playing in the background, then you would still need to get permission from the appropriate rights owners. ''

 

 

You can even get your video removed for using someone else's artwork that you got off Google images in your thumbnail. That's less common but if the copyright owner reports you, YouTube will take action.

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Serran

As we can't police every single video, this clause is mainly aimed at things like torrent, warez, etc that are obviously pirate content. The sort of things that people like KAT get arrested for after host hopping to multiple countries to keep their site up. 

 

YouTube has a team that tries to keep copyrighted material off their site. As such, no site I know of, blocks YouTube as a pirate website. But, certain sites might block say, pirate bay, as illegal content. Because one is trying to keep their content legal and the other is designed to be illegal content. Even though YouTube may have copyright violations on it, there is really only so much we can do to avoid that. YouTube though does do well if the artist truly wants their music off their site - just try finding Garth Brooks stuff on YouTube. You will find a bunch of covers, but not much in the way of him singing. He doesn't want his stuff on there and he made it clear to YouTube. 

 

So, we accept we cannot be perfect or know every violation of copyright, nor will we try (that would take a huge team of 24/7 monitoring). But, we want to discourage sharing things that are obviously illegal pirated content. This can get you in trouble with hosts and various other things if you encourage it. Now, accidents happen and plenty of people might not even know what they are sharing is illegal - that self-hosted radio station thing that was popular in chat for a while, for example, is technically illegal. You're not likely to get a warn for something like that. But, you couldn't promote your favorite torrenting site with all the latest blockbusters available for download, for example. 

 

Don't worry, mods will mostly just be sending a PM letting you know "Hey, that link was edited out, please don't share links from this site in the future". You aren't going to get warnings just cause you wanted to share a cool video and didn't know it was copyrighted material. If you get a PM and instantly reshare it though, you might run into issues. 

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)

I still have never seen a link posted on AVEN to any streaming site other than YouTube. Maybe I'm hanging out in the wrong forums but as far as I've seen, the vast majority of illegally uploaded content (and there's a fair bit of it) shared on AVEN is definitely from YouTube.

 

This isn't a response or argument, I understood clearly what the mods here have said. I'm just an observation!

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Malum
7 minutes ago, FictoVore. said:

I still have never seen a link posted on AVEN to any streaming site other than YouTube. Maybe I'm hanging out in the wrong forums but as far as I've seen, the vast majority of illegally uploaded content (and there's a fair bit of it) shared on AVEN is definitely from YouTube.

 

This isn't a response or argument, I understood clearly what the mods here have said. I'm just an observation!

It was people sharing anime streaming links. 

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Pan Ficto. (on hiatus?)
53 minutes ago, Yato said:

It was people sharing anime streaming links. 

aaah that makes more sense now then. It would have been nice to have some context earlier but better late than never!! (and also, that will be why I never saw them, haha.. though I'm pretty sure I linked Spirited Away here once, from YouTube though) :P 

 

 

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LeChat

FictoVore's experience was exactly what mine was: in the forums I visited, and the threads I read, I'd really only ever come across YouTube links. So, I was surprised to read that there was a problem.

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Serran
2 hours ago, Yato said:

It was people sharing anime streaming links. 

Honestly, not just that. We've in the past had issues with people heavily advertising streaming sites that were running barely released blu-rays like Rogue One, etc. In chat and in certain chat threads links to popular TV show streaming sites may get posted. It's just a general "we need to make this clearer", with a lot of history, that came about more recently due to that. 

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Nai

I'm not sure how much this'll help, but for those who were wondering: Putlocker is a website that hosts mainly pirated movies. It's popular (at least where I live) to use Putlocker to get out of buying movie tickets or DVDs. But it's pretty much illegal and I have no idea how the site is still around. I think YouTube is differently because it actively tries to take down videos that breach types of copyright where as Putlocker is essentially one big copyright breach.

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festiff
14 minutes ago, Nai said:

I'm not sure how much this'll help, but for those who were wondering: Putlocker is a website that hosts mainly pirated movies. It's popular (at least where I live) to use Putlocker to get out of buying movie tickets or DVDs. But it's pretty much illegal and I have no idea how the site is still around. 

Indeed, internet service providers in the UK has been ordered by court to block access to it

 

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/putlocker-blocked-down-virgin-media-sky-internet-streaming-watch-online-videos-a7050056.html

 

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Heart

Honestly, I'm actually quite happy to hear that many members hadn't encountered this as an issue yet. I'm always glad when we can clarify something before it becomes a huge issue rather than after the fact. Hopefully, this makes everything a bit more transparent and smooth for everyone involved :)

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LeChat

Well, I mainly peruse and hang around the more serious forums like "Gender Discussion," "Welcome Forum," "Questions About Asexuality," "Romantic Orientations," etc., but, more recently, the "Off-A" and "Arcade" forums, so I thought it was possible I might've missed something more serious going on in other forums I don't visit or the chat forum.

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