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The NFL, YouTube, and DMCA

We're seeing more and more media getting removed due to copyright violations

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, to all three of you who remember me from the comments, I am that guy who posts old school video game gifs that have little to no relevancy to the topic at hand. I have joined forces with Niners Nation as their resident ‘video game guy'. My punishment role will be to report directly to Fooch's beard and simulate Madden games for the upcoming season. You'll be seeing a lot of articles about Madden; all of which are more than what the Surgeon General deems healthy or in moderation. My sanity will no doubt fade, but that is fine as you, the readers, are far more important.

About me: I'm one of the strange people who is a 49er fan living in Seattle.  I flirted with the video game journalism seductress for several websites, have a young adult novel in the works (it's been nominated for an award but if it will be published is anyone's guess), and will tweet either about literature, video games, or direct awesomeness.

I also have ninja skills:

Niners fans have it pretty good on YouTube. If you haven’t, I suggest you check out Marvin49’s channel. He has the last five or six drafts for the San Francisco 49ers edited and posted. He adds both the ESPN and NFL Network commentary from the draft and it’s always interesting to see what they thought of our draft picks they day they were selected. There’s nowhere else I can find previous drafts and this has become my go-to for nostalgia. If it’s up on NFL Rewind, I haven’t seen it.

Here’s a link to the 2014 draft. Check out the analysts' thoughts on Jimmy Ward, Carlos Hyde, and others.

I hope you clicked it. Did you? Good. Let’s talk about it.

I understand where copyright infringement needs to be acted on. Go to torrent sites and download NFL games that you can buy off iTunes for $2.99. That makes sense. They have the product readily available to download for a small cost and people are going elsewhere to get it for free. Sure, it’s only the game highlights as opposed to full games on a torrent site, but I at least can get behind the reasoning.

But the draft? Really?

It’s not just the draft videos. There have been a lot of 49er highlight videos I’ll favorite, only to come back to them a week or so later and see the same message about copyright infringement. I subscribe to the reasoning that by watching these videos, people would only be more interested in the current NFL product. I don’t see Roger Goodell offering a "Follow your Team" for the NFL draft, nor do I see anything regarding a rebroadcast of any draft for us to watch again. I would love to watch the draft that Alex Smith was a part of and hear everyone’s thoughts on him. All I can find though, is a video of Aaron Rodgers getting passed over (I bet that’s already been taken down).

Copyright police suck, but the reality is, copyright infringement cuts into a holder’s profits. When you release a video of an NFL game you can download or buy, that’s taking money away from the NFL. When you release an album for free, the artist and record companies have every right to come after you for illegally downloading it. Right or wrong, greedy or not, I can understand why the motion picture and music industries are going nuts getting illegal streams taken down. It’s a money issue. And also, to some, an artistic issue.

Here’s the big question though: How do old NFL videos unavailable elsewhere cut into your product or profits? At all?

With NFL Rewind readily available for a small cost, the league has every right to take down illegally posted videos of NFL games. That cuts into the cost and profits of their service they provide. Being a cheap person myself, I find it annoying, but at least understandable. But again: videos that aren’t even available? How does that help The Shield?

Is it infringement? Sure, I’ll play devil’s advocate and agree. But if we want to get technical with the law, it’s also infringement for putting up a movie trailer, A 45 second gag from a sitcom. We live in the digital age and the NFL still wants to stay in the 70s.

I know what you’re thinking: "Well that’s the rules, that’s the law," so is jaywalking. Should police be handing out tickets every time someone crosses an unmarked road? That’s the rules right? No, we don’t because it’s stupid, borderline harassment, and it’s causing more harm than good (besides dumb pedestrians).

Anyways, this got me really wondering about the NFL and the copyright police they are sending out to take these videos down. I figured I’d open it up for discussion. What are your thoughts on streaming videos and the NFL’s insistence on yanking them down? At what point do you think they should be removing media? Even though they have every legal right, do you think it hurts them more in the long run?