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When content is removed from the Internet following a DMCA complaint filed by a rightsholder the user who uploaded the content gets a chance to file a counter-claim. If successful this should reinstate the content but on YouTube things now appear to be working somewhat differently. It transpires that YouTube has a special deal with Universal which sees content taken down at the record label’s request and DMCA counter notices blocked with no chance of appeal.utubetakedown1Over the past few years and during the last 12 months in particular the DMCA notice has become a key tool for rightsholders to fight copyright infringement online. However, on thousands of occasions the original notices are flawed, targeting incorrect or non-infringing ‘fair use’ content.In these instances someone targeted by a wrongful DMCA takedown is usually given the chance to file a counter-claim stating why content should not have been removed. Content then has the opportunity to be reinstated or removed if the dispute cannot be settled.While counter-claims provide a balance to a DMCA complaint, there is evidence to suggest that YouTube, one of the biggest receivers of copyright notices online, is in some cases disallowing them.When a video is uploaded to YouTube it’s put through the company’s Content ID system and compared against digital fingerprints provided by copyright holders to check for infringement. YouTube user John McKelvey has discovered that if you fall foul of signatures provided by certain rightsholders then your content gets taken down – and remains down – even if no copyrights have been infringed.Here’s what happened. McKelvey has been publishing an ongoing series of hip hop history videos, each taking a look at classic, rare or overlooked records. One featuring Eric B. & Rakim caused the latest issues...Text of counter notice filed by McKelveyMy video is NOT a competitor to sales of the [Eric B. & Rakim] song. It directly encourages viewers to buy it for themselves. Anyone seeking a pirate copy would in no way be happy with my video as a substitute.YouTube email to Universal advising of McKelvey’s counter-noticeWe received the attached counter notification in response to a complaint you filed with us. We’re providing you with the counter notification and await your notice (in not more than 10 business days) that you’ve filed an action seeking a court order to restrain the counter notifier’s allegedly infringing activity. Such notice should be submitted by replying to this email. If we don’t receive notice from you, we may reinstate the material to YouTube.YouTube mail to McKelvey 11 days after filing of counter-noticeThank you for your counter-notification. The complainant has reaffirmed the information in its DMCA notification.YouTube has a contractual obligation to this specific copyright owner that prevents us from reinstating videos in such circumstances. Therefore, we regretfully cannot honor this counter-notification.