BNN cracks down on Youtube

By Emily Chung, CBCNews.ca

The Business News Network faced some harsh accusations this week from Canadian copyright reform activists after it ordered some of its copyrighted videos to be removed from Youtube.

The Canadian Coalition for Electronic Rights cried foul online after it got notices in June that Youtube had received copyright complaints about two clips from BNN, which was formerly known as Report on Business TV and is owned by CTVglobemedia. The clips were on Canadian copyright reform had been posted on the video site by the coalition. Coincidentally, days earlier, CBC radio technology columnist Jesse Hirsch (and former TechBytes columnist) reported that a BNN clip featuring an interview with him – also about Canadian copyright reform – had also been taken down from Youtube.

Earlier this week, both the coalition and Hirsch posted blog entries noting that dozens of BNN clips remain on Youtube and suggested that BNN might be targeting a certain topic.

However, Hirsch later updated his post after being informed by BNN that it was, in fact, targeting all its video clips on Youtube – not just clips on copyright reform.

BNN general manager Jack Fleischmann said the whole conspiracy theory was a mistake. He confirmed to CBC News Friday that BNN has been searching for its videos on Youtube and has been asking Youtube to take them down as they are found, regardless of topic.

"Our policy is not to permit them to be posted," he said.

Fleischmann added that to his knowledge, BNN only started requesting Youtube to take down its videos very recently, about a month or two ago.

In other words, this isn't a case of conspiracy or censorship, but just a business news outlet belatedly making clear where its business arm stands on copyright and online video… at a time when many other broadcasters are signing deals with Youtube and launching Youtube channels in an effort to get a leg up in the competitive business of online broadcasting.