May 10, 2021

Content ID disclaimer is illogical, says Spanish film magnate

Carlos Vasallo is a Spanish actor & producer, and is one of the most prominent players in the Mexican and Latin American film industry. He and his various companies own the rights to a huge number of Spanish language films, and fit neatly in the category of those normally subscribed to YouTube’s ContentID automated anti-copyright system.

However, having been using traditional take down notices (DMCA Notices in the US), Mr Vasallo has now taken a bold new step, and sued YouTube directly for hosting infringing content. ContentID is a system that has its flaws, but generally works fairly well. However, it comes with a significant disclaimer – one cannot sign up to use it without giving YouTube a release against any past copyright infringement or piracy claim. Mr Vasallo is one of a small number to refuse, and has, since 2015, sent YouTube over 10,000 separate DMCA Notices (via his New York attorneys).

Mr Vasallo’s claim is that YouTube should be proactively removing infringing content for everyone, not only those using ContentID. As it stands, YouTube only removes the specific link contained in the DMCA Notice, and does not monitor for reuploads (which, according to the claim, is why such a high number of notices have been sent).

It will be interesting to follow this claim, as it has the potential to change the Safe Harbour laws in the United States if it reaches the Supreme Court. YouTube says that the Safe Harbour provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act means it is not liable until it has actual knowledge of an infringement and does not act. Mr Vasallo says that if that is the case, it should not require a release or disclaimer when signing up to its ContentID system.

If you have any questions about this or any other IP issue, please get in touch with the team on 0191 281 4000, or by email at

Posted by: Adham Harker in: Copyright, Digital/Tech, EU/International

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