Copyright Cat-Burglary

February, 2015

By Scott Coulthart

It seems that even pets can engage in breaches of copyright.

Recently, as reported in this news article, EMI claimed copyright breach by the owner of a YouTube account when a one-hour long video of the owner’s cat purring was uploaded.

YouTube uses an automated copyright checking system which tries to match uploaded videos against copyright protected works, and if there is a match, the uploaded video is suspended from earning income for the account owner, and the owner is sent a warning. In a great example of automation gone wrong, the YouTube checking system appears to have matched the hour-long purring of Phantom the cat with a song called “Focus”, the content checking software convinced that Phantom’s purring was a breach of copyright in the song.

This would not appear to say much for the quality of the song, but that’s another issue.

The owner of the YouTube account had to lodge a formal dispute over the EMI claim, forcing EMI to review the material before EMI (sensibly) withdrew its copyright breach claim.

Phantom the moggy is believed to be claiming damages of 10 lbs in catnip, but as Phantom should know, nobody’s purr-fect.

Contact Mills Oakley

For more information, please contact:

scott-coulthartScott Coulthart | Special Counsel
T: +61 7 3228 0437


Dale Cliff | Partner
T: +61 7 3228 0430
E: dcliff@mil


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