Just hours after the team behind Bad Lip Reading put up their Star Wars: The Force Awakens parody video, YouTube pulled it following an erroneous copyright claim.
The claim reportedly came from the Dramatists Play Service, an organization based in New York that publishes and licenses plays from upcoming and established writers. Late last night, the team at Dramatists Play Service tweeted that they were aware a copyright claim had been made on their account, but confirmed it wasn’t their doing. They added they were looking into ways to reverse the claim and were in contact with YouTube to figure out what exactly happened.
We have no claim on any works in the video and will be working with YouTube to get the video reinstated ASAP.— Dramatists Play Srvc (@DramatistsPlayS) April 7, 2017
As questions from supports of the Bad Lip Reading comedy group started filing in on Twitter, the team at Dramatists Play Service reiterated that it wasn’t a troll or intentional act, adding that they had nothing to do with the takedown request. Despite stating that they had nothing to do with it, the team apologized numerous times to both the comedians behind Bad Lip Reading and their fans.
Hi everyone -- working on getting the video back up. Was apparently some kind of clerical error, but the timing couldn't have been worse... https://t.co/ryft1CsVMN— Bad Lip Reading (@BadLipReading) April 7, 2017
Since joining YouTube in March 2011, Bad Lip Reading has posted 70 videos all featuring redubbed versions of popular movies, TV shows, games and other pieces of media that feature hilarious and incorrect lip voice overs. Although Bad Lip Reading does use material that is copyrighted, the team has never faced a takedown notice before.
Based on YouTube’s copyright and fair use guidelines, Bad Lip Reading could potentially be infringing on Lucasfilm and Disney’s copyright. According to the website’s guidelines:
Even if you’ve added a little something of your own to someone else’s content, you might not be able to take advantage of the fair use defense — particularly if your creation fails to add new expression, meaning, or message to the original. As with all the other cases discussed here, courts will consider all four factors of the fair use test, including the quantity of the original used.
Still, it seems pretty unlikely that Disney or Lucasfilm are going to get involved considering Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker in the franchise, leant his talents to the Bad Lip Reading team for this particular installment.
As of right now, the video hasn’t been reinstated, but Polygon has reached out to YouTube for comment.