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YouTomb draws attention to YouTube copyright takedowns

In an effort to explore the nature of Fair Use violations on the web, MIT Free Culture, a student organization at MIT, has created YouTomb, a website the regularly scans YouTube and posts information (but not the videos themselves) about clips that are taken down due to "copyright infringement." MIT Free Culture claims that the website was created to "shed light on YouTube's practices, to educate the general public on the relevant copyright issues, and to provide helpful resources to users who have had their videos wrongfully taken down."

In addition to the name and a thumbnail of the videos, the site shows the number of days the video had been viewable on YouTube, and who requested it to be taken down.

While many of the videos that are taken down and tracked on YouTomb appear to be exact duplications of copyrighted material, serving as "DVR to the World," as discussed in Recut, Reframe, Recycle, many of the videos tracked will have a claim to Fair Use. The site serves as a very useful aggregation tool in exploring the unjust nature of takedowns on YouTube.

In an effort to raise awareness about Fair Use on the web, and to educate media makers about their rights, the Center will be releasing the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use in Online Video this June.