If a Company Doesn't Like a Product Review, Should They Be Able to Take it Down?
That's exactly what happened to Den Lennie of F-Stop Academy, even though they owned all of the equipment in the review. He posted a review of the Rotolight Anova, Dedo Softbox, and Kino Flo Celeb, and while the review had been up for some time, one of those companies was not happy with the result. They issued a DMCA takedown notice to Vimeo, and the video was removed. Check out Den's video below for the explanation:
After responding that they did not think the testing procedures were fair, Rotolight posted this on Den Lennie's Facebook:
We would be delighted for you to do a side by side comparison of our light, all that we would kindly ask is that we are given the opportunity to ensure that the camera and lighting are setup correctly to ensure a fair and representive result. We have no problem with it being an independent test, i have sent you my mobile number via PM and i hope you'll take us up on that offer.
We have had many in depth reviews of the colour and output of the Anova, including the Canadian Society of Cinematographers who specifically said (under test conditions similar to yours) "Many lights, especially LEDs, produce a spiky spectrum or have large chunks of spectrum missing, but the Anova showed a nice smooth gradation through the whole visible light spectrum, which in turn means rich, beautiful and natural colour rendition in the subjects you are shooting” (http://new.csc.ca/news/default.asp?aID=1579).
You are completely right, we should have just contacted you directly to arrange the re-test rather than acted via Vimeo, please accept our sincere apologies for that. We of course have no issue at all with you posting the results of the re-test all we wanted was just to ensure the test was representative, there was nothing more to it than that.
I realize there are millions of videos, but the burden of proof should be on the person requesting the takedown, otherwise what would stop anyone from trying to pull down any video they don't like -- for any reason? That isn't too far from YouTube's policy -- they'd rather take it down quickly and figure it out later than leave it up and let the person issuing the DMCA notice prove why it should come down (though YouTube does give more options to copyright holders to actually benefit from the infringing video). This is the way the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) handles these issues, where companies can issue them at any time and get quick results, letting the real proof be sorted out later. That's what happened in the GoPro/Digital Rev debacle a few months back, where a review was taken down for bogus reasons (but later restored).
If a company really wants to control their image, should they be able to submit takedown notices for every bad review on the internet? Even if someone is posting a video just to cause trouble, should their free speech not be protected?
I think it's important to note that in my history at NFS, we've never once had a company approach us because they didn't like what we had to say, and that includes advertisers who we have freely criticized while they had ads running on the site. People are always going to complain about something, but if you make good products and have quality customer service, the positive voices will more than likely drown out the few negative ones.
What do you think about all of this? Would you do a re-test as Den says he will, or would you stick by the original review?