Cinetel Multimedia: False Claims on the Public Domain

killing the public domain one threat at a time

Written by Blythe Lovely 

Contributor, things worth doing 

There’s a little business with, at this writing, seven whole followers on its Twitter and not much Facebook action, but it’s  masquerading as a big, important company called Cinetel Multimedia.

What, exactly, do they do? They take Public Domain movies, add Spanish dubbing and charge people money to watch what is otherwise content freely available to the public. Their channel’s filled with dubbed public domain movies they’re making money from this way, and they refer to them as their “Castillian” versions.

Not only do they alter the free and (supposedly) protected public domain and make money from it, but we’re told that the professionals (actors, actresses, estates, etc)  in these “dubbed” versions do not receive any proceeds from Cinetel Multimedia’s profits, either  Is this a service the company should be paid for, or just another way to profit from abusing the resource? Considering the already pressing demands on the incredibly shrinking public domain you wouldn’t think it could get worse. But, unfortunately, it gets worse.

Especially if you’re a tiny non-profit channel with less than fifty subscribers already getting slammed with loads of fake copyright claims to begin with.

Cinetel Multimedia claims the public domain through YouTube’s Content ID System. This means that if you upload something like the public domain film My Man Godfrey, for example, that Cinetel Multimedia may lay claim to get paid for it. If you dispute the claim, you may be in for a hard ride – involving not just wait periods, pass-the-buck excuses and difficulties – but fraught with threats to take legal action against you.

This is the video that Cinetel Multimedia doesn’t want you to see. In fact, they don’t want you to see it so much that they threatened the channel with legal action if they didn’t remove it.

It’s true, and it only gets worse: Cinetel Multimedia also threatened to take legal action against CinemaVintage if they did not remove the YouTube Help Post called Companies filing claims on the Public Domain because it included their business contact information for other people who may need to resolve disputes. He threatened legal action if they did not sanitize their YouTube and Google presence of all things Cinetel Multimedia, and he has no legal grounds whatsoever.

For a guy who tried to bully a small channel into silence with threats, he’s got an interesting situation on his hands now. Apparently, no one at Cinetel Multimedia ever heard of The Streisand Effect. The video and the forum post (in video, PDF and saved webpage forms) have started to go viral. Bloggers and media are picking up on it. People on YouTube and Google are talking about it. Organizations are discussing it and forums all over the web are starting to pop.

We think CinemaVintage, who agreed to be our mascot channel, is terrific and we’re happy to throw our support behind them. We’re sorry they’ve been put through so much in defense of the public domain. Go show them some love, folks. They sorely deserve it. And sub their back up CinemaVintageToo.

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