F1 fan beats FOM over right to upload video from Grand Prix weekends

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F1 fans have gotten used to seeing video from Grand Prix weekends taken down from sites like Youtube as quickly as it is uploaded – even if the video was filmed by a fan using their own camera.

But now one F1 follower in Australia has successfully challenged FOM’s censorship of fan videos after his footage was taken down from Youtube.

Blogger Fitzroyalty explains:

Youtube removed my videos at FOM’s request without verifying whether FOM owns the copyright or intellectual property rights in them. I filed a counter notice stating that, until FOM or the AGPC requests that I assign the copyright and intellectual property rights of the videos to them and receives my consent, I own the videos and FOM has no authority to request their removal.

I also stated that FOM has acted in a bullying and unethical manner in using its corporate wealth and power to have my videos removed from Youtube when it has lo legal right to do so.

The Youtube copyright staff are polite and professional and answer email correspondence promptly. They told me that, once a counter notice refuting a case of content removal is received by them and forwarded to the complainant, they give the complainant 10 days to notify Youtube whether the complainant plans to take further legal action against the person who posted the contested content.

By the time I learned this fact, the 10 day period was almost over. A few days later, Youtube informed me that it had not heard back from FOM, and that it would reinstate my videos, which are now available.

Here’s an example of one of the videos:

This bloody-mindedness on FOM’s part has come up for discussion a few times in recent years, usually when a sharp-eyed spectator spotted something the TV cameras missed.

When Robert Kubica crashed at Montreal in 2007, reverse-angle footage from the spectator stands gave a greater impression of the scale of the accident than the television cameras did. (Read more here: Now FOM bans amateur video of Kubica crash)

More famously, later that year, a now-infamous spectator video shot at Fuji led the FIA to open a new investigation into Lewis Hamilton’s driving behind the safety car.

And at Melbourne this year – the very race where Fitzroyalty captured their film – a fan caught footage of Jarno Trulli going off the track and being overtaking by Hamilton under the safety car, which proved the trigger for another controversy.

Any F1 fans in Australia who’ve had Formula 1 video they’ve shot taken down from Youtube should read this post by Fitzroyalty.

And if you’ve had any success uploading F1 videos of your own to Youtube, tell us about it below.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “F1 fan beats FOM over right to upload video from Grand Prix weekends”

  1. It’s an interesting issue, and good on him for fighting his corner.

    However, here’s another potential angle. When visiting the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to watch, say, England vs Australia, all video cameras are banned. Why? Because Channel 9 has bought exclusive rights to “broadcast” the game.

    True, I’m not expecting a fan to sneak in a single camera and stream that video via 3G to some website somewhere, but it does throw up a disturbing precident ie if Bernie feels like it, he might well make it part of the fine-print on all F1 tickets that a condition of entry is either a) no video footage may be shot, and / or b) any & all footage shot belongs to FOA by default :(

    Naturally, either of those options will only serve to further alienate the hardcore fans that go to the races in person. But then, I wonder if Bernie cares. From memory, ticket sales are one of the few things that generates revenue for the track itself, while Bernie makes millions from the TV coverage, and would surely stamp out any threat to that revenue stream…

    1. There is already fine print on all tickets to F1 events that state something along those lines. I don’t have a ticket to hand but I remember reading it on many tickets for the past 5 or 6 years. It’s something along the lines of no video or still photography is permitted anywhere inside the circuit. There is also something about FOM owns all media content of the event.

      I’ll try and dig out a ticket and post it.

  2. good point Pope

  3. How the hell can you have censorship of something you do not own, on a site dedicated to input from individuals???

  4. In fact, there is a text about copyright of photo’s and film on the tickets. At least it was when I went to Hungary in 2006.

    It states that you can only use the photo’s / film for private use.

  5. Straightforward copyright rules. If you record a show or a concert you can view it to your hearts content but you mustn’t forward it on or broadcast it – unless its less than 30 seconds and then its ok.

    It may sound like the big guy beating the little guy but in millions of cases its the little guy – the performer – getting screwed by file swapping sites.

    It is a shame there is no footage on youtube but duh! the FOM could make a fortune by streaming clips themselves or they could create a format where users like this Australian lad could legitimately upload it and the FOM receives revenue from placed ads….as could the guy who recorded it.

    The way to win the copyright battle isnt to ban it, its to work with the technology enabling it to make you money or more correctly the performer.

    1. Excellent comment

    2. Indeed an excellent post- FOM could be making big money and doing great marketing/promotional work like this on many different fronts, but Bernie and his people really don’t think they have a need to sell their product to be successful.

      1. How is the performer getting screwed by more people seeing his performance? Is it the every view is someone who would have gone to the show idea ?

        1. Which of course isn’t true at all for anything but perhaps a movie. I can’t afford to go to many F1 races, but if I could, no way I would go “oh, can’t go, have to watch it for free on BBC (heh) or wait for fan shots from youtube – if I go I’ll know what happens and it will be spoiled.

          Almost any footage of F1, or whatever motorsports, will get people that care to want to go and experience it for real.

  6. Stupid situation.

  7. FOM might get some sympathy from me on this issue if they offered a comparable service to YouTube, even if you had to pay for it or it was full of ads.

    Someone correct me if I am wrong but if you would like to see classic F1 action you have to go to sites such as YouTube, as the FOM site only has highlights of races from last year and they haven’t even released DVD season reviews from most years yet. If they did release good quality season reviews on DVD with plenty of extras for every year I for one would buy them.

    1. Absolutely,

      And I still cannot fathom why B. Ecclestone can’t get his head around the fact that high-quality pay-per-view online streaming would make him even more disgustingly rich. He really needs a sidekick who understands how far communications have changed over the past decade.

  8. To argue this correctly you need to understand the law in your own country. In Australia the Grand Prix is established by an act of state parliament in Victoria, where the race is held, and aspects of that act would be overruled by the federal copyright act. The entry conditions are formed in part by the act of state parliament, so Bernie cannot simply change that. FOM’s case is invalid under Australian law; the circumstances in other jurisdictions remain to be investigated. I encourage people around the world to research the law in their country in relation to this issue.

    1. That’s a very useful clarification and good to keep in mind for issues like this: law depends on the local conditions and rules too.

  9. ps the terms and conditions printed on entry tickets are not necessarily legally valid and can be contested depending on the legal definition of how a contract is formed between parties in a specific jurisdiction.

  10. from q&a with Luca de Montezemolo:

    we need a modern, efficient company for the commercial [rights] holder.


  11. Hi Keith,

    I had a video where i re-created Montreal 2007 on GP4. (You may remember it, it was used on this site) It has just recently been taken down by FOM… They don’t own the ITV commentary surely?

    1. Tommy, I honestly think you can challenge that. The commentary may be a sticking point, though. But I think you can argue that by recreating it using GP4, you’ve created a completely different product.

      1. You can definitely challenge that! MicroProse or whoever makes the game these days may own the copyright to the commentary, unless you used the itv commentary in which case they would own that but not FOM. It could well be that they made a mistake and thought the game footage was real footage but I doubt that very much!

  12. Ethnic_Tension
    27th April 2009, 14:33

    Simple solution. As satire is a valid exclusion of copyright law, all you have to do is take the video and add some Benny Hill music, then claim it is a send up. Problem fixed.

  13. Wasn’t me :)

  14. KingHamilton&co
    27th April 2009, 16:44

    1-0 to the fan!

    Ha, take that money grabbing, greedy FOM! I do believe they even make sure residents of monaco have to pay to see their own grand prix in their own streets otherwise they’re not allowed to watch it when F1 has just invaded!

    I know thats unrelated, but it just shows that FOM is another money grabbing, uncaring organisation who think they own anyone who enters a gp weekend.

    so for the fan to get one back, is very good news!

  15. David beats bully Goliath (for now) in round one…

  16. Ha! I used to fix this guy’s computers! Awesome!

  17. I don’t see why we should be paying extra for what is free-to-air Formula 1. TV companies around the world pay their fees to Bernie and then broadcast it to our homes.
    Record it. Swap it. Got any space on this site for a swap service?
    Are FOM going to take all the fans to court for swapping their videos to get more money? Don’t think so. They don’t need more money. There is surely enough money to keep 20 teams racing per season if needed and that is what it is all about. The live action is the money spinner and it should never go to pay-per-view as the business model doesn’t allow it. Imagine if you paid a multi million dollar sponsorship deal to a team to then find out that not the entire world is watching?
    Now, if there were a page I could go to and contact fellow fans to get a copy of a race that I missed…..

  18. DieBernieDIE
    29th April 2009, 3:00

    Ecclestone is a useless twat.

  19. theRoswellite
    29th April 2009, 16:19

    Copyright rules obviously protect numerous parties associated with the creation of any “work”, but anyone at FOM that thinks clips posted on UTube do anything but provide “free” general F1 promotion, needs to question their own objectivity. In this case their position seems to be alienating F1 fans. Is that their promotional goal?

  20. Good article here from Wired. Among other things explains the reasons why ‘youtube’ et all take down things without even a sanity check, given a takedown notice.


  21. Whooohoo….. The saviour has come… we are saved!!!

Comments are closed.