Last month, more than 140 videos posted by Chevron abruptly vanished from YouTube, replaced by notices that said they were yanked due to copyright-infringement claims by a Spanish video-distribution company called Filmin.
Filmin didn’t specify what copyrights it owns on the videos for the excellent reason that it doesn’t have any. Nearly all of them were outtakes from a film called Crude, a documentary about an Ecuadorian lawsuit against Chevron over oil-drilling pollution.
Chevron’s attorneys won the legal right to view and disseminate the outtakes, which show various sleazy acts of behind-the-scenes collaboration between the plaintiffs, the Ecuadorian government and the supposedly neutral judicial authorities hearing the case.
Using the DMCA, they claim they own everything from a mock wanted poster for the father of a cabinet member accused of raping a child to a left-wing documentary criticizing the government for granting mining concessions to foreign companies.