Copyright Chronicles: A Viral Encounter With Landon Dowlatsingh

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It’s been a few months since I’ve posted a rollicking internet copyright yarn. Not that there haven’t been infringements. Those are constant. It’s just that most are overly pedestrian- a pest control coupon that’s removed on request, for example. Not worth blogging. This one, however, involves a barely literate YouTube host pretending to be a lawyer, and his messages are simply too bizarre to pass up sharing.

A screen capture of Mr. Dowlatsingh presenting my photographs.

I won’t bore you with the details of the infringement beyond the basics: 6 photographs of driver ants, most with my name cropped out, uploaded twice to a popular YouTube tabloid without being credited or licensed. The infringer responded to my formal copyright notice by committing perjury, claiming to Youtube that he had rights to my work and that my notice was mistaken.

Thinking the rights grab a bold move, I emailed him. Our correspondence follows:




This provoked two responses:



My reply:


And Mr. Dowlatsingh’s:


This line of argument was obviously not headed anywhere, so off to the lawyers it goes.

Update (8/25/2015): Mr. Dowlatsingh has sent a DMCA counter-notice to YouTube that implicates YouTube and Google as being knowing, approving parties in the infringement. Updated Strategy: have attorney pen letter to Google’s legal department requesting verification?


28 thoughts on “Copyright Chronicles: A Viral Encounter With Landon Dowlatsingh”

  1. James C. Trager

    I particularly like his last paragraph. Seems to me you’d be pleased to have every last one of his “1.3 million subscribers” know that you’re a stingey stickler when it comes to copyright infringement, impinging on his right to make millions by stealing your work. Of course it’s a bluff, and he’d never state it that way even if it weren’t a bluff.

  2. I agree with the earlier comments that I don’t envy you having to deal with this. However, I co-teach a course on scientific professionalism and ethics in my department, and my section deals with professional online behavior. Your copyright infringement posts have given me lots of great tangible real world examples to show my students, so thanks for sharing!

      1. What a pathetic loser. I love the pseudo-legal gibberish that he is spewing, especially the statement “[…] or if my address is outside of the United States[…]” If? He doesn’t know where he lives? Alex, I very much appreciate you going after scumbags like this.

  3. How do the ‘fair use’ rules interact with these cases? I know for example from Youtube that many people make reviews of movies, using the footage of that movie for the review (and monetizing that video with ads, of which the money I assume goes to the maker of the youtube video?).

    Are videos in this instance different from pictures? I’m confused.

    1. I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is:

      Fair use is a bit nebulous and decided on a case-by-case basis. As wikipedia says “Examples of fair use include commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship.” I for one don’t see how a breathless for-profit top-10 youtube video hits any of those, or is in the interest of the society to curtail the right holders exclusive rights, but maybe they’ve got a really good lawyer and can come up with some reasoning that a court might buy. I rather doubt it given the amazing command of the language demonstrated.

      (I doubt that Alex can or should comment much more on this particular case now that it’s been passed to the lawyers)

  4. If his legal team can not even muster a grammatically correct reply in proper English, it’s a miracle he’s won battles for 6-7 years.

    What is he, his own legal team?

  5. It’s kind of funny how after your “I am not a large company” he tries to scare you with “It’s not just a channel it’s a corporation with a lot of people in it”.

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  7. I don’t know if Google Translate has it right, but it appears that you have just been spammed in Chinese. According to Translate, the text reads, “Your boss to send you free website templates?”

    1. What he’s pretty much saying is that he likes the look of the site and wants to know if/how he can get a free copy of the template.

  8. Just checked the video and I just wouldn’t bare to see more than a few seconds. As far as I’m concerned… those horrendously ridiculous, stupid videos/clips/lists/orwhatever could be banned altogether. I just can’t understand why people need to see screaming clowns present nonsense when a single short informative video of… let’s say ants hunting a millipede… is far more exciting and fantastic… and real.
    But maybe I’m only turning into an “old fart” who can’t stand the development of… well…
    Anyhow. Hope your fight goes well.

  9. As I type this the video is still up, with your pictures still in place. I’m curious to know how this battle pans out, and, if you win, how you managed it! I’m rooting for the good guy here.

  10. I love that the copyright infringer can’t spell and exhibits lousy grammar skills. Yeah, we all really should side with this guy…. and the Donald, too.

  11. I was watching the video just to be sure of some things. He did not add a source, or provide any links for fair use. So I think you have a solid case here.

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