Scottish vlogger caught up in copyright row with BBC

A controversial vlogger who claims his YouTube channel was shut down without warning has become caught up in a copyright dispute with the BBC.

Stuart Campbell, who operates a popular video blog advocating Scottish independence, claims that YouTube took down his Wings over Scotland channel “for copyright breaches” following requests from the BBC.

According to a report in The Scotsman, Mr Campbell claims that the BBC had “gone on a crusade against pro-independence sites” and launched “mass takedown demands” to get content of this kind removed from the internet.

His comments come after the BBC publicly complained about the use of its material on third party websites and in internet videos earlier this year.

Wings over Scotland’s YouTube videos featured several clips of news and current affairs broadcasts, including those from BBC News – and the disgruntled vlogger believes this is partly why his channel was unexpectedly shut down.

However, he says that the BBC content used as part of his videos was always “in full compliance with fair-use laws” and that the surprise decision to remove his page was completely unnecessary and unfair.

In response, the BBC has admitted that it did “take action” over copyright concerns, but has said that it never contacted YouTube to request the removal of Mr Campbell’s channel.

“The latest assault on Wings: our YouTube channel has been deleted, without warning, ‘for copyright breaches’ despite zero copyright strikes,” Mr Campbell said.

“The channel is a huge repository of political evidence, much of it not recorded elsewhere. It complies completely with copyright law,” he added, admitting that a “small number” of individual complaints had been received in recent years, but that these had always been “resolved” amicably.

In response, a spokesperson on behalf of the BBC, said: “Whenever we receive complaints about large volumes of our material being posted or used without authorisation we look to take action to protect our copyright.

“This action is normally limited to asking for individual videos to be removed and the BBC did not ask or demand for these whole channels to be taken down.”

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Maung Aye
Maung is a partner in our Corporate and Commercial department. He joined Mackrell Turner Garrett following corporate law positions in London and in a leading regional firm in Essex. Maung read European Legal Studies at Lancaster University and the Università degli Studi di Trento and is a fluent Italian speaker.