UK lighting manufacturer Rotolight recently earned itself a good bit of bad press when the company allegedly used a DMCA notice to get an unfavorable video review taken down by Vimeo, sparking free speech outrage within the photographic community.
The video in question was a comparison review by F-Stop Academy’s Den Lennie. Lennie compared the Rotolight Anova LED (pictured above) to two competitor lights, and the Anova came out less-than-favorable. That’s when things get a bit confusing.
Lennie claims that a DMCA was filed with Vimeo, which resulted in the video being taken down. This was confirmed by a statement Lennie received and republished claiming that, because the review was “not fair or representative,” Rotolight claimed it infringed on the company’s trademark and had it taken down.
Lennie subsequently published the following video via Facebook, explaining what happened and expressing the firm belief that reviewers “should not have [their] work being taken down simply because a manufacturer doesn’t like the outcome:”
The confusing part is that the official statement released by Rotolight yesterday, in addition to apologizing, also backtracks and seems to deny misuse of a DMCA takedown notice:
In this specific case, the video was not removed for copyright infringement reasons as has been widely reported. Rotolight received external advice with respect to this particular video that it was potentially misleading and unrepresentative.
The company goes on to apologize for what it calls “a breakdown in communication between the key parties,” but not without first explaining its side:
“Due to a simple human error, the light featured in this Video was found to have a minor anomaly in its manual software calibration process, which affected only this particular light. It was immediately rectified and returned to the customer, resolving the issue displayed in the Video. The issue here was not that we simply ‘didn’t like the results’ but that the original test video was posted to Vimeo 5 months after the issue had been rectified, without any reference to this.
Even if this is the case, however, several news outlets covering the story point out that using a DMCA to take down the review was still wrong.
As a “gesture of good faith,” the company is donating a $3,000 Rotolight to F-Stop Academy, and has invited them to the company’s Pinewood Studios Office to meet the designer and the Rotolight team. Additionally, The original review has also been restored to Vimeo:
It’s still unclear whether a DMCA was indeed used erroneously to have the video taken down — although it seems clear there was no copyright infringement — but Lennie has officially accepted Rotolight’s apology and intends to put the whole matter behind him as he has already “spent enough of [his] holiday dealing with this debacle.”
“Rotolight have apologized and I respect them for manning up. I accept that apology and will take no further action following this blog post,” writes Lennie. “I will however hold them to a re-test, we will film it and publish those results.”
The Streisand effect is defined as “the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely.” If the folks at Rotolight didn’t know about it before, it’s safe to say they do now.
(via Lighting Rumours)