I am leaving Vimeo over their scandalous DMCA policy

Buh bye! Tomorrow I will start to pull all my videos from Vimeo and transfer them to another platform.

That’s not because playback performance remains a problem after half a decade.

It’s because Vimeo cannot even assure the safety of my account any more.

It could be deleted at any moment.

As with many music video directors, filmmakers and cinematographers – we like to share our work. That’s what we use Vimeo for.

We could be intimately involved in the production of a music video and own the images.

Owning the music is a separate matter.

It is incredibly easy to get a DMCA claim on Vimeo.

This problem is even worse for loyal Vimeo users – those who have stuck with the platform for YEARS.

James Miller for instance, long-time Philip Bloom collaborator and a wonderful DP, has a DMCA strike from 10 years ago!! Apparently at Vimeo these things are like a ball and chain around your ankle for eternity. Once you get one, you may as well start preparations for your own funeral.

I don’t know when it happened, but Vimeo now has a 3-strikes and you’re out DMCA policy. And by “out” I really mean out – Entire account deleted. All followers gone and all statistical data on viewing figures. No chance to download old videos. All comments and a wealth of useful community feedback in the dustbin.

Today a wide range of users found out about this for a first time when the Vimeo site flashed up the message you see above to anyone with 2 previous DMCA take-downs. Just TWO. That is nothing. One strike away from total deletion.

As filmmakers we NEED the ability to share our portfolio online. Sadly the record labels have automatic machine driven content ID systems that can create a strike on Vimeo in the blink of an eye. Vimeo has failed to guarantee the safety of their platform for us, so I am going. Even if you have a personal agreement with the artist to use the track, you can get a strike. For those with non-commercial shoots and camera tests from before the content ID era, again the issue is a pressing concern. A lot of popular music was used before libraries such as the The Music Bed came along, which allowed an artist to share a non-commercial, Fair Use, mood piece or cinematography reel with colleagues and followers on Vimeo. A small bunch of viewers, there to see what the camera can do in the right hands with the right sound track, used to enjoy the pleasures of the world’s best recording artists and bands together with these amazing images. Now, it’s some elevator music from a library, or else 3 strikes and you have your entire portfolio deleted.

This is not something I want to be part of.  YouTube still enforce copyright law without the take down and account deletion threats – and what’s more YouTube is free.

Content ID on YouTube is used automatically to pay the recording industry whenever a track gets streamed. Thanks to that deal, YouTube makes it in the record label’s interest to leave fan videos, mood pieces and non-commercial art well alone… as it generates millions of dollars in streaming revenue at the same time as giving credit and exposure to the recording artist. Vimeo has no such arrangement and together with the 3-strikes DMCA policy it is THE END of Vimeo in my eyes.

What gives Vimeo the right to delete not just the DMCA disputed video but YOUR ENTIRE ACCOUNT along with ALL your work, ALL your video, even with licensed soundtracks? What gives Vimeo the right to threaten their OWN PAYING CUSTOMERS with oblivion, based on a DMCA claim which might not even be legitimate? Which might be the result of a faulty automatic takedown process?

These old DMCA claims – dating back as far as 10 years for some cinematographers and filmmakers – are on record permanently at Vimeo, leaving most of us hanging by a thread. With an online portfolio of work being so important to our careers, we cannot afford to have it hanging by a thread. It must be handled with care by the host. There must be the right policy, fit for purpose, behind the platform.

Vimeo has not been able to arrange that, so I am leaving. They don’t engage with users over this. I raised my concerns countless times. Vimeo don’t seem to talk, they don’t seem to listen

After 8 years, I am very sad Vimeo has come to this.