Is Vimeo Arbitrarily Taking Down Videos It Deems As 'Commercial'?

from the that-makes-no-sense dept

With Vimeo recently getting sued by EMI for supposedly encouraging infringement of their music in videos, it's interesting to note that Vimeo is apparently arbitrarily and ridiculously aggressive in cutting off anyone who uses the service for any sort of "commercial" purpose (found via Shocklee). The story is quite bizarre, but apparently Vimeo has buried in its terms of service that you can't use the service for commercial reasons -- though almost no one knows this. Yet, Vimeo itself seems to decide rather arbitrarily if your videos are commercial or not and then gives you a 24-hour notice to remove your videos. This is rather disappointing. Vimeo's player is actually quite nice (much nicer than YouTube's), and I've recommended many others to use its service. I had my own odd problem with Vimeo last year when for some unknown reason the company completely deleted my account and locked me out of using the service. Eventually they restored the account, but no explanation for the deletion was ever given (and it made me look bad, because I had been discussing stuff with someone, who then accused me of deleting my posts).

The other oddity is the claim that Vimeo says you cannot embed Vimeo videos on sites that show ads, as that's "commercial use." Once again, we get into the difficulty of figuring out what is commercial use? If I embed a Vimeo video in a blog post is that commercial use? This is a blog, but it's part of our business. Similarly, some of the speeches I've given in the past couple of years were put online using Vimeo. Are these "commercial use"? Are they then commercial use if I happen to embed the video in the blog? What if I embed someone else's video in this "commercial" blog? Like -- as we did with the Vimeo getting sued story -- embedded a video from Vimeo itself? It's nearly impossible to figure out what is and what's not commercial. About the only thing you can say is that you probably shouldn't use Vimeo for anything, because its policies appear to be totally arbitrary and prone to suddenly losing the videos you thought you had legitimately posted.
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Filed Under: commercial, non-commercial, videos
Companies: vimeo


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  1. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 23 Dec 2009 @ 1:59pm

    Re:

    If it's in the site's Terms of Service, a legal document to which you must agree before using the service, how can no one know this?

    You seem to be skipping over the key questions: how do you define commercial use? It seems to be defined quite arbitrarily.

    Hell, even Vimeo itself appears to have violated this rule, because it used videos for recruiting purposes -- which seems quite commercial.

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