ATTENTION: THIS IS WORK IN PROGRESS.Edit
Please comment if you want - I will send a request for comments once I have a finished draft. Saruta 00:04, February 28, 2012 (UTC)
In late 2011 - early 2012, English translated reuploads of Japanese Vocaloid videos (mostly with Miku Hatsune) to YouTube have been targeted by a wave of false copyright claims. Attackers introduced themselves as false company names and obvious pseudonyms. Without any checking, YouTube deleted the allegedly breaking videos. It also suspended the "offending" accounts, removing many more videos from view. Even after the incidents became public and were raised on YouTube support forums, YouTube (Google), as far as I am aware, did not inform users of any action to investigate.
To restore the videos, the uploader has to claim "under threat of perjury" that they have the full rights - putting the onus on them to contact the authors, which is not always easy. The uploader also has to provide their real address, which can be passed to the attacker. This is not so trivial as many Vocaloid fans (and thus, some uploaders too) are girls aged between 13 and 17. Even with all this information, it takes about two weeks to restore content.
False copyright claims are evidently a strong tool that can be misused for censorship and possibly gathering of personal data. A 2 week deletion would be critical for many campaign videos - and cases of such abuse are already known. It appears that under the DMCA regime providers are required to provide this tool and keep it open for abuse.
The original attacks have ceased when the issue became public, but copycat attempts still happen. The fandom is looking for ways to increase communication between translators/repuloaders and original creators; this is not always easy as both the langiuage and demographics of Japanese and Western fandoms are different. But a free and creative atmosphere was impacted by an unknown troll - probably someone who dislikes Vocaloid music. This can happen to others, too.
The background: Vocaloid and its fandomEdit
Vocaloid is a piece of proprietary software that performs artificial singing. In theory, one just types the lyrics, sets the notes in the score, does some tuning, and hears a great song. In practice, however, the "greatness" considerably depends on the tuning skill.
Vocaloid does not really make its singing up "from scratch"; despite the name that can be read as "Vocal android", and the science fiction that the fandom often plays with, it is not a real singing robot. (That one actually does exist in Japan, is called Synsy, and sounds nice. But it is Japanese-only, hard to tune, and not very popular). Vocaloid uses phonemes recorded by a human. Different human voices are turned into different "Vocaloids", each with their own name and picture.
Yamaha decided to let other companies make Vocaloid voices using its engine. First Vocaloid releases were made in 2004 in English in Japanese, were advertised as virtual vocal instruments, and enjoyed little popularity. Then in 2007 Yamaha made the second version of the engine, and Crypton Future Media, the company doing Japanese Vocaloids, decided to market each Vocaloids based on an elaborate anime-style character. A proper Vocal Android would be created - not built, drawn, but drawn by a famous illustrator named KEI. Thus, Miku Hatsune was born, and the Vocaloid boom started,