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Update, 4:45 p.m. — Microsoft sent us a statement, citing stolen product keys embedded in YouTube comments as the reason for videos being targeted inadvertently. See the full explanation at the bottom of this post. 

Original story: 

microsoftyoutube12Well, this is a bit bizarre. Microsoft appears to be taking down YouTube videos with content related to Windows due to apparent copyright claims.

Bruce Naylor, a tech reviewer and analyst at his YouTube channel FrugalTech, received a takedown notice this morning sent from a brand protection company called Marketly on behalf of Microsoft.

Naylor, who explains the situation here, said that he filmed the video on Jan. 6, 2013, and called it an “op-ed piece.”

“At no point during the video did I actually use any third-party copyrighted material,” he said. “No music, video, photos — nothing like that. It was strictly talking about why Windows 8 was failing in the marketplace at that time.”

Naylor said he can’t access the video on YouTube now, so he uploaded the original file to Vimeo here.

“It is my opinion that because I was very, very negative in the video about Windows 8, that it was taken down,” Naylor said. “It really pissed off somebody. They are looking for an excuse to take that video down.”

But it’s not anti-Windows videos that are being taken down. Scott Hanselman, who works for the Web Platform Team at Microsoft — yes, he works there! — made a how-to video for Windows 8.1 that was cited for copyright infringement:

The same type of thing happened to prominent blogger and tech reviewer Chris Pirillo, who told us that he just received a video takedown notice for a “benign informational video that I likely did to help people decide how to go about upgrading.”

Pirillo said he doesn’t think anybody at Microsoft is directly responsible for the takedowns, and noted that the Redmond company potentially hired the wrong contractor to help protect its brand on YouTube.

“It’s a blanket campaign being implemented by a company that clearly has no idea what they’re doing,” Pirillo told GeekWire. “Many of the videos flagged allegedly don’t contain anything but talking heads. This isn’t about censoring negative reviews so much as it is the gross abuse of YouTube’s copyright flagging system and is not without precedent.”

There are others are having their Windows-related content taken down:

We’ve reached out to Microsoft for more details, and the company told us that it is “looking into this.” We’ll update this story as we learn more.

Update, 4:45 p.m. — A Microsoft spokesperson sent us this statement:

“While we are still investigating the recent YouTube takedown notices, it appears some of these videos were inadvertently targeted for removal because there were stolen product keys embedded in the comments section of the videos. Our intention was not to target legitimate YouTube content and we are sorry for the impact this has had. We have already taken steps to reinstate legitimate video content and are working towards a better solution to targeting stolen IP while respecting legitimate content.”

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