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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Your birth videos are being stolen for profit: what you can do about it

Since posting The unassisted birth of Jason Shawn II on Youtube I've periodically found, through a simple Google search, that the video (and less often my other birth videos) has been re-uploaded by another user without permission. I've always filled out Youtube's copyright infringement form and the content was quickly removed.

Recently, though, I discovered that there are dozens of youtube pages (I suspect operated by the same individual or pseudo-business) re-uploading hundreds of childbirth videos that they do not have permission to use and making money off of Youtube's ad partners.  In many cases, they are changing the titles of the videos (or uploading the same video multiple times with multiple names) to avoid being found by rightful owners searching for their content.  The Unassisted Birth of Jason Shawn was posted as: The unassisted birth of Jashua, the unassisted birth of Mason Brown, and Unassisted birth of Swedish girl (just to name a few.)
I spent hours searching through content, filling out copyright complaints, and as I did I saw many other birth videos that I know were stolen (and many renamed) like my own.  Some may belong to you.

Why does it matter?
   I can hear the naysayers already "anything you put on the internet is no longer yours." "why would you post a video of yourself giving birth if you don't want it to be spread all around the interenet?"  To those of you wondering, here's why it matters:
   I put videos of some of my most intimate/vulnerable moments online because I believe that awareness of natural birth is very important and I had something to contribute to that awareness.  I take a lot of shit on my own Youtube page for my birth choice, and I've been willing to accept that for the greater good of providing information and support to other women/families through their own birthing journeys. I actually appreciate my videos being shared because many many women have expressed gratitude for having access to them.  But here's the thing: Youtube makes it very easy for users to share videos on their own pages, blogs, Facebook etc. and when you Share, it links back to my page so I can track views and see any questions or comments directed at me.  This being so easy to do, the only reason for re-uploading content is to increase traffic on the fraudulent page, and if the page is using Google's ad partners to monetize, they can then make money off of views of your content all the while, you get no notification of questions or comments -- maybe they even changed
your child's name, which I'll admit, makes it feel a little more personal.

What to do about it?

I spent a lot of time reporting content (and wondering how I could contact all the other mothers whose videos I was seeing on these pages) before I learned that you can sign up for content ID on youtube ( When you register for content ID, new uploads are scanned for your content and if it is found, Youtube will take action.  Depending on the option you choose when you sign up for content ID, the re-uploaded video will either be blocked, you will be able to track activity on it, or ads will be enabled and you will be able to earn money from it.

If  you shared birth videos via Youtube, I encourage you to sign up for content ID to keep fraudulent users from making money off of your videos.  

If you watch birth videos on Youtube, I encourage you not to watch or subscribe to fraudulent channels and to notify the rightful owner if you come across a video that appears to be stolen.

Indicators of a fraudulent page:

  •           All of the videos were uploaded the same day
  •          Multiple uploads of the same video
  •           Appearance is exceptionally grainy
  •           Cheap looking, nonsesical ads and logos appearing on the video
  •           Anything with a purple “natural living tv” logo
  •           Generic looking page built with stock photos with no info about who’s running the page
  •           Page titles like “naturalbirthTV” “birthtube” “birthbabychannel” “realgivingbirth”
  •           No mention of the individuals/families in the description
  •           Video title resembles title of another popular birth video (ie."Self directed birth of Lena Joy")
  •           Titles like “she births baby natural” or “natural vaginal childbirth unassisted water homebirth” “young Russian mom giving birth in water” “Swedish girl births baby” “lady give birth”
To see examples of these pages, or to look for uploads of your videos you can enter the rabbit hole by checking out the following list of pages I found my content being used.  Remember, you don't have to manually report each instance of theft like I did. Content ID will do it for you. Sign up here.



  1. I have used your beautiful birth videos, just linked, to show awesome examples. I'm linking your blog too! you re awesome! Thanks for sharing your stories and example!