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20,000 Worldclass University Lectures Made Illegal, So We Irrevocably Mirrored Them ( 555

An anonymous reader shares an article: Today, the University of California at Berkeley has deleted 20,000 college lectures from its YouTube channel. Berkeley removed the videos because of a lawsuit brought by two students from another university under the Americans with Disabilities Act. We copied all 20,000 and are making them permanently available for free via LBRY. Is this legal? Almost certainly. The vast majority of the lectures are licensed under a Creative Commons license that allows attributed, non-commercial redistribution. The price for this content has been set to free and all LBRY metadata attributes it to UC Berkeley. Additionally, we believe that this content is legal under the First Amendment.
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20,000 Worldclass University Lectures Made Illegal, So We Irrevocably Mirrored Them

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16, 2017 @04:43PM (#54053333)

    It was going to cost a ton of time and money to get all the material ADA compliant, and they would have continued to be in violation the entire time they were working toward that. So they did the only thing they could, and removed everything.

    • by SumDog ( 466607 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @04:54PM (#54053449) Homepage Journal

      I want to know the dialogue between the students that filed the suit and the university. I they could have been granted some kind of continuance, they could have started a program to find volunteers to close caption them. This is pretty sad. Even though the videos are mirrored, all the old links are now dead .. lots of blank screens for anyone who embeded them or cited them on other websites.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @05:04PM (#54053531) Homepage

      It was going to cost a ton of time and money to get all the material ADA compliant, and they would have continued to be in violation the entire time they were working toward that. So they did the only thing they could, and removed everything.

      I don't know about the legal issues, but from a common-sense perspective it would make more sense for the captioning to be performed on-demand on a per-video basis; i.e. if a disabled student needs access to a particular video, he/she can request that it be captioned. The captioning is then added to that video and made available to everyone.

      That way the ADA students get the captioning they need, and everyone else gets the benefit of the videos as well; plus the captioners don't spend a lot of their limited time captioning video that nobody will actually use the captions of; rather they spend their time captioning videos that actually need captioning sooner rather than later.

      • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @05:15PM (#54053633)

        That's *exactly* the way it works.

        The problem here is that this lawsuit wasn't brought by "ADA students" (implying students of this university), it was brought by a couple of asshats who don't even attend this university!! The university was trying to be helpful by making this material available for free for everyone in the world, not just students who've paid tuition. But they were ruled to be out of compliance with ADA because they didn't also spend a ton of money doing high-quality transcription for all the freeloaders.

        As the old saying goes, "no good deed goes unpunished".

      • That way the ADA students get the captioning they need

        That right there is the problem. The University posted the videos for free, so they should have no liability nor responsibility for captioning the videos. If these are two ADA students browsing the web in their free time, then tough, some stuff online simply isn't ADA-compliant.

        But if these ADA students needed to view these videos - e.g. someone else required these ADA students to view the videos for a paid online course - then they should be the

    • by Platinumrat ( 1166135 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @05:10PM (#54053591) Journal
      The issue I see with this, is not so much that the existing lectures were removed, because they've been saved elsewhere. It's that there will now be no new content released in this fashion. So everyone loses out on future changes to course content.
      • Or, new content will be created with transcription in mind and as part of the process.

      • Pretty much a few people are inconvenienced, so the resolution is to make it worse for everybody.

        I can't afford a Tesla, so we should ban electric cars because they're too expensive and it's not fair to poor people.

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @04:45PM (#54053349) Homepage []

    Maybe there's an opportunity for an app which crowd sources the transcription of videos without closed captioning? Maybe get the students at Gallaudet University to pitch in (sorry, I couldn't resist).

    • Dear Gallaudet University,


    • by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

      I doubt it. Ever try to caption a video? It's a slow, annoying process. The automated stuff generally doesn't work that well so you have to carefully go through and fix errors and it's a giant pain in the ass. You then have to watch the entire thing to make sure that the caption timing is correct and that you've made it clear who is speaking when. For extra credit, try and make sure captions don't cover important parts of the video.

      The problem with crowd sourcing is that you'd have to give a reason for peop

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      Why not just ask Google if they can use the software that auto-generates closed captions for YouTube videos?

  • The headline makes it sound as if Slashdot itself deserves credit for this. Hopefully readers here are smart enough to know that is not the case, but it should be made clear that "we" does not include anyone who works with or is affiliated in any way with Slashdot.
    • by fisted ( 2295862 )

      No shit, Sherlock.

  • In a perfect world (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Artem Tashkinov ( 764309 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @04:46PM (#54053363) Homepage
    missing annotations are not the reason to put information down because certain people cannot properly digest it. While their situation is unfortunate, it's not an excuse to deprive 99.99% of other people of this knowledge.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Yes it is. At some point someone always seems to have to sue to get the right thing done. I may not like it, you seem not to like it, but the people who mirrored the content only prevented a proper solution being put into place.

      There are lots of suggestions here that could have made the content more accessible, but they have been rendered moot because the content has been mirrored and the Universities can wash their hands of it knowing that it is still "out there" depriving these students of leverage to get

      • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @06:07PM (#54054077)

        I think what is "the right thing to do" is debatable. Maybe instead of making music, Beyonce should first be working on ensuring that medical breakthroughs cure deafness so *everyone* can enjoy her music, and not just those who can hear. If we made listening to music contingent on deafness being cured, there would be a lot more pressure to have it cured. Until we do that, there will never be the same amount of leverage to cure deafness in general.

        I don't think using tax money to help increase for disabled people is unreasonable. I think preventing access to education for everyone until everyone can have equal access is unreasonable. Yes you get leverage from this, but I don't think this leverage is worth the cost it imposes.

      • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @07:13PM (#54054477) Journal

        These weren't Berkeley students. This wasn't any sort of required material for any course. This was a free offering for interested parties. Are you seriously claiming that making it unavailable for everyone is better then having it available for almost everyone?

        Sorry, but no right includes compelling others to be your slave. If they were Berkeley students and this was course material, then the ADA would make sense - a business should provide reasonable accommodations to its customers as a cost of doing business. But that's not what this is.

  • routes around damage. Now, can we please elect some sane people to the government so we can fix the law (and while we're at it properly fund education in this country so that we can both have these things _and_ make them accessible to people with disabilities)?

    I said this when the story first broke: crap like this is what happens when you elect a bunch of people who don't believe government can work. Stuff breaks and instead of fixing it they just point and say: "See! See!". If I did that I couldn't typ
    • (and while we're at it properly fund education in this country so that we can both have these things _and_ make them accessible to people with disabilities

      Pretty sure only a single country spends more per student than we do, and even they dont do so in higher eduction.

      Meanwhile, bad regulations continue to fuck up everything. Some of those bad regulations have fucked up the cost of schooling.

      In basic education its allowing public union to extort communities by holding their childrens educations hostage while allowing members of government to make contractual promises on far in the future matters to these unions and then not fund these promises immediatel

  • deaf assholes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TimMD909 ( 260285 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @04:51PM (#54053401) Homepage
    Two assholes ruined it for everyone else... great. Forget that there's technology to automatically add subtitles. No, we must fuck over everyone. At least the two snake bastards won't be able to hear anyone sneaking up on them to enact revenge...
    • by SumDog ( 466607 )

      To be fair, the auto-subtitle tech is terrible.

      I often type up transcripts and attach them to my videos. YouTube does have a tool that's very good at aligning up transcripts and assigning time codes.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It of interest, why couldn't they just enable auto subtitles on YouTube in the first place? Not good enough quality to satisfy the court?

  • While they are at it, why not ban nearly all online video, because it discriminates against the blind; streaming music services and CDs because they are not accessible to the deaf; live music gigs and clubs because the strobing lights affect those with epilepsy etc.

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @05:03PM (#54053519) Journal
    Regs like this is absolutely KILLING us and not doing what it is supposed to.
    • by hambone142 ( 2551854 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @05:46PM (#54053935)

      At the local municipal park, there is a baseball diamond that has been there for about 50 years for kids to play at.

      Some gun in a wheel chair all of the sudden sued the city because it isn't ADA compliant for some reason. I checked out the place and it's right off of the road, level ground and has a sidewalk going to the bleachers. I'm not sure what he's bitching about. The city's solution is to tear down the baseball field.

      In the same city, (Lincoln, California) there is a terracotta factory that's been there since the late 1800's. Some ADA dweeb sued the company so it's not accessible to anyone for a tour anymore.

      In two cases, single people have eliminated access by thousands of people simply because they claim the places aren't ADA compliant. If I were in a wheel chair, I could certainly be able to access both places but they technically don't meet ADA standards.

      We also have a Sacramento attorney that likes to visit places in remote areas of the county and threaten to sue them for ADA violations. Oh,, he will drop the lawsuit if they pay him "damages" and he'll go away. Ironically, two of his employees are now suing him for sexual harassment.

      People like this ruin good places for thousands of people. Many of the ones I've seen out here are extorting money.

      It's a good idea gone bad.

  • by david.emery ( 127135 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @05:03PM (#54053525)

    Huh? Not recognized by my browser.

  • You can post that videos on a library. []
    • by jbn-o ( 555068 )

      I concur; the Internet Archive is easily reachable by everyone using time-honored and well-understood protocols that ordinary computer users and highly-skilled computer users all can use (videos delivered over HTTPS). This will also seed BitTorrents (since has been doing that too).

      I look forward to someone sharing the download URL from where we can get the lectures we're all free to share.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Thursday March 16, 2017 @05:44PM (#54053917)

    Instead of deleting the videos they should have started working on a solution:

    Crowdfund it.

    And let people know that "These videos are in the process of being transcribed." along with webpage that has a status for EVERY video.

    Gee, if the only we had a place that we could _distribute_ and _communicate_ work. People can do it for crap like GIMPS but can't do it for lectures ???? Anime fans can provide fansubs but yet an University can't find people to donate their time to transcribe the material??? Hell, I do this for free on certain YouTube videos I find interesting. That way I have a textual copy I can "search"

    But instead, let's act like a spoiled-entitled-child with the immature "If I can't have it, no one can".

    Way to go.

    I thought Universities were supposed to the bastions of intellect -- not immaturity.

    • But instead, let's act like a spoiled-entitled-child with the immature "If I can't have it, no one can".

      I don't think that's what happened at all here.

      These are videos that are made by Berkeley, for Berkeley's own purposes. Someone got the idea to upload them to YouTube and make them available to the world for free, because the cost to doing that is very close to zero. Very likely one university employee came up with the idea and spends a few minutes per day uploading whatever new lectures are in the library... or maybe even automated [] it so that no human spends any time on it.

      What you're talking about, even if it is possible to get some crowdfunding, will require orders of magnitude more effort and expenditure by the university, isn't really in their mission, and definitely isn't in their budget. And it's entirely possible that they're even looking into what they could do... but until they have a system in place, *and* have verified that whatever approach they take satisfies the requirements of the law and won't leave them with more legal bills, the only thing they reasonably can do is take them all down.

      There's no reason to assume that they're acting out of spite here.

  • Incorrect summary.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 16, 2017 @05:59PM (#54054017)

    The summary is incorrect, the lawsuit was brought on by two employees of Gallaudet university, not two students. The employees are Glenn Lockhart [], the director of public relations and communications and Stacy Nowak [] who is part of "Arts, Communications & Theater".

    You can find the relavant information on the previous post to slashdot [], which includes links to the referenced material.

  • by kenwd0elq ( 985465 ) <> on Thursday March 16, 2017 @06:27PM (#54054187)

    Congrats for doing something reasonable where the government was being UN-reasonable.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein