Apple Has Pulled My Jony Ive Book Trailer



I had a jokey book trailer made to promote my new book about Jony Ive, Apple’s head designer. And Apple’s had it pulled off YouTube!

The video wasn’t even public. It was unlisted. I offered a sneak peek to readers who pre-ordered the book, which is being released next Thursday November 14.

The video pokes fun at Jony Ive, Apple and myself. But last night I got an email from Google saying that it had been disabled because of a copyright claim from Apple.

I had hoped that the video was protected by fair use. The rules of fair use are ambiguous, but in general, you are allowed to remix and re-use previous material, as long as the resulting work is “transformative.” If it adds “new expression or meaning” to the original, then it’s fair use. I think the book trailer did. It’s a classic remix of several previous Apple product videos. A parody. And parody is a form of expression generally protected from copyright claims.

Unfortunately,  Google’s appeals procedure is byzantine. The company is a black box. It blocks the video and there’s little you can do. The video has been posted to other services but not publicized in any way. I am planning to register a counter notification to protest the decision.

Here’s the note from Google:

Dear Leander Kahney:

We have disabled the following material as a result of a third-party notification from Apple Inc. claiming that this material is infringing:

Jony Ive Introduces a New Product!

Please Note: Repeat incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to prevent this from happening, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about YouTube’s copyright policy, please read the Copyright Tips guide.

If one of your postings has been misidentified as infringing, you may submit a counter-notification. Information about this process is in our Help Center.

Please note that under Section 512(f) of the Copyright Act, any person who knowingly materially misrepresents that material was disabled due to mistake or misidentification may be liable for damages.


— The YouTube Team

I’m pretty pissed off. I had hoped better from Apple, a company I’ve followed and been a fan of for decades. Perhaps it’s some over-eager intern in the legal department who trawls the internet all day. Let’s hope.

  • dcj001

    “It’s a classic remix of several previous Apple product videos. A parody. And parody is a form of expression generally protected from copyright claims.”

    A classic remix of several previous Apple product videos is not a parody. A parody is an imitation, like this:

  • sudoaptgeek

    Throw it in Dropbox and share a link. Don’t stop the video getting out :D

  • Zurkram

    Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to make fun of the person you’re writing about. I agree with Apple.

  • daov2a

    This is not surprising. Apple has no sense of humor unless it is making fun of another company’s products.

  • TheAMReport

    A lot of the times it is just a computer checking for matched content. It happens all the time with iMovie music, despite having rights to it. If you dispute the claim and site why you are able to use this material, most likely they will allow you to use it. If not, you win some, you lose some.

  • ojezap

    Is it posted somewhere else? Vimeo?

    Good book, by the way. I devoured it in less than a day. I talked it up on Google+ and I’m writing about this Sunday in the St. Paul Pioneer Press (and on its site,

  • tigeerguy

    You wrote a book about a person and tried to make a fun of the same guy. How bad does it feel if I would write a stupid book about you, and post a nonsense video for the same on youtube? Plus, trying to justify yourself by blogging about it. I was not expecting this from you. Being a blogger, writer doesn’t give a right to make fun of someone, and hide that guilt in the name of promoting book or in the name of ‘parody’. If you want to promote a book, there are various ways to do that. You just lost my respect, and a long time subscriber. Go and counter back for copyright claim, and I hope and pray Google just ban your Youtube account!

  • danielmontoyajr

    Fair Use is a defense to a law suit, not a safe harbor. Fair Use is an analysis by a court using four factors, including whether the use is for an educational purpose. But the “educational” purpose refers to educational institutions (colleges, schools) and is only one factor in the analysis.


  • techdude550

    Sounds to me like you took this as a personal shot from Apple, which seems unlikely to me. Copyright has its purpose; so does fair use. When there is dispute over where the line falls, we have processes to resolve disputes. I don’t think it is fair to punt on those because you view Google as a black box, while impugning Apple as you retreat. Have you considered whether you can meet your original objective, without the risk of copyright infringement? As noted elsewhere in the comments, there is no shortage of Apple (and Ive) parodies that haven’t tripped Apple’s legal switch.

    I also think you would have helped your cause if your last sentence had been “I hope,” rather than “Let’s hope.” That may sound like wordsmithing, but your implication is that you clearly speak for “us,” and you don’t. You speak for you.

  • techdude550

    BTW, the legitimacy of Apple’s copyright claim does not, in my view, have anything to do with whether you make fun of them (or yourself) in the video or the book, whether you have “follow[ed] and been a fan of [them] for decades,” whether the book is any good, whether Google’s procedures are Byzantine, or whether you intended that it be a parody.

    If you file a counter, as you have said, I’ll presume it gets decided on the merits, until there’s good evidence otherwise.

  • Stagueve

    Such a Shame…

  • 5imo

    Please put it on vimeo!