All season, a Spanish YouTube user named Frikidoctor has been predicting what will happen on Game of Thrones. Shot in classic laptop-camera style, the videos walk the line between predictions and outright spoilers, drawing on a mix of on-set bystander testimony and well-placed insider sources, and they're astonishingly accurate. In one recent example, he predicted key elements of the current season's pivotal second episode, two days before the episode aired.
In fact, Frikidoctor's predictions may have been too good. On Saturday, YouTube placed a block on all his videos, the result of a copyright notice filed by HBO. It's particularly strange since his videos were largely just a single man speaking to the camera, with no obvious copyright-protected audio or video to object to. The only thing that belonged to HBO was the information.
Frikidoctor challenged the notices and, on Monday, YouTube restored his videos — but the basis of the HBO's claim is still unclear. Was the network claiming that the plot details of an unaired episode were protected by copyright, or using the DMCA as a way to stop a leak? "Is that illegal?" Frikidoctor asked in an interview with The Verge. "It is forbidden to talk about what will happen in a show even if you are right? Can they claim copyright infringement for a video with just spoken word about a topic?"
Many prominent YouTube users have criticized the takedown system, which often suspends videos before a copyright violation can be affirmatively established. YouTube recently loosened its policy on takedowns, allowing disputed videos to earn money while disputes are still being adjudicated.
Still, that system wasn't much use to Frikidoctor, who saw his videos taken down almost immediately. "In every civilized country, everyone is innocent until proven guilty," he told The Verge, "but that is not the case in YouTube."