I recently helped her set up an account on YouTube so she could post and share her Pokemon videos. She has a small circle of like-minded friends online that do the same thing. The videos these guys pass back and forth are about as cute and innocuous as you can find.
A couple of weeks ago I was surprised when I was uploading one of her videos for her and it was immediately spiked by YouTube for music copyright infringement. I was impressed that they had software in place which identified the song that quickly (curse the geek that coded that software to Vic 20 hell.)
I assumed at the time that the music we had on our PC that she used was not legit. I have a ton of music on the thing and not all of of them were purchased through iTunes. Ahem. I've also noticed licensing issues when you rip older CDs to the computer. So the solution would simply be to find a licensed version of the tune she used and redo the video.
Last night she logged on and found that YouTube and pulled the other video she had up, which I'm fairly certain had a licensed tune playing in it. So I looked into this and found she wasn't alone. Thousands of videos have been automatically pulled lately. It looks like the YouTube forums have been temporarily shut down because of the resulting uproar.
Turns out the music in both videos was owned by Warner Brothers who very publicly split with YouTube at the end of the year because they didn't feel they were getting enough revenue off the ads on the site. Google/YouTube then put their wonderful ContentID code into action to strip mine YouTube of any WB artist content. I do mean ANY WB content. Characters in an original skit talking with a WB owned song in the background? Gone. A snippet of less than 10 seconds in your video of a WB owned song? Hasta la vista, baby.
I wonder if Warner Brothers gets the irony of Fox suing them over the distribution rights to their "Watchmen" movie. Probably not since it's only the film consumers that are hurt by that lawsuit with the movie being delayed.
I'm no lawyer but these latter examples seem to fall especially under Fair Use to my untrained eye. It would be difficult to identify any financial damage to the artist and the people who post these videos certainly aren't seeing financial gain. What's really egregious is that there is no opportunity to petition YouTube with that argument, nor a mechanism to ask the artist for permission to use the music.
Since these types of homegrown videos make up the bulk of the videos on YouTube I cannot see how it can survive under these sorts of restrictions on content. Oh well.
We all know people in our lives that like to complain that government stifles creativity and is too restrictive on freedom. I've spent my adult life watching corporations constantly doing things that screw consumers. From where I sit they're the ones that take all the fun out of life.