Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One of us died tonight. Somebody knows why. Somebody knows.

#1Animefan loves to use make cute videos mashing pictures of Pokemon or our dogs with music. She's gotten pretty good at it with my favorite being our Chihuahua/ Pekingese Spike to a James Bond "Thunderball" soundtrack.

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.

18 comments:

Randal Graves said...

You don't even play a lawyer on teevee.

Fair Use seems to have jumped into the ocean and is swimming down to the sunken boat where the corpse of the Fairness Doctrine has been quietly rotting away.

I mean, it's obvious that #1AnimeFan is a career criminal. Go, justice, go!

Lockwood said...

It is the nature of power to grow and to supress threats to itself. Just like any living thing. Since the Supreme Court supposedly found that Corporations have the same rights as a person (though not, apparently, the same responsibilities), their power has grown, and they have supressed threats to their growth and income. That would be us. The Matrix had it wrong; it's not computers that have us in a state of deluded suspended animation, sucking the energy out of our motionless husks.

Hell, that's a cheery image, isn't it?

Don Snabulus said...

Lockwood,

While I am not in favor of the death penalty for people, I definitely think that if we can die, so should corporations that commit heinous acts.

Time to flood YouTube with WB content :D.

Swinebread said...

Crazy... this is how folks communicate in this day and age. The is the dialog of our time.

this do not get this at all.

maybe time to find a new sight that doesn't care

BAC said...

Hey Dean ... I hope you don't mind that I tagged you at Yikes. Check it out!


BAC

Arkonbey said...

Yeah. I thought Fair Use implied that if you don't make money off of it, it's okay.

Are they going to sue mediocre bar bands for covering 70's rock songs now?

Dean Wormer said...

randal-

So Fair Use is wearing cement galoshes?

I mean, it's obvious that #1AnimeFan is a career criminal. Go, justice, go!

According to her sister she's America's Most Wanted.

Lockwood-

No, I think you're right on. Corporations have become vampires.

Don-

I think smothering YouTube in WB content is a great idea unfortunately their system screens such material on upload automatically. It's crazy.

Swine-

A new site is a great idea. With servers located in Bahrain.

Yikes-

I certainly will.

Arkonbey-

Are they going to sue mediocre bar bands for covering 70's rock songs now?

Midget Kiss is in trouble.

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