August 25
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AUGUST 31, 2009 7:11PM

Caught By the Copyright Fuzz

Rate: 3 Flag

Today, as I was nonchalantly wandering the interwebs, I happened to click on a link to a Youtube video. And instead of going to the video, I was confronted with a weird, red page.

If you're having a hard time making that out, it says:

We have received copyright complaint(s) regarding material you posted, as follows:

  •             from Sony Music Entertainment about Bill O'Reilly and the Fetal Position: Subtitled Version - craftyactivist
                Video ID: Tq9PSHf_XK0         

Please Note: Accounts determined to be repeat infringers will be terminated. Please delete any videos for which you do not own the necessary rights, and refrain from uploading infringing videos.

The odd thing here is, that I have two copies of that video uploaded. The one removed was the subtitled version. I don't know if that was a choice or an accident, but so far, they have not disabled the non-subtitled version. If you look at the blog where I first posted these videos, you'll see that only one is still playable. The videos are identical except for the addition of subtitles and a subtitle key.

And now I'm at a loss. Both videos were initially flagged, but only one has been removed. Am I supposed to just delete the other one? When I was first aware that Sony had made a claim on my videos, I disputed both claims, and now I can't figure out what additional steps to take to adhere to YouTube's Terms of Service.

That's the thing that concerns me most. To date, I've made and uploaded about 10 videos. This is not the first time the content matching system has picked up on my work: I posted a video just about a year ago that featured content from National Geographic's special, The Human Footprint. I was delighted when they decided they would advertise on that channel. The music that accompanies it is originally by Nine Inch Nails, but I used a remix that was created by a remixer in Germany, TweakerRay.

He commented on my video and actually keeps a collection of videos featuring his work on his channel. We could be creating a community that rewards artists for trading and re-contextualizing content. I wasn't secretive about the song I chose to accompany the Bill O'Reilly video. I specifically chose Alice In Chains and the song Rotten Apple as a metaphor, highlighting the way some pregnant women have been forced to give up their bodily sovereignty. Some people commenting on the videos have asked what album it was on, presumably so they can purchase it. I highly doubt anyone wants to listen to the song with O'Reilly screaming over it.

Unfortunately, that is not the direction that music companies have decided to go in. Earlier this year, the EFF was soliciting test cases to fight Warner Music Group as they used automatic content matching software to disable videos. That seems to be what happened in my case, though I can't be certain. I do know that the one they chose to remove was the one that appeared in the responses to the YoungTurk's video analyzing the same Bill O'Reilly show. So was I punished for trying to participate in the larger conversation?

Or for being nice enough to type out the lyrics for deaf viewers?

For those of you who haven't seen it, you can still watch the video in question. I would love to talk to anyone who has successfully fought one of these takedown notices. I also would like to get people's opinions on whether or not my work qualifies as fair use:



And for the curious, here's TweakerRay's playlist, "Cool Videos with my Nine Inch Nails ReMixes". Mine is the last one, but they're all pretty darn good. Give that man a hand (or at least a pageview or two!) for being so talented and so nice about sharing his work, would you?




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Yeah, now you can feel like the true rebel!! :) I got busted for having an Air Supply song in one of my videos, they disabled the audio and told me to replace the sound!! I felt like a rebel, not for long but...

Funny they didn't catch the other video!! ~shaking head~
This is OK. The music industry is systematically digging their own graves. And ultimately, they are fighting a losing battle. They have switched from suing single mothers to placing more lobbyists in Washington, but the damage has already been done.

I just sit around and watch them wither and die..
i am honored, tink!

what does one reach for when air supply is gone? iron lung? mc tracheotomy?
you're right manchu wok. i should totally have a baby in case i make the news.
mary, i don't understand your comment.

youtube is trying to adhere to the "safe harbor" guidelines articulated in the dmca legislation. if they allow users to upload copyrighted content, they are held liable by the license holder. if they agree to remove disputed content, they are not liable under the law.
i read your material but ran out of time listening to the videos. I believe you. Anyone who pays as much attention to their craft wins my vote. I hope to see more of you. A request: keep us posted on the larger isses as pertains to what you do. rated and made a friend.
thank you, ben sen! you and i have been at odds in the past, so i know that you are a person who takes their opinions seriously and crafts them well. i appreciate the compliment and the feeling is mutual!