Wednesday, February 04, 2009

... and Youtube's new copyright policy whereby they kiss the ass of big buisiness to the detriment of the little guy

or how I started looking for an alternative

Youtube are now working with WMG and UMG - Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group - to help the firms reduce lost earnings from uploaded material to which they hold the copyright.

Admirable, huh? Coupled with whatever sizzling hot piece of database management and retrieval software is needed to give youtube almost real-time recognition of music that is the intellectual property of their new bedfellows, it becomes quite a technological feat as well. So bravo to youtube.

Since late last year, I have fallen foul of this new policing-the-net initiative not once, but twice! Once with a track from WMG and once with a track from UMG. In the latter case, the movie stayed on youtube, but can only be downloaded for viewing if you happen to be in one of the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, United States (not Greece nor Turkey, which is a pity as these are the two main audiences I was aiming at).

The Warner track led to the video being muted, which is unfortunate as not all the audio was owned by Warner and much of the effect if the video was ruined by the lack of audio.

My complaint is that this new policy is stifling my creativity. If it continues I am sure it will kill the youtube community who will only put up with so much before finding another home which won't mind fair use of music tracks on top of otherwise totally home made, not for profit videos. I am not talking about kids uploading music videos (which is an obvious and, in my opinion pointless infringement of copyright), nor indeed about people uploading bits of live performances (for which fair use could, conceivably, be argued) - I am talking about videos where someone has taken the time to sit and edit video and still footage and set this with varying degrees of care and creativity against a tune, which happens to be the intellectual property of someone else.

So here we go: while messrs Bonham, Plant, Page and Jones, have the moral right to their works - and this means that they have a right to control how their creation is used and while Herge has the right to say, "hey, I don't want Tintin portrayed as a drug addict" (whatever), given that the soundtracks to my videos are a small part of the whole, a whole into which a considerable amount of work and creativity has been expended, and given that the end result does not go against the original artists' vision for the piece, I think that youtube should relax a little with the whole copyright business. We are talking about the creators moral right - not the copyright owners paper rights on the piece (which obviously are being to some extent violated).

So back we come - post-google youtube is shitting on the people who built it, while leaping into bed with big business to the detriment of the site's users and (dare I say it) the original creators of the tracks being used as musical backing on the videos in question.

I have spent the best part of last night uploading my video with four different soundtracks to find one which I like which is acceptable to youtube. How annoyed has that made me, youtube? Will I jump ship as soon as an alternative presents itself? What do you reckon?

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