Monday, May 4, 2009

UMG, WMG, OMG.

I've been bitching enough about all this, elsewhere, I might as well BLOG about the mayhem going on over at YouTube.

Here is the deal: I have had several videos pulled from YouTube, due to copyright infringement claims by UMG and WMG. I disputed all claims, under the Fair Use Act. Yeah, I knew it was a stretch, but it was worth a shot. I'm not making videos for commercial profit, after all. This is just machinima set to a music track. Some videos were successfully disputed, others were not. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what determines whether a video will be allowed to remain live, while others are muted or disabled, completely.

WMG and YouTube were in talks to come to some sort of agreement, to allow users to use music from its catalog in their videos. WMG walked away, and demanded that YouTube pull all WMG content from its site. And a witch-hunt ensued early this year, with videos being pulled right and left. I had several videos taken down, I disputed all claims, and the results left me scratching my head:




...wait, what? "Dispute Successful"??

Okay, okay, I won't bite the hand that feeds me, even though I wonder how I pulled this off. Another WMG video was also successfully disputed. However, the claims to the two follow-up videos, which used the same song, were not successfully disputed. I went ahead and used audio-swap for one video, and chose to leave the other one, "After the Video", offline. Half the video was using audio from the game, and audioswap would swap out the entire track, and it would make no sense. But none of this makes sense.







Now, UMG, on the other hand, did agree to allow users to use their music from its catalog in their own creations. When it comes to actually implementing this plan, however, things seem a bit hazy. Confusion abounds!

Last fall, I disputed copyright claims by UMG on several of my videos, and was successful. In one other instance, I did not dispute, but UMG retracted the claim on its own. This was before any agreement had been made with YouTube.






A few days ago, 5 of my videos were flagged by UMG, but were all allowed to remain live, with links to itunes and amazon mp3 on the page. Smart move, I thought. Looks like UMG may actually be getting that this is free advertising. Not only that, with the addition of the itunes and amazon mp3 links, it's a way to get more money in their pockets, not less. But what about the artists? I'm all for helping the artists out, even the stinking rich ones. Hey, I don't penalize the rich. More power to them, I say. But this whole copyright thing is actually out of their hands, and I have heard from a reliable source that many artists are (allegedly) suing UMG to get back the master ownership of their own music. If this is, in fact, true, then wouldn't that lead one to infer that, while the record companies are getting bent out of shape about copyright infringement, this may not be the case with the artists, themselves? But I digress...

I decided to try to get a few of my disabled UMG videos back on the channel, the videos I was not able to successfully dispute, thinking that with this new "friendship" between UMG/YouTube/YouTube users, it would actually be possible to do so. Ha, not so fast, there, VR. Because these videos had already been run through the dispute process, the option to dispute, again, was now gone. I can understand this; I'm sure the last thing YouTube wants is an endless back-and-forth about copyright disputes and the average Joe. But now the only way to get the videos back on the site would be to use the audioswap feature. So I did.

But.

I did not want to give up this battle, altogether. I reuploaded the videos, which meant re-rendering new copies of the videos. YouTube runs a checksum on all new files, to make sure there are no duplicate entries. I found this out the hard way after waiting forever to get the videos uploaded and processed, only to find they'd been rejected for being duplicates. I uploaded the new videos, within 30 minutes UMG jumped on them, and they are currently in dispute. They will be live as long as they're in dispute. I am hoping UMG will decide to place ads on the page, like they did every other UMG video I have on my channel, rather than remove the video, altogether. But because of all the discrepancy in what's okay and what's not, I'm thinking I shouldn't hold my breath on this one. It's probably down to a coin toss, anyway.

However this turns out, I must admit I had some fun with the Audioswap feature, and find the results amusing.

UPDATE: UMG yanked the reuploads. The vimeo links are in the annotations of the YouTube audioswapped versions, now.







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