Sad State Of Copyright: Guy Using Short Clips Of Music In Viral Videos Accused Of Infringement
from the ridiculous dept
Brian LaSorsa points us to the unfortunate case of Steve Kardynal, a pretty popular maker of funny online videos. There are all sorts of creative people who have been enabled to create and put their works out to the world thanks to things like YouTube. Kardynal makes funny sketches, with some of the most popular being his “Songs in Real Life” videos, in which he creates scenes where every so often the dialogue actually is a short clip — between 3 and 10 seconds — from a popular song. Unfortunately, as he notes in the video explaining what happened, the second one of these videos received a takedown from Sony (a year after it was posted):
Realizing that getting three strikes on YouTube means he would lose his account — which already has about 100 million views — he’s pretty freaked out. In response, he’s set his other “Songs in Real Life” videos to private to hopefully avoid getting any other strikes while he tries to figure out what to do.
While his videos are no longer available, with a little searching you can find them elsewhere. I don’t know how long this will remain available, but here’s someone who put all three of the “Songs in Real Life” videos into a single video. It’s difficult to see how this isn’t fair use, and I’d argue that this is a clear case of Sony engaging in copyfraud.
As Steve notes, all of the video clips are between 3 and 10 seconds. No one is going to reasonably claim that this takes away from the market for that song. Furthermore, as he also points out, he listed all the songs that were used in the description of his video and made it easy for people to go buy the songs. In other words, it’s difficult to see how these videos didn’t actually help the market for these songs, rather than hurt it. The Lenz v. Universal case showed that copyright holders need to take fair use into account when they issue DMCA takedowns, and it certainly doesn’t look like Sony did so in this case.
But, really, what’s even more interesting about this story is just how much it has impacted Steve. He talks about how he’s afraid to lose all that he’s worked on and how it’s like losing a family member. This is the exact opposite of what copyright law is supposed to do. Here it’s being used to stifle and shut down creativity. And while some may claim that what Steve feels is no different than what an artist whose work is infringed on experiences, it seems quite different, actually. With an infringement, an artist hasn’t lost anything. It’s just that their own wishes for how the music is used or paid for gets denied. In this case, the content is actively being shut down. There’s a real loss. That’s unfortunate.