UMG Licenses Indie Artist's Track, Then Uses Content ID To Claim Ownership Of It
from the not-really-a-'dispute'-system-then,-is-it? dept
If nothing else, Universal Music Group is becoming a case study for everything that’s wrong with YouTube’s takedown system. Between nuking its own artists’ official videos, targeting MegaUpload’s video simply because it utilized some of its roster and using its direct partnership with YouTube to blow past any fair use considerations, UMG has been able to wreak a fair amount of havoc.
Its latest demonstration of its “my rights are bigger than yours” attitude towards IP protection has managed to yank someone else’s creations right out from under their creator, as TorrentFreak reports.
Norwegian musician Bjorn Lynne… has had two of his videos hijacked by Universal Music Group (UMG) which is now running ads alongside his work.
“Can I just state publicly that I hate Universal Music Group. For the second time now, they have hijacked my music and claimed ownership of it in all YouTube videos that include my music, thereby monetizing my music,” Lynne writes.
Lynne isn’t exaggerating. UMG owns the rights to an audiobook that uses one of Lynne’s songs as a backing track. No problem up to this point, because anyone — even UMG — can use Lynne’s tracks if properly licensed, which this apparently was. No, the problem is that UMG is claiming — by proxy — that it “owns” Lynne’s track.
UMG have entered the audiobook in YouTube’s Content-ID system, and as a result they’ve hijacked the ads on the original video.
Which is why leaving infringement detection up to algorithms is a bad idea, even if doing otherwise is technically unfeasible. According to Content ID, the backing track belongs to UMG. That’s a problem, but it’s a fixable one. All it would take is for UMG to release the claim after having the error brought to its attention. But UMG clearly isn’t in the business of resolving disputes. It’s just there to claim everything Content ID says belongs to it, even when the content clearly doesn’t.
“One thing would have been to have done this unwittingly, by mistake. But I have ‘disputed’ the claim on YouTube, written an explanation and told them about the origins of this music — then waited the FULL 30 DAYS that the claimant has to process the dispute, only to be told that UMG have reviewed the dispute and UPHELD their claim!” Lynne notes.
That’s the process available to indie artists: sit back and let major players claim your stuff. If Company A rejects your dispute, the decision is final. In YouTube’s eyes, the burden of proof always falls on the accused and the existence of proof ultimately has no bearing on the outcome. All the claimant has to do is push the “REJECT” button and someone else’s ad money will be rerouted.
Lynee could fight this further, but it would take a stack of money and some ambitious lawyers — neither of which most indie artists have at their disposal. The only thing UMG has to do is what it did: shrug and return to siphoning money away from Bjorn Lynne. The system works — at least for the major players. For everyone else, it’s just a matter of trying to mitigate the damage they can’t prevent, much less reverse.