Guitar Hero YouTuber Sings Acapella Version To Get Around ContentID Takedowns… Probably Is Still Violating Copyright Law

from the because-copyright-law-is-fucked-up dept

So, Vice’s Motherboard has an amusing article about how the misleadingly named GuitarHeroFailure (misleading, because the guy’s actually good at the game) tried to get around YouTube ContentID takedowns on one of his Guitar Hero videos (of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark at the Moon”) by singing an acapella version of the song over it. The overall effect is really quite amazing. Watch the video (and don’t miss his, um, “variation” at the very end) below:

The guy claims, in a separate video that he wasn’t really trying to comment on copyright law (he actually says “YouTube’s copyright laws,” which, you know, aren’t actually a thing). But, no matter what it is commenting on it. He notes that he was really proud of how well he did in that particular game, and was disappointed that it got taken down by YouTube.

But, even if he didn’t mean for it to be a comment on copyright law, it absolutely is. But here’s the craziest part. It’s likely that his new video also violates copyright law. Because, remember, when it comes to music licensing in particular, copyright law is insane. There are multiple licenses that you need. There’s one for the sound recording — and in this case, he doesn’t have to deal with that one. But, if you’re doing a cover song, you need a mechanical license for the composition of the song. And then, the fact that it’s been put on a video raises a whole separate issue, which is the need for a totally different license called a synch license, for when you use a composition with a video.

Of course, YouTubers rarely (i.e., basically never) get such licenses at all, and it’s mostly ignored by everyone. But that doesn’t mean it will always be. And, again, that highlights the absolute insanity of music licensing these days. People are doing stuff that clearly is not taking away anything from the market for the original music, but because of the messy, patchwork setup of copyright laws and music licensing, it’s almost impossible to be fully compliant no matter what you do.

And don’t even get me started on the copyright questions raised by this other video in which someone took GuitarHeroFailure’s acapella and synched it to the original Ozzy song. Because, really, there aren’t enough hours in the day to analyze that mess…

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Comments on “Guitar Hero YouTuber Sings Acapella Version To Get Around ContentID Takedowns… Probably Is Still Violating Copyright Law”

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Luckily for your heroes at the RIAA, talent and lack of stupidity aren’t necessary for people to consume content. Because if they were, they would have been out of business a hell of a long time ago.

“thank the good Lord that a music studio didn’t release ti as a single”

Talking of stupidity, are you only capable of valuing music if a label releases it as a single (not a studio, as anyone with knowledge of the industry should realise)? If so, it must be sad having your musical diet chosen solely by a bank of producers packaging whatever they think will sell best to the lowest common denominator.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: "copyright law is insane"

Oh, there’s plenty of arguments against it, but people are generally tired of repeating them to people who have already convinced themselves of the nuclear approach.

My primary reason is that while copyright is utterly broken, having no protections whatsoever would be worse. Not only would corporations be free to steal from whoever they wished without payment or attribution, it would also destroy things like CC content and open source software, which depend on the copyright base on which to build their licences. You think it’s bad now when major vendors are using FOSS in violation of their licences and major labels/studios are plagiarising everyone? Wait until there’s no legal basis to stop them.

Yes, in theory, removing it levels the playing field but reality would dictate a much messier outcome.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: "copyright law is insane"

You know it isn’t actually “theft” right?

How is no protections worse? Right now, the main way artists make money is touring and that would still be the case. Who it is worse for is the middle man, i.e. record labels, who aren’t as needed today as they once were.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "copyright law is insane"

“You know it isn’t actually “theft” right?”

Erm, yeah. That’s why I didn’t say it was.

“Right now, the main way artists make money is touring and that would still be the case.”

Copyright affects more than just musicians. Do you honestly think the OP was calling for it to be removed from musicians and nobody else?

“Who it is worse for is the middle man, i.e. record labels, who aren’t as needed today as they once were.”

It’s also worse for independent songwriters, for example, who can have any song they write copied and released by a major label artist and never get properly attributed – and it’s difficult to fight them in court when there’s no law stopping them from doing that. Or the coder who just released his nice little side project, only now there’s nothing to stop Microsoft putting his code into their OS, with the open source licence he uses now useless due to lack of copyright. Just two examples that spring immediately to mind.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Stealing copyrighted material is called infringement

No, infringing copyright is called infringement. You cannot steal copyrighted material by making or distributing another copy. Calling that stealing is a lie.

The scenario above is what would happen without copyright. You can’t infringe copyright if it doesn’t exist. But you can plagiarise it in a way where the original author has no legal recourse and is not recognised as the original author, and that is tantamount to theft.

If only you morons would learn what’s actually being said instead of falling over yourself to jump on a single error… This is coming from someone who supports a version of copyright as well, just not the hideously deformed broken mess we’re dealing with now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Stealing copyrighted material is called infringement

A question. Why do you always use the word “lie” to mean wrong? (you do the same thing with “honest”). A lie requires intent, being wrong is just being wrong.
Lie, honest, dishonest – are all emotive words, but you use them all wrong, (I totally get the effect you’re going for, but it’s the wrong use of words)

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Stealing copyrighted material is called infringement

“Why do you always use the word “lie” to mean wrong?”

I don’t. However, this has been so widely discussed and corrected here so many times that a person would have to be aware that it’s wrong if they have entered or read this type of discussion before. A person coming into these discussions clean would be unlikely to post what you did.

If someone’s genuinely ignorant of the arguments, I won’t say they’re lying. Sadly, so many posters here do deliberately lie, when I see someone stating it in a post like you did and doing so anonymously, I have to make the assumption that they know it’s false. Apologies if I jumped to the wrong conclusion, but that’s the price you pay for making your own words indistinguishable from those of other anonymous commenters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Yes Sir, Sheriff Misnomer, Sir!

So do you get paid to play the role of Techdirt’s “Sheriff Misnomer”?
IS it alright if I call you Sheriff Misnomer? It seems to fit you better as a handle.

You say lie/dishonest because you feel it gives you the moral high ground, an elevation that you love cos you are so friggin smug. Yet at the end of the day you are Techdirt’s biggest troll – admittedly you are trolling the trolls, but it’d trolling nonetheless.

Sheriff Misnomer – Techdirt’s King of the Trolls.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Yes Sir, Sheriff Misnomer, Sir!

Was there a point to that? I mean, misnomer? How does that even make sense? Are you saying that my name here, which is a shortened version of my real name, is somehow inappropriate? If not, do you even know what that word means?

I’ll file this under “one of our usual pathetic morons has no actual argument to make yet again, so he’s trying to find a new way to call names”.

Hey, at least you guys haven’t devolved into imitating farmyard animals or swearing in capital letters like you usually do when you have nothing to say.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Yes Sir, Sheriff Misnomer, Sir!

“Misnomer means “the wrong word” not the wrong name, sheriff.”

I love it when people try to act smug while demonstrating clearly they have no idea what they’re talking about. Saves time identifying the idiots.

Full Definition of misnomer
: the misnaming of a person in a legal instrument
a : a use of a wrong or inappropriate name
b : a wrong name or inappropriate designation

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 "copyright law is insane"

OK, I was thinking copyright when I answered you, but the comment was about the plagiarism. My mistake.

Copying a file = not theft. Taking another person’s work, passing it off as your own with no attribution to the original owner = theft, or at least a lot closer than mere copying.

Any comment on the other things I said that you ignored, by the way, or did you just ignore everything else I said once you found something you could say was wrong?

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