YouTube Launches Myth Perpetuating 'Copyright School'; Dismisses Remixes As 'Not Original'

from the sad dept

I know that YouTube/Google are in a big legal fight with Viacom over infringing works on YouTube, and that YouTube has been bending over backwards to help copyright holders either takedown or monetize infringing works, but I'm both surprised and disappointed by YouTube's new "copyright school." You can see the video below:
For a company that employs both William Patry and Fred von Lohmann, you would think that the video would be a lot better. First of all, it simply reinforces the idea that infringement is "piracy," by using a cartoon character dressed up as a "pirate." That's misleading in the extreme. Second, it is incredibly misleading, condescending and insulting to creative remixes, which it claims are "not original." Instead, it urges people to "sing an original song" and "create your own content." Really? Is YouTube really claiming that remixes like Kutiman are "not original" because they're remixes?
Finally, while the video does at least make a nod to fair use (at 2:42), the message there is pretty clear that fair use is complicated, legalistic, and not for normal people, so you're best off just ignoring it. Basically, up until that point in the video, the video has a standard pace and some backing bed music, but when the fair use segment comes in, a big white slab comes across the screen, the music stops, and the slab fills with small, difficult to read text, that the voiceover voice reads very quickly, like the legal disclaimers at the end of drug commercials. Meanwhile, the cartoon "pirate" is shown struggling with fair use.

As Copycense points out, if you actually want a copyright/fair use lesson on YouTube, you're better off watching this video from Rocketboom:
Of course, as per usual, it appears that YouTube users are not confused by this sort of propaganda. As I write this, the votes on YouTube's own video are 2 to 1 "dislike" to "like."

Update: And, really, if we're going to be showing "educational" videos about copyright, how can we forget this one, care of Nina Paley:


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Mike C. (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 8:14am

    Ugh - horrible...

    It was so bad I couldn't even make it half way through the video. I did flag it as Spam (misleading text) though... :-)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2011 @ 9:03am

    Its not "fair" that "fair use" is hard to "use."

     

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    scarr (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 9:05am

    When did you write this?

    It's 4:1 disliking it now.

     

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    Phillip, Apr 15th, 2011 @ 9:12am

    I...I almost think this is a parody making fun of how ridiculously oppressive copyright law is. No one could possibly take this video seriously it's absurd and it seems to take everything to the extreme. Almost "A Modest Proposal"-like...

     

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      Mr. LemurBoy (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 10:37am

      Re:

      I know, I kept thinking "This has got to be a joke... some kind of parody... it's too absurd to be real..."

      But there wasn't any punchline :(

       

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      Bruce Ediger (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 10:57am

      I had much the same reaction.

      I watched this yesterday, and I had much the same reaction. It seems like a heavy-handed joke, but if you think about in a deliberately naive way, it makes the US Judicial Branch into a literal mechanism for hammering people doing commonplace things (sharing a video with other fans) into conforming.

      It even has the Techdirt Troll's Obsession with getting an experienced copyright lawyer to judge infringement or not. If they were telling the truth they wouldn't have put this weird advice in.

      I'm guessing that some group at youtube tricked a really obsessive "experienced copyright lawyer" to go completely overboard, and then had an animator with a sense of humor illustrate the overboard nature of experienced copyright lawyering.

       

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    Zacqary Adam Green (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 9:12am

    I bet if we worked really hard, we could get this video more disliked than that fucking Friday song.

     

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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 9:13am

    Comments Disable? 4:1 now

    The video, conveniently enough, has commenting disabled. The Dislike to like ratio is now 4:1. Awesome.

    I look forward to the fair use video responses to this. Might even put something together myself for upload.

     

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 9:30am

    Damning....

    "Finally, while the video does at least make a nod to fair use (at 2:42), the message there is pretty clear that fair use is complicated, legalistic, and not for normal people, so you're best off just ignoring it."

    You know? This statement above is a powerful and damning statement against Copyright's continued existence. And the reality behind it infuriates me.

    Copyright is a -MONOPOLY- power granted by -WE THE PEOPLE- and now we're being told that -WE THE 'LITTLE' PEOPLE- aren't even allowed near the borders of Copyright?

    Screw Copyright. REPEAL IT.

    Seriously, No Copyright can't be worse that this Boat-Anchor around our necks.

     

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    crade (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 9:37am

    I found the use of the pirate dressed guy (and, in particular a beaver... Thanks alot youtube)
    and most of the video to be ironic (and funny). It seemed to be pretty tongue in cheek the whole time and seemed to say "This is what we have to deal with"
    But maybe I'm reading too much into it :)

     

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      Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      I'm waiting for the owners of Rocky and Bullwinkle to file a take down notice. The beaver alone wasn't enough for me, but as soon as I saw the moose, I couldn't watch the rest of the video without thinking of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

       

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        crade (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 10:21am

        Re: Re:

        I hadn't thought of that..
        I immediately thought the old canada is full of pirates rant..
        Although I think Rocky was a flying squirrel maybe it isn't a beaver afterall. Bullwinkle was always the bumbling idiot that Rocky had to put up with so I guess that fits with the whole tongue in cheek feeling of the video :)

         

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        Bruce Ediger (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 10:59am

        Re: Re:

        Bullwinkle was from Frostbite Falls, Minnesota, a proud American Moose, not some craven, piratical Canadian Moose, like Ren and/or Stimpy.

         

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    Pirate, Apr 15th, 2011 @ 10:07am

    3 strikes

    Oh no! Youtube will delete my account if I repeatedly upload copyrighted content! So just make a new account :D

     

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    REM(RND) (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 10:53am

    Odd, the '3 strikes' looks so much like the ones on 'The Price is Right' that I expected the fail-music to play afterwards. Did they get the proper copyrights for that? I'm willing to guess the answer is 'No'.

    As for misusing the DMCA process, they still need something that works both ways for this. If I say something about someone and they say it's a lie, they try to sue me. If it's found out that they sued erroneously, then I am allowed to sue them for the initial suit. Thus, if my content is removed wrongfully, and is proven so, why then would I not be entitled to restitution?

    I also love they way that the Fair Use information (of which they explain little and provide no examples of positive Fair Use for comparison) and the information at the end about how to find more about Copyright via YouTube was drowned out by noise and moving images.

    They also failed to mention that because you are making that video more available to the public, that interest in the creator of the video and his content will grow, thus making him more money.

    Now, the question is if we make a parody of this video, and explain each point they make and how they are in error, is that Fair Use or do they get to sue us?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2011 @ 11:10am

    Seems ripe for parody.
    Aren't the characters from Happy Tree Friends?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2011 @ 11:13am

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0b/HTF_characters.png

    Yes, they are Happy Tree Friends.
    Weird, they've used characters from a cartoon famous for bloody, violent deaths.

     

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    Huph, Apr 15th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Please Learn What "Remix" Means

    The Kutiman pieces that have been mentioned on this site are not remixes. Can someone who possesses at least a cursory knowledge of sample-based music please take over writing about music?

    Music made from samples does not = remix.

    A remix is literally re-mixing ("Mixing" is a very specific term in audio production), by default, remixes sound similar to the original source.

    Kutiman makes sample-based music. That's what it's called. Not a remix. DJ Shadow makes instrumental hip hop out of samples, not remixes. The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" was not a remix of a Rolling Stones song, but the relatively recent version of Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation" was a remix. Moby/RJD2/FlyingLotus/etc make sample-based music. Tiesto does remixes. Fourtet does remixes.

    These are very different things, and have different legal standings. A remix overwhelmingly uses the original source material, but rearranges it into something different. Sometimes "new" but not necessarily, many times remixing is just adding a dance beat so a softer song can be made "hard" enough for the dance floor. Sample-based music is generally made from numerous sources and rarely reflects the original recordings.

    For god's sake, just check Wiki for more clarity.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

      Re: Please Learn What "Remix" Means

      Does that change the fact that in this "sample based" form, the video would more than qualify for protection under fair use?

       

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    Atkray (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    Disliked

    current tally: 462 likes, 1,983 dislikes

    I also took the opportunity to like the other 3.

     

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    xenomancer (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Here's a much better video describing copyrights and their lawful use:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2MZi0tmzo0

    ... it may be a bit old, but enjoy the find

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2011 @ 2:07am

    Parody

    Ok, let's start about this the easy way:
    Why would they use characters from one hell of a brutal show for this?
    Why would the whole video be in a slightly mocking tone?

    Because youtube is mocking copyright regulations.

    Now I applaud those that actually noticed that throughout the whole video it was doing a parody of what the copyright-holders love to say. This video is truly tongue in cheeck

     

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    Jesse (profile), Apr 16th, 2011 @ 10:25am

    I think most of you are reading into this wrong. I think on the one hand, Youtube is trying to satisfy Big Content, but they know most of these rules are ridiculous. I think they made an obviously ridiculous video in a tongue in cheek sort of way. It's just 'serious' enough that it's hard to accuse them of supporting infringers, but just ridiculous enough to mock the copyright maximalists.

     

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    aikiwolfie, Apr 17th, 2011 @ 6:46am

    Disliked it on YouTube

    Clicked "dislike" on YouTube. Although the video is pretty one sided. I think the author should give his readers more credit. We're not about to be guilt tripped or confused by a cartoon pirate.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Apr 17th, 2011 @ 8:44am

      Re: Disliked it on YouTube

      Well, we were confused when Disney used Jack Sparrow in their anti-piracy stuff. Depp almost got turned down for being too gay in the audition.

       

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    peteski, Apr 18th, 2011 @ 5:53am

    this video is so poor it's embarrassing. Patronising drivel.

     

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    Baghead Kelly, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 5:43am

    The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

    Seems to me this whole subject is the weak link in Youtube's armour. A little subterfuge by infering responsibility on to its users doesn't excuse their involvement. Youtube's whole operation is based on other peoples intellectual input.

     

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    Nathan, Jan 26th, 2013 @ 6:55am

    The real fair use banned

    I find it very frustrating that the real fair-use video that you linked is not missing, perhaps banned by youTube. I've always disliked youtube for many reasons, but now that they are joining in with Google's Time to Be Evil stuff, I am almost thinking of deleting my account and going to vimeo or some other site.

     

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