A whole bunch of folks have been sending in this Slashdot story about a guy who had one of his videos "claimed" via ContentID on YouTube
due to a purpoted match with content that Rumblefish claims to hold the copyright on. We actually saw this post early on, because it links to an old Techdirt post about questionable Rumblefish takedowns
. In this case, the guy says that there was no music in the video, but that Rumblefish said that the birds singing in the background violated its copyright:
"I make nature videos for my YouTube channel, generally in remote wilderness away from any possible source of music. And I purposely avoid using a soundtrack in my videos because of all the horror stories I hear about Rumblefish filing claims against public domain music. But when uploading my latest video, YouTube informed me that I was using Rumblefish's copyrighted content, and so ads would be placed on my video, with the proceeds going to said company. This baffled me. I disputed their claim with YouTube's system — and Rumblefish refuted my dispute, and asserted that: 'All content owners have reviewed your video and confirmed their claims to some or all of its content: Entity: rumblefish; Content Type: Musical Composition.' So I asked some questions, and it appears that the birds singing in the background of my video are Rumblefish's exclusive intellectual property."
While it's still not fully clear what happened, the idea of claiming copyright on birds singing is actually not
an entirely new concept (though, yes, it is ridiculous). In 2010, we wrote about Apple getting sued
buy a guy, Martyn Stewart, who had recorded a bunch of bird sounds. Someone else had used those sounds in an app called iBird. As I said then, I'm not sure that there really is much "copyright" to claim over recording birds, but even if someone wants to make an argument that recording birds is copyrightable, it's pretty clear that the guy in the story above was just recording his own sounds -- not using someone's "copyright"-covered bird songs...