Major Labels Claim Copyright Over Public Domain Songs; YouTube Punishes Musician

from the not-cool dept

We've talked in the past about how YouTube's ContentID system fails at fair use and the public domain -- whereby it is unable to distinguish public domain material. That has resulted in ridiculous situations, often where large companies with huge catalogs end up shutting down perfectly legal content. Sometimes it's crazy stuff like taking down a video because of birds chirping in the background, but other times it can result in public domain music being pulled down.

Musician Dave Colvin appears to be dealing with the latter, as he noted in a frustrated Facebook post about how the publishing arms of the major labels keep claiming copyright on public domain cover songs that he's been recording and posting to YouTube. The end result is that, even though all of these claims are bogus, YouTube is threatening to take away his ability to monetize his account, and have already disabled it on a public domain song.
I am fed up with YouTube. Several times I have provided evidence that my video "O Little Town of Bethlehem" is a Public Domain song and each time I get an email saying the song is owned by either Warner Chappell or UMPG or Sony. Now they have disabled my being able to earn any money for the number of times the video is viewed. We are only talking about pennies but no one "owns" a Public Domain song.

They now have threatened to totally disable my account from monetizing any of my videos because of multiple "false" claims of ownership. Since there is no way to speak to a human being directly, there will never be a way to convince them of the error of their ways....Fed up!
(And just to cut this argument off before it even begins: you can absolutely make money from public domain material, you just can't stop others from doing the same thing). Again, this isn't the first time we've seen this kind of thing, and it's a situation that YouTube really needs to figure out a solution to.

Filed Under: business models, contentid, copyfraud, dave colvin, monetization, music, public domain
Companies: google, sony music, universal music, warner chappell


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  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 28 Aug 2012 @ 5:09pm

    Re:

    I do not think ContentID sends out notices to the rightholders. It has a scan of all the crap the cartels want to protect, and when it hits a match it strikes.

    You want Google to make it better... point out that the "King" of search uses a crappy search to make these matches. If they can't figure out how to tell a bird song from someone singing how can they serve you what you want when you search.

    ContentID and secret agreements allowing cartels to takedown content no questions asked really need to be investigated. It looks like several corporations forcing another one to do things to circumvent the law. Maybe it is time to stop giving the cartels everything they demand and force them to do better.
    Step 1 is automatic fines for every bogus DMCA notice, paid to the target and the host for wasting their time. I'm sure people would then not have to worry about losing their YT accounts after 3 strikes, because Google would be getting paid for the "inconvenience" of dealing with it.

    Thousands of bogus DMCA takedowns are filed everyday simply because the law seems to think the cartels are always right.
    I think its time to remind them they can buy laws but they are not above them.

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