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. identicon
    Insert Made-Up Name Here, 2 Sep 2012 @ 9:54am

    Groan! Not just at you, but all the ill-informed Johnny Come Latelys in this thread.

    In other words, it skips the DCMA for the takedown of a video.

    That sentence is correct. Now everyone use your brains for a minute and don't just knee-jerk, like so many of you did.

    Once again (and I'll type slowly this time) Google developed its so-called Content-ID to avoid having to deal with the DMCA.

    Content-ID wouldn't even exist if the DMCA hadn't existed. So, contrary to all the Johnny Come Lately "history-lite" b.s. in all the posts (history did not start the day any one of you became self-aware), the DMCA is ROOT CAUSE and the real problem.

    After all, (the sane and sober among) you don't swerve to avoid a non-existant road-hazard. And Content-ID would not exist were it not for the DMCA.

    I don't give a bleep-bleep bleep what f*** was used in this particular case, the DMCA is the real problem.

    The DMCA was a miserable, horribly-thought out, failed attempt that needs badly to be repealed, re-thought and replaced. Ditto for GooTube's DMCA avoidance system (aka Content-ID).

    End of story.

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