from the more-territorial-pissing-from-warner-music dept
Nothing kills an event hosted by YouTube (and other streaming services) quicker than a spontaneous rendition of the song everyone sings when it's someone's birthday, but yet somehow "belongs" solely to Warner Music. Granted, this didn't actually kill CitizenCon 2013, an event put together by RSI (Roberts Space Industries), the company behind persistent MMO Star Citizen (which is still in development), for its fans.
Wesha sends in a short note pointing out that YouTube killed the stream a little over an hour in because the crowd sang Happy Birthday to one of the team members. ("Infringement" begins at approximately 1:02:00.)
The recording of the event has been uploaded with the offending tune removed, a tune that should be in the public domain by this point. RSI learned via YouTube's content bot patrol that the song clearly isn't public domain, at least as far as Warner Music and YouTube are concerned, even if there are strong legal challenges to the song's copyright status.
The uploaded video contains a short note about the suddenly-disappearing stream and has replaced the familiar birthday tune with something even more forgettable -- a light-jazz guitar piece that sounds like a rejected cut from the latest "Now That's What I Call NPR Bumper Music!" compilation.
So, Warner Music and YouTube safely prevented anyone viewing the stream from hearing an unlicensed version of a song familiar to millions and sung by the "original" artists almost never.
But should Warner Music be happy with this swift response? I assume it is. There's really nothing to be gained from the song at this point but ill-gotten licensing fees. If it lets one unlicensed use slip by, everyone else will be looking for the same treatment. There's no market to expand here and no new fans of the Hill sisters "work" (even though it's pretty clear that it wasn't written by the Hill sisters) to be gained.
On the other hand, overly-zealous bot patrols could very easily damage a future market. Tim K sends in this story of an eight-year-old Kanye West track climbing the charts thanks to a viral video featuring his song "Gone."
Kanye West debuts on the Hot 100 this week with a song that's eight years old. "Gone" (featuring Cam'ron and Consequence), from West's 2005 sophomore album "Late Registration," starts at No. 18 after a YouTube clip featuring the song as a backing track went viral…The video racked up 15 million views and West's track climbed into the top 20 (of the Hot 100 chart), nearly a decade after its release. Had the bots been as aggressively "trained" as Warner's birthday patrol, West's track would have remained where it was -- an eight-year-old track with a very limited market.
The song's revival started when Marina Shifrin, a writer and comedian, quit her job as a video editor by creating a video for her boss in which she dances around her deserted office (at 4:30 a.m.) to the appropriately-themed "Gone."
Sure, this isn't quite as heartwarming as a small indie artist hitting it big thanks to internet virality, but it does go to show that aggressive responses to infringement can damage future sales. If nothing else, it further lines West's pockets, possibly moving him closer to his dream of speedily delivered croissants.