Monday, March 8, 2010

The Day I Infringed My Own Copyright


What you see in the window above depends on what country you're in. If you're in Europe, you probably see the standard YouTube player containing an introduction to the video tour diary I will be doing with my band on our upcoming U.S. tour. If, however, you live in the United States or Australia, you probably see an error message saying that the video can't be viewed in your current territory because of a copyright infringement claim from the Warner Music Group. So what gives? Did I use a copyrighted piece of music by another artist without permission? Nope. I used one of my own songs. I'll let that sink in for a second.

The intro of the video is just me explaining some of the ways we'll be posting on various social media sites during the tour to help fans keep on top of what's going on. The final bit is a montage of footage shot on our recent European tour set to a track off my last album. Why it got pulled is still not entirely clear to me. Warner did indeed act as a distributor to Metropolis Records, the label I am currently signed to for the U.S., but that relationship ended at the end of last year. Even so, Warner was merely the distributor, not the actual copyright holder.

I understand a company wanting to protect its intellectual property. But this is an example of one of the dozens of completely tone-deaf actions the record industry has taken in an attempt to combat piracy that actually ends up hurting the same artists they claim to want to protect. The music industry is more competitive than ever. I thought doing an 'almost real time' tour diary of our U.S. tour would be a great promotional tool and something fans would find interesting too. But now I'm being held hostage by a company I have absolutely no business relationship with whatsoever. And what's the sense of blocking music on YouTube anyway? Does Warner think people are pirating music on YouTube? Yes, there are unofficial postings of songs and fan videos but these are FREE PROMOTION. No one is going to take files with YouTube's terrible audio quality and think it's an acceptable replacement for the real thing. Fans aside, the idea that an artist can't post their own damn song in an attempt to promote themselves (and thus garner more sales for the label) is so ass-backwards it defies comprehension. This is why you're losing the battle, Record Labels. Oh, and if you want to watch the video in the U.S., Australia, or other countries where the video is blocked, I've uploaded it to MySpace Video where you can watch it hassle free.

UPDATE: Well, I don't know if this is a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease or what, but it appears the YouTube video works in the U.S again. Guess I'll have to be more cautious about using my own music in the future. *snork*

46 comments:

Jailo said...

That's the balancing act for each artist. You wanna save your music against piracy and if you do that you can't use your own music like you want and have to pay for it if you use/play it.
Sometimes it's really stupid....

Anonymous said...

With no disrespect, there is some humor here. Why are the fan videos still up? Maybe you should send the Tour Diary video files to one of your fans to post so it won't get blocked. :-)

I like dramtatic intro to the vid though!

Anu said...

Yes, Warner does believe people are pirating music on YouTube. You can search for and find numerous "videos" which are HQ audio coupled with an ugly "title card" (or worse, cheesy graphics) accompanying the track.

YouTube has an audio fingerprinting system in place and has agreed to filter videos for material the content cartel considers infringing.

I'm speculating here, but I bet WMG threw your record in their "do not allow" pile a few years back when they had the deal, but didn't bother to retract it when the deal lapsed - either it's two different departments or they just don't care about "un-banning" stuff, especially when they don't manage it anymore.

Joey said...

What this really is is labels sending false DMCA takedown notices just seeing if youtube will do it. Its more fearmongering than anything else. When I worked at a certain major label they would do this all the time

Anonymous said...

As this hit a fresh upload immediately, this was probably a result of the fairly new-ish YouTube automated algorithm (i.e. audio fingerprinting) as Anu mentioned, rather than any actual human involvement.

Not sure why fan vids weren't affected though. Maybe the fingerprinting tech runs on all fresh uploads immediately, but might take months/years to work through YouTube's massive back catalogue...

Anonymous said...

I can see and hear it in Australia and it sounds pretty good.

tladb

jlick said...

If you get something taken down due to a bogus DMCA claim, you can get it back up immediately by submitting a counter-notification to the provider. The DMCA requires providers to restore content when they get a counter-notification and any dispute is then between the claimant and poster. Search on "DMCA counter notification" for several guides on how to do this.

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ringo said...

If this really is not wrong to YouTube and send the labels are just seeing the signs of the removal of the DMCA. Its more than fearmongering more than anything else. I have worked in some of the major label they do this all time




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