Copyright…..Again…again…

Okay, this is a double topic. After my Copyright…..Again post I got to thinking about derivative works, transformativeness in works and holding your own. Basically, if you alter a work and make it your own then it is derivative – if you change it then it is transformative. So if you play a game and commentate it, or montage it then it becomes derivative AND transformative and so entitled to copyright protection IN IT’S OWN RIGHT. As far as I can tell that does not extend to music you use for a montage, for example, unless it’s a remix that you have made.

However, unless you yell that you know your rights (hahaha, yeah right) then copyright holders for the source material can pretty much just steamroller you. So I made this:

It’s totally free for anyone to use on their videos if they wish to, or perhaps base their own notice off it. I hope that it raises awareness and helps people.

****THIS VIDEO IS FREE FOR ANYONE TO USE****

Direct Download –
http://www.zshare.net/video/7530932079a7ce6c/

*NOTE* If you choose to use this intro for your videos you may still be subject to DMCA/EUCD take down notices. It is YOUR responsibility to prove your work is derivative and/or informative under copyright fair use “rules”.

I’m not a lawyer, and am not responsible for you, your videos, or your actions on YouTube or anywhere else. Do your research:

General Copyright: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright

DMCA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmca

EUCD: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Directive

Derivative works and transformativeness: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derivative_work

Electronic Frontier Foundation: http://www.eff.org/

YouTube can, will, and do remove any and all content that is subject to DMCA take down notification. That is part of the Terms and Conditions that you agreed to when you signed up to the service. So even if you are “in the right” YouTube can still take down your video(s) – live with that reality, or use another video host. They’re protecting their business, and they have every right to do it.

After I posted that video to my YouTube channel I found that DarkSydePhil (DSP) who had been pretty much the centre of my thinking on this issue has posted a new video on his ongoing saga. Previously it was claimed that it was UBISOFT who sent the DMCA take down notices to YouTube regarding DSP’s channel…….well, it seems that wasn’t actually correct. In fact it seems that YouTube is now accepting take down notices from any random person who can type “DMCA”:


(Strong language at the end – Not Safe For Work (NSFW))

So there you have it. UBISOFT are not the enemy after all (well, not in this case anyway). But I still want to make it clear that regardless of your actual copyright status, YouTube can remove any video or user from their service whenever they want, and for any reason they feel like. That’s just how it is, and those are the rules that all YouTube accounts are covered by.

Peas and loaves.

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4 thoughts on “Copyright…..Again…again…

  1. Pingback: Copyright…..Again « evaDlivE Blog

  2. There’s one thing you haven’t explicitly mentioned. Licensing.

    The creator of a work owns the copyright to it no matter what. He can assign copyright to someone else of course but he can also license the work for particular usage to that someone else.

    The mainstream music we listen to is distributed with a proprietary license limiting usage and that of course is how the record companies make their money. Fair use is a grey area as you’ve said but it does not go as far as allowing a work to be completely used unaltered in another work. Even if the video maker doesn’t make any money from the usage, Youtube (in this case) will probably make a few cents from it. Isn’t it fair that the copyright holder is compensated for their work?

    One of my photos was used in the Youtube video for a non commercial song about Cork City. I was pissed off at them for not even asking but these days I just accept that people will steal the photos I produce. Another of my photos was used by River Island, but I’ll say no more about that for the time being.

    You should take a look at http://creativecommons.org/ where more liberal licenses can be found. All the software I write is distributed under the GPL. I retain the copyright of my software but the license encourages others to distribute the source code and modify it in any way they like. That license uses the power of copyright law to make sure that as many people as possible can use the software and modify it as much as they like. They cannot however distribute the software as part of a proprietary “closed source” package. That would deny others the freedoms promised in the license.

    It’s not enough to remix a song if you don’t have a license to do so and distribute it. Hell, you can’t even use a sample of another song in a commercial work these days without being hauled into court.
    I’ve heard it said that copyright really only came into existence in the last 100 years. Before then there was a vibrant oral and live musical atmosphere where artists earned money from the time they put into playing for others. That’s sort of what the GPL does. It’s possible to sell GPLed software but any one of your customers can legally distribute your paid for products free of charge and you won’t be able to do anything about it.
    I heard on the radio a while back that I think it was Charles Dickens who raged against illegal copying of his poetry. People made bad copies of his books by hand and sold them on the streets of London apparently.

    There’s a wealth of appropriately CC licensed music you can use in Youtube videos. I haven’t had a need for it so I don’t know if any of it is any good but the authors of those works want other people to use them and make derivative works and make them better. Some CC licenses don’t allow the creation of derivative work though so watch out for the small print. If the music isn’t good enough then it’s up to the video maker to create the music they want.

    Oh, I think it’s stupid for an organisation to send a DMCA request against a video that used a music track but they have to do it or be accused of not protecting their interests.

    • Thanks for such a comprehensive response. That should be a post in its own right.

      Unfortunately licensing (except GPL) doesn’t really come into it for us normal folk, or the majority of people who post on YouTube who are looking to share their enthusiasm for something. I can imagine the response from the corporations if people started sending them requests for permission to use their material.

      A friend of mine is currently doing a film-making degree and for one project he wanted to use a music track by some dead blues guy. If it was going to be just shown in class then I’m sure he would have just have yoinked it fair and square, but he was also going to enter it into some film festival. Sony charged him £50 for the right to use it.

      That was for the use in a non-commercial film (about four minutes long) that only 1-200 people would see…..

      The copyright holder(s) obviously reserve the right to charge for the use of their works (it’s the basis of copyright after all)- but I can’t really see people lining up to pay at least £50 for every piece of music they use. And I can’t see that the price is commensurate with the use. Which brings me back to fairness.

      DMCA and EUCD has removed all notion of fairness and replaced it with a large legal cudgel.

      Copyright is a difficult area, as I do believe in the right of the material creator to have control over how their work is used in a commercial sense. But at the same time I abhor the heavy handed and short sighted way in which those same copyright holders punish their fans.

      Bah – copyright and fairness? Ne’er the twain shall meet.

  3. Pingback: Weekly-ish Update #7 « evaDlivE Blog

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