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The Karasel of Progress
Tue, Nov 11 2008
Why YouTube is pissing me off.
Mood:  down
Now Playing: copyrighted music

Maybe I should have seen this e-mail coming..

Dear MichaelAKaras,

Video Disabled

A copyright owner has claimed it owns some or all of the audio content in your video Heart of a Champion. The audio content identified in your video is Heart Of A Champion by Nelly. We regret to inform you that your video has been blocked from playback due to a music rights issue.

Replace Your Audio with AudioSwap

Don't worry, we have plenty of music available for your use. Please visit our AudioSwap library to learn how you can easily replace the audio in your video with any track from our growing library of fully licensed songs.

Other Options

If you think there's been a mistake, or you have other questions, please visit the Copyright Notice page in your account.

Sincerely,
The YouTube Content Identification Team

 Should I be surprised?  Technically, I suppose not.  Every time I upload a video, I assure the popular video site that I am the sole owner of all material contained within.  Since this original "violation" e-mail I received on Oct. 14 of this year, I have received three other e-mails.  So far, they've removed "Heart of a Champion", "Kineticut", and Karas Kwickies #1 and #4. 

I'm actually very interested to know how a video is flagged by the "YouTube Content Identification Team".  At this point, it seems very random on my channel.  "Heart" made sense as the first one - it's a popular video with a lot of views AND the title of the video matched the title of a copyrighted song.  Kineticut kinda baffles me though - the song is from a Broadway soundtrack (albeit a popular one) which seems less likely to be tracked than top 40 hits.  And lastly, the songs in Kwickies 1 and 4 are very obscure tracks by B list artists Powerman 5000 and Miri Ben-Ari.  I wonder if a robot scans audio tracks of videos to search for matches in a large BMI-like database?  And if so, why haven't any of my videos been removed since Oct. 27?  It's been a few weeks - I thought it would be an avalanche of removals but these four have been followed by a period of silence.

What pisses me off first of all is that SO many videos, still available on YouTube, use copyrighted music and don't even have any form of personal expression.  For example, people will simply upload popular songs accompanied by a "video" of still pictures of the artist.  Some video game fans create what they dub AMVs (Anime Music videos?) which includes music and video game footage they don't own.  Their only creative stroke is how they edit the copyrighted video game footage to the copyrighted music.  My argument here is that, yes, I use copyrighted music, but it's set to juggling moves and choreography that are very much original.

Also, as of now, unless you're perhaps someone popular like Olga Kay, YouTube is a free service that is NOT making you money.  So my copyrighted music video is not bringing me in a dime.  What it is bringing me though, I'll admit, is worth its weight in gold - exposure to the world.  YouTube may not be the *best* video site in the world but, like Google, it has practically become a verb, a household brand that everybody knows.  I'm more than happy to share my videos on juggling.tv and other juggling video sites, but guess what?  No one besides jugglers are ever going to see them.  YouTube's exposure to the entire earth is an invaluable service, and it has given many normal men and women a shot at their fifteen minutes of fame.  Even recently, I got a call from an agent in NYC who had been impressed by my stuff on YouTube and was interested in hiring me for a gig here in NYC.  That right there is a good reason to be worried about my increasingly shrinking presence on the site, thanks to the issue of copyrighted music.

           Lastly, in all seriousness, I understand the need for YouTube to protect the content on its site, but I just don't understand how my "Heart of a Champion" video hurts anybody.  First of all, I *paid* for the song on iTunes so i could use it.  Many people don't even pay for their music but I respect the work of music artists and so spend about $15 a month on songs from iTunes.  Second, I'm glorifying the song in my video - not making fun of it at all.  Third, I feel like, if anything, the "Heart of a Champion" video is liable to make some jugglers go out and buy the song themselves, making Nelly even more money.  Basically, it's free advertising.  The music industry has made money off me EXPLICITLY BECAUSE of juggling videos.  Peden to Sweden 2 got me to buy RubberNeckin' by Elvis.  9-1 Nordic Objects got me to buy "Good With the Mothers".  Sean Blue got me to buy "Crazy English Summer" by Faithless.  Wes Peden turned me on to artists like Imogen Heap and the Eels back in the day.  Maybe the music industry doesn't realize that popular jugglers like myself are actually MAKING them money by using their music in our videos.

            No rant in my opinion is completely justified without a proposal for remedy - a "solution" if you will.  YouTube isn't going anywhere.  Even as better and higher quality video sites emerge, YouTube will remain a beacon for video depositing.  (Don't quote me on that though, because Google replaced Yahoo back in the late 90s).  I propose that YouTube opens up a store similar to iTunes where video makers can purchase the license rights to a song.  I think a 5-10 dollar license would be fair and generate enormous amounts of extra cash flow for the music industry and even for YouTube.  This would be good for all parties combined, including jugglers, who will most likely put more thought into their music videos before posting, knowing a license charge is required for public viewing.

             Many jugglers aren't musicians and are unable to produce the quality of music they'd like to accompany their talents.  We all know juggling is a tough art to "mainstream" and so often music that everybody knows and loves is a good way to make a connection with an audience.  Chris Bliss anyone?

             The exposure YouTube provides for our art form is too great to be bogged down by this issue.  Hopefully in the future, YouTube will find a legal, lucrative way of letting our expression be seen AND heard.  In the mean time, enjoy the rest of my videos on YouTube because they may not be there for long.


Posted by Michael at 9:13 AM EST
Updated: Tue, Nov 11 2008 9:57 AM EST
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