I fought the law…

For those not in the know, YouTube has had a bit of trouble recently with various record labels and movie distribution studios. The suits in charge of these multi-national media conglomerates want complete control of their creative property [ed. note: That they themselves didn’t actually create]. As such, they really get their panties in a twist when they see people upload videos that contain their copyrighted material to the largest video sharing site on the internet.

YouTube has tried to fan the flames and strike deals with these media companies, as the people that own most of the accounts on their site are just regular Joes, like you or me. Since we can’t defend ourselves from these big companies should we accidentally (or not) encroach on their property, YouTube has accepted the role of moderator.

In a metaphorical way, YouTube is like the parent who is met with an, “I hate you,” by the child they had to scold. YouTube willingly accepts the blame when people yell at them for taking down their video because it used a clip from a TV show or a snippet from a song owned by these companies. But like a scolded child, our lashing out against YouTube is just a knee-jerk reaction that we don’t really mean. The real enemy isn’t YouTube — they’re just saving their asses from getting sued. The enemies are the litigious companies that threaten YouTube. (And the media companies would call us the enemy.)

One deal that YouTube has come up with is to have advertisements for the movie/song in question embedded as pop-up ads in the video itself. The page which hosts the video will also have banner ads on it, displaying information that’s (sometimes) relative to the video’s content. Not a bad deal, right?
Well, several companies didn’t take kindly to that — they wanted COMPLETE CONTROL of their assets, and so they pulled out. Now YouTube has been forced to institute a zero-tolerance policy with ANY video that has anything to do with NBC/Universal, UMG, Viacom and (since December) Warner Music Group. I want you to understand that when I say zero-tolerance, I mean ZERO-tolerance.
Yes, even if you’re in the band, your record label won’t let you upload your own music videos to YouTube.

I told you all of that so that I could tell you this: I recently had a dust up with YouTube.
With my Inappropriate Soundtracks (refer to the sidebar for a link to my YouTube page), I mix and mash up music with film to make a pop culture casserole made of crap. As you can imagine, given the current climate over at YouTube, I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with copyright infringement. I’d argue that it’s parody/satire and since I’m not making money off of them, it could be considered fair use, but it doesn’t matter. (Zero-tolerance, remember?) I’ve had about 8 videos total get taken down at YouTube due to copyright infringement, but the video I uploaded this morning was special.

They allowed the video to stay, but they removed the audio because I used a song owned by the Warner Music Group in it. I was left in a weird situation; my videos NEED the music to be funny, but I didn’t feel like taking down the video after all the work I put into it and after several people had already seen it. What was I to do?

Well, I took a stand and turned the video into a platform in which to present the copyright issue as satire. I added (childish) annotations to the video making fun of WMG and how companies view us Joe YouTubes. Click the link below to see the fruits of my labor. I hope you get a chuckle.

[My mute, yet annotated, Wizard of Oz Inappropriate Soundtrack video]


5 Responses to I fought the law…

  1. Darby says:

    As I’ve commented elsewhere, I’d be happy if you made more of these, or one master one mocking all the major ‘tarded companies obsessing over ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. This kinda crap proves to me that the US has WAY too many lawyers, and the executives in charge of these companies have – pardon my bluntness – fuck all to do. AND they’re getting paid too much to do nothing.

    Also, I don’t think the dialog inserted into the video is at all childish. Funny, biting in some places, maybe smart-ass-y…but not exactly childish.

    Also also, are you still doing a blog entry about angels or some crap? Or are you saving that for Bunny Egg Day?

  2. Boone says:

    Well, perhaps I mean to say that my reasoning for doing the annotations is childish. It’s like the when creators of South Park lost the Oscar for Best Song (with “Blame Canada”) to Phil Collins and the rest of the season was just making fun of him by presenting him as Mr. Gumby from Monty Python, carrying around his Oscar like a kid with a comfort blanket. They themselves even called it childish, but they were bitter over losing to Phil Collins and needed to lash out against the establishment. They said they expected to lose, but not to Phil Collins.

    I know that each video I post is potentially going to get taken down, but I didn’t expect this. I lashed out by making the best of a bad situation and trying to write it off as a joke and make some social commentary while I was at it.

    And yeah, I’m still writing that piece. Perhaps I should save it for Easter — it seems appropriate.

  3. vein says:

    What is the sound of one hand not clapping?

  4. Boone says:

    I’m guessing it’s the same sound everyone makes after they’ve read my blog.

    Thus concludes my lame attempt at humor through self-deprecation. Thank you, you’ve been great. Remember, there’s a two drink minimum, and be sure to tip your waitress.
    *bows, exits stage left*

  5. South Park is a series that much about it because the topics are considered taboo and often turned to derision, but also why we love him so much ^ ^

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