Thursday, March 19, 2015

My problem with “Copyright” music / audio on YouTube

I am not going to go in depth into the whole of YouTube’s Copyright policy, because that is something too complicated for my understanding and I’m not even sure the folks at YouTube themselves understand it fully.

This post is mainly going to be focusing on the use of audio or songs created by other people to compliment videos created by new or aspiring content creators on YouTube (such as myself).
So if you tried to post a video recently that contains any popular song or any song that you think would be appropriate for your video, you are sure to run into the YouTube police for committing a heinous crime. At least that is the way they make it sound whenever they issue you a ‘copyright claim’ on one of your videos.

Now I can understand that artists and singers are keen to stop people from plagiarizing their songs and works they created, after all it is something unique (mostly) that they spent a lot of time and effort into publishing. No one likes to see their work copied regardless of what field we are talking about.

For YouTube videos that you are NOT planning on monetizing, this is not that big a deal, but if you are planning on or are already monetizing a video that contains these audio tracks, you will probably be asked to take these videos down or YouTube will do it for you. Now of course YouTube has a way you can dispute these copyright claims and so on but if you are found ‘guilty’ then not only do you have to take the video down but you also get a copyright strike on your account which is a very severe punishment.

Three of these copyright strikes and you can say goodbye to your YouTube account/YouTube channel. This seems to be a strategy employed by YouTube to save their own ass from any legal implications, and who can blame them as there have been numerous counts of people fighting YouTube legally on many copyright claims.

For the MOST part I agree with their policy and anyone who claims someone else’s work SHOULD be penalized. So for example if a video has only the audio of a song created by someone else and no other content, no enhancements, commentary or credit has been given to the original creator AND the video is monetized meaning the person uploading someone else’s work is now ALSO getting paid for it, is most definitely a serious crime and should be punished as such.

The issue I have with the policy is when trying to use only a part of a song or work ALONGSIDE other content whether it be a video montage, commentary or anything similar. I believe that if credit IS given to the original creator and the person creating this new video clearly claims that they in fact do not own the rights for the piece they “borrowed” then all should be well. And in the case that this new video has also been monetized, then, there should be a system in place to possibly share the revenue or pay some royalties in proportion to the amount of the material that is used or borrowed.

This seems like a logical and fair system that benefits both parties. The person using the borrowed song or audio piece has now created something new and unique and creative and the person whose original work was used is getting credit as well as free publicity for their work essentially.
Instead the current system is such that it, even users who plan to use the piece under “fair use” terms gets punished the majority of the time and what I think this does is stifles the ultimate creativity of new content that could potentially have been really good but is now just mediocre or non-existent(extreme case.)

I have come across this problem quite often these past few days while trying to create a new video and it is indeed very frustrating. There is a certain song that I think would go along VERY well with my gameplay video and / or commentary but it can’t be used because of the copyright issue. Using something else, let alone YouTube’s free music just isn't the same and the original creativity and idea just seems to die.

It is something, I hope that YouTube as well as Copyright holders think about more in the future so that a new (improved) system is implemented in place that everyone can benefit from.



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