I Infringe Copyrights


Apparently I infringed enough copyrights for Facebook to decide to take down a video I recently uploaded. They will more than likely take down a few more I uploaded because they too (little do they know) violate the same exact copyright.

Granted I see where they’re coming from, I want to explain the situation and show how blatantly lame it is.

I recently found a DVD labeled “Senior Year 2002”. I pop it in my computer and discovered that it contained some really funny videos from my senior year in high school as well as a video that is sewn together footage from when I took a camcorder to school on one of the last days. I completely removed the audio from the footage and dubbed over it “Closing Time” by Semisonic. I realize now the cheesiness and how incredibly cliche the song is, but it recieved a dozen or so comments from my friends back in highschool that appreciated me uploading the video and sending them on a memory-trip back in time.

I understand how the copyright law works and I understand that there are licensing fees for performing songs and reproducing them in published works (The idea is that if you make money from something they should get a cut of it). But what I don’t understand is who this was hurting. Was Semisonic losing money by me putting this track to the background of the video? If anything it’s such a throw-back song that people might go out and buy it on iTunes after having heard it for the first time in 6-7 years.

This is almost as bad as last June in 2007 when Universal sued over the background music played in a toddler video. The video on youtube shows a toddler running around the house dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” If something like that is copyright infringement then that’s just fucking messed up. How about the film maker who almost couldn’t release his documentary because there was a 4 and a half second clip of the simpsons playing in the background? Kids dancing to songs on Youtube are finding themselves recieving DMCA takedown notices for licensing violations. Obviously kids videotaping themselves dancing along to some song aren’t going to pay a licensing fee, and these sorts of viral videos tend to help build up more interest in artists. So what good does it do to go after these videos and have them taken down?

Here are the problems we’re faced with:

1. Background music is not viewed as educational use.

2. Posting a video to a network or public website which incorporates copyrighted music for which you do not have written permission to use is a violation.

3. Legally purchased music is for personal and home use.

Here’s the only solutions I can come up with:

1. Use artists and musicians who promote free use of their music and don’t treat consumers as criminals (Pearl Jam, String Cheese Incident, etc…not asshats like Metallica and Prince)

2. Request permission.  It’s not a guarantee that you’ll get the written permission you need, but go to the copyright holder(s) or publishers of the music to request written permission to use, especially if you think the song in question is that necessary for your production.

3. Purchase a royalty free music library. Not all licenses are the same for royalty free music libraries…so read each one closely.

4. Make your own music…I know it’s not an option for all of us, but I mix music all the time – I should start using more of my own music to cast ambient moods in videos instead of relying on some of the garbage that’s already been produced and will simply get my video removed from the sites I put it on.

I see how I clearly violated copyright laws by not obtaining permission to use the song “Closing Time” before I uploaded the video, but I do not see how it was harming anyone in the video, facebook, or Semisonic as they were clearly not losing money from the song being in the video. If anything it promoted them.

I will be removing the audio from the video and reuploading it. Facebook can kiss my ass. You won in your effort to pacify the RIAA but you won’t take my video down again.

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