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YouTube: Turn off your background music

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You know how we told you about the crazy Content ID issues on YouTube leading to Let’s Play channels getting slammed with insane copyright claims? Well, now YouTube is responding to the criticism, but not in the way we were hoping.

In an email sent by YouTube to those hit by the Content ID sweeps obtained by Kotaku, they offer the following advice for new content:

If you’re creating videos with content from other people, remember that rights ownership can be complicated and different owners have different policies. Be aware of music. Many games allow you to turn off background music, while leaving sound effects enabled.

This honestly makes no sense. Music played in games has been licensed by the publishers already. If those game publishers then give permission for that game to be used in Let’s Play videos, or any other video commentary, surely those rights are transferred as well. Is it just the music that’s the problem, then? So far, it would appear that way – most of the claims are based on violations of musicians’ rights and have little if anything to do with the actual game IP.

I’m all for the protection of intellectual property, and I believe that artists and creators should be compensated for their contributions. However, YouTube has not evolved to the point of allowing profit sharing, complicated licensing, or any other mechanism other than to simply slap Content ID claims on those creating their own unique art. Where is the option to engage with the copyright holders? We have been struggling with this issue ourselves – apparently Geoff’s face violates someone’s copyright. That’s right – someone owns the rights to Geoff’s face. Who knows, maybe our next Content ID claim will be on Darryn’s voice or Gavin’s “sense of humor”. Regardless, it’s a flawed system and YouTube needs to look at fixing it, rather than just telling people to turn off their music.

Last Updated: December 18, 2013

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