Sunday, June 10, 2012

Who Owns Ancient Latin Hymns?

Apparently, anyone who tells YouTube that they do.

There's a curious issue that has suddenly popped up on YouTube. If any of you have been dealing with this as well, I'd love to hear from you.

It started last week. I get a notice that someone is making a copyright claim on a video I made years and years ago to help people learn the Arabic Alphabet. I was stunned looking at this message in my inbox. I knew that the video in question was made by me five years ago. It included only images of my hand drawing Arabic letters, titles produced in iMovie, and public domain music loops available in Garageband.

So the notice informed me that my video was not being taken down (Thanks!!), but that I could expect some ads now attached to my video from the party making the dispute.

Thankfully, the copyright claimant was named to me specifically in this message. I googled the name of the dude (I'm sure not going to include it in this post, since he apparently was part of an attempt to get more publicity than he deserved already). I see the dude has some Jazz Album on Amazon. I click on it and I get to listen to the track in question. And the dude is basically reading poetry with the same Garageband public domain music loop playing in the background!! Here's the kicker, his album was released AFTER my video was posted.

So I actually go through the process of disputing this claim. YouTube, in the message informing me of this matter, has a link for me to dispute it. I am forced to spend precious seconds of my finite life explaining what I just laid out above. And I submit my dispute. I get a message a few days later informing me that the "Music Publishing Company has released their claim."

Oh, really? In other words they're now admitting that they didn't in fact have ownership of my video because they used a free Garageband loop even after I did? Thanks!

YouTube, I hoped that someone on your staff followed that exchange and realized you're all being played by people who are trying to get product links attached to innocent videos.

I wish that were the end of the story.

I just now finished again wasting the precious seconds of my finite life answering back, get ready for it, a claim from a "Music Publishing Company" that my version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" violates their copyright.

That's right, someone told YouTube that they own this Medieval Latin hymn. And YouTube then let them make a claim on my video, in which I sing and I produce all the instruments in Garageband. 

And here's the thing. If I didn't go through the trouble of disputing it, my video is going to end up with a link to some specific person's version whose Music Publishing Company had the balls to try this dastardly method.

Again, YouTube, this is becoming a problem. The two claims I describe above are certainly fraudulent. And if you don't find a way to weed this out, you will only be swamped with more of this.

Meanwhile, please enjoy my creations of the Medieval Hymn Veni, Veni Emmanuel and my original song of Catullus' Carmina 5. I expect any day for someone to make a claim on my Catullus video, merely by telling YouTube they own all the works of Catullus. And YouTube apparently will just pass this claim along, with the right to place an ad on my video if I don't protest.


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