Fuck You, Warner Music Group
YouTube and Warner Music Group (WMG) have gone through a divorce.
This all stems around WMG’s decision to not continue their license agreement with Google (owner of the YouTube brand), sifting through the millions of YouTube videos and removing songs “belonging to WMG” that were part of user-uploaded video submissions.
This decision has permanently changed any uploaded YouTube video that used a WMG artist’s song for any reason. Such is Warner’s far-reaching efforts to protect any of it’s precious properties that it takes out other label’s artists in the process.
For example, in my video Snowy Sunday Ep. 002, I use clips of three different songs: Dean Martin “Let It Snow”, Crowded House “Four Seasons In One Day” and Van Halen “Dreams”. Of these three artists, two of them are with Warner [Dean Martin and Van Halen]. Crowded House gets crowded out of the YouTube house, at least when their songs are used alongside any WMG artist in the same YouTube video.
In addition to Snowy Sunday Episode 011 having the audio removed from it [which I completely removed from YouTube right after I discovered it contained no audio], previous videos of mine that had soundtracks of WMG artists have also suffered the same silent fate. Here is the list, each one linked to their respective blog posts where you can still watch the “un-altered” videos using Vimeo:
- Snowy Sunday Ep. 004 – [Red Hot Chili Peppers “Under The Bridge”]
- Snowy Sunday Ep. 002 – [Van Halen – “Dreams”]
- Scooter Sunday Captured Ep. 009 – [Led Zeppelin “Tangerine”]
I will not be pulling these videos [at least for now], leaving them in their WMG-revised state.
A Better Solution
While WMG play their greedy fucker card, other labels have used better options for finding their licensed songs in a YouTube video. And I think it’s a WIN-WIN situation.
Let’s take Universal Music Group. There’s been a couple of my videos that have been flagged as having Universal-owned tracks in them. But instead of getting all “nose in the air” and greedy, they get smart: they give me the option to add links to legitimate places to legally download the songs.
The orange-circled area shows the iTunes and Amazon.com buttons to purchase music
Now how hard is that? Actually, not that hard at all. And both Universal and myself benefit. I get to keep the song in my video and they make money from additional purchases of the song [I’m sure Google also has a deal with the labels to make more money on the backend]
A pop-up banner comes up while the video plays, showing the title of the song
They also place a pop-up banner while the video is playing, but it’s easy to click away, if so desired.
So what am I going to do here? This has put me, a blogger that uploads regular videos, in a different place. Sure, I can be creative and make my own songs and music, but I’m trying to generate laughs on a different level.
I will still continue to use YouTube as an alternative viewing option for my regular videos [sorry, but Vimeo kicks ass in all areas], but I will have to come up with different options when confronted with these new rules.
I can use music from artists that are not on any WMG label, which is what I will try to do. But there are some videos where a certain song fits just right. And sometimes that song belongs to a WMG artist.
I respect the position of any person or company that owns the rights to their music and their efforts to protect that. I’m in no way against that. I’m simply suggesting that there are smarter ways of doing that, where both the end-user and the license owner benefit. It’s called “Fair Use” and it appears to be working for Universal. And fair use can also work for Warner, if they want it to. They just have to put the greedy mindset aside and think like a modern and progressive company should.
Yeah, I’m not waiting, either.
Kudos to UMG and big ol’ fuck you to WMG. I like when companies decide to work their way through something like this. Give us options and not just stick it to us. Warner can lick my <>.
Well done, Marty! Since I make book trailers for authors, I use music regularly. Universal has the right idea and Warner is just plain stupid for not getting on this bandwagon. Yeah, I think they’re a lot like those losers who said the internet would never amount to anything and there was no need for every home in the world to have a computer in it. Heh. Yeah, right.
Anyone who tells Warner to fuck off has my vote!!
kapgar – I’ve got my <> out there for Warner to lick, too. UMG gets my support.
winter – Thanks, Winter. Warner did have a good thing going with Google/YouTube, but they wanted a bigger slice of the pie. The main person that gets affected in all of these legal issues is the consumer. All they have to do is embrace technology as it moves forward and everyone benefits.
sybil law – Why thanks, Sybil. Vote? was I running for public office? 😉
Great…more things that I can’t access. I understand royalties, but why does it always have to come at the consumer’s expense? Oh well…Universal all the way!
i like when you get all riled up!
I think I’ve mentioned this in another comment to one of your posts about YouTube but I can’t find it now for the life of me. Anyhoo, I wonder how much longer it will be before the greedy bastards realize that YouTube isn’t the only video site and start “policing” the others too.
becky – Yep, if only Warner could be smart like Universal.
hello haha narf – Why thank you. Some things, I get worked up a lot over.
kevin – I remember you mentioning that. I’m hoping they leave the Vimeo’s and Metacafe’s alone. I mean, I’d like them to patch things up properly with YouTube, but I don’t want them going after everyone else in the process. If that happens, I’ll have to really think outside the box on my videos.
I actually had a long discussion with someone in the industry about this very topic. He likened it to the way the music industry reacted to online music via Napster and how it eventually evolved into iTunes. UMG learned the lessons, but it seems Warner has ignored its history.
For videos, I would check out Tubemogul.com. They allow you to upload to a bunch of sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Yahoo, and Viddler with just one upload to their site. This way if one service edits or drops the video, chances are it will still be up on the others.
While I agree that this action by WMG is against their own best interest, I think it is worth noting that the real problem here is the safe harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This provision forces sites like YouTube to “promptly take down content if someone alleges it infringes their copyrights”. There is no protection against this and the service provider (YouTube) has no choice if they want to maintain their “Safe Harbor” status.
You actually have the ability to dispute the violation, though your likelihood of succeeding is questionable. Take a look at the example script at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_Copyright_Infringement_Liability_Limitation_Act (which is where the quote above comes from, also) for the exact procedure for filing a counter-notice, but it basically consists of claiming, under penalty of perjury, that you have a good faith belief that the material should not have been removed. If the copyright owner doesn’t choose seek a restraining order against you within 14 days, then the service provider is required to restore the material.
The real trouble for your situation is how vague “Fair Use” is, so we’re never really sure if each individual video qualifies.
nycwd – Hey Dawg, welcome to the blog. Your discussion with an industry person is exactly the story I had heard some time ago. I think most of Warner’s stubborn ways is due to Mr Bronfman running the place. But that’s just my personal assumption. I will have to go check out Tubemogul.com. And you reminded me of the site you use for your videos, Viddler.com
ren – Thanks for your details on this. The DMCA has some broad clauses in it that really don’t offer much in the way of “Fair Use” protection for those of us that are simply doing this for free.
I knew about some of methods for filing a dispute. It’s a process I wouldn’t mind going through at some point, just to see how it works and if I’m successful, but for the few videos that they’ve tagged, in what the Wiki talks about the entire process, that’s a lot to go through. WMG has a link on their site (http://www.wmg.com/faqs/#8a0af8120e11a13f010e5c0b5cb34773) with a phone number to call them in an attempt to obtain a license for your “work”. They also offer onestoptrax.com, a site that had pre-approved music (for a price, of course). You are correct in the vague state “Fair Use” is in. It’s a crap shoot for us fun video producers.
I just had a song muted on most recent youtube video and stumbled upon this blog trying to find out why. I was very surprised to read about what WGM is doing. I always felt that when I used a song as a background for a personal video that I was doing the copyright owner a favor because they were getting free promotion. I always felt that if I were not using the videos I produced to make money and that my videos were positive videos that would attract an audience, that it would be no different then someone hearing the song on the radio. The possibility exist that the person watching the video might like the song and then go and buy it. I guess I kind of thought about it like wearing Tommy Hilfiger clothing; manufacturers have to pay to use the Tommy Hilfiger name, but consumers can wear the clothes out in public all they want, there by using their bodies as advertising stands. I guess I am having a hard time seeing the difference between wearing name brand clothing out in public and using a song in a personal video. Both result in free advertising for the copyright owner.
Great article. I’ve just started publishing to youtube, and have been at least peripherally aware that having songs in my videos might be legally tedious. But how is it that you were able to list the songs that were in your videos with a link to purchase them? I can’t find anyway to do that, and I’d really like to!
victor – Welcome to the blog and sorry for not responding to this sooner. Guess this post is getting more attention lately. I agree with you 100%. Why not let people use the music is a video. I know there’s been more people that have purchased the music from Universal artists because there’s an ad in the link to the video. And your clothing example is perfect. Free advertising results in more sales.
scott – Thank you and welcome to the blog. As for how to get the link to purchase the song, Universal adds it automatically. You can also add a caption or link to your video, pointing the viewer to a new location. But for any WMG songs, it’s all in their ball court.
my heart droped when WMG disabled 2 of my top videos on youtube. ;( sure i can upload the videos again but it’s not the same anymore…. all the views and comments that people leave just goes away, and it takes time to bluid it up again, it’s like trying to grow your hair out, and you finally have it how you want, and WMG just cuts your hair and it all falls to the ground in a matter of seconds when it took you years to grow it out, I DON’T SUPPORT WMG….. not one bit………….. they have caused me some unnessary stress………………
Yeah, just found the link to this blog from Winter’s latest and wow… I love the way you presented everything.
Very nicely done… only wish that those who needed to see it would actually pay attention.
Ah well, utopia is a state of mind… or something.
paris lo – Welcome to the blog. And you make a very good point (with an equally great analogy) about losing the views and comments… all because WMG doesn’t care to let you promote “their” music for free.
kathy k – Thanks Kathy. And welcome from Winter’s part of the blogosphere.
i tried to youtubeloop a song of RBF “another day of paradise” to my surprise WMG FUCKING DELETED IT FROM YOUTUBE MAKINGG YOU HAVE TO WATCH THE GOD DAMNED SONG WITHOUT YOUTUBE LOOPING, this dint only just apply to one video: WMG was a greedy, illuminadi based, fucking rapist scamming, gambling peices of shit, they even said things were copyrighted when the user held NO price accountable and the video was for the FUCKING HELL OF IT, an example is kingdom hearts hell episode (your favorite episode numbers 6 through 10 here), or a Gmod video, or a FUCKING FLASH PARODY OR GAMING PARODY THAT COULD OF BEEN VERY FUNNY HADNT WMG’S COMMUNIST NAZI RUN FUCKTARDED BUNCH OF ASSHOLES hadnt shown up, they say they own mucisc when they just made the company, they dont actually legaly own all that shit! lets hope the WMG buildings and co. move on to a shittier life style for us to blow the fuck up as a symbol for them to case the fuck off, lets see how they like having their videos fucking muted for once shall we?! these are the reasons that sopa and pipa are being backed up by ACTA (of all things that are unoriginal it had to be FUCKING ACTA by american government) is becuase of idiots claiming every liable source is copyright: if you herd something ingame made by a WMG artist would you have the right to ban it? FUCKING NO AND NO AGAIN! BECUASE IT WASNT AUDIOSWAPPED BY THE USERS! who holds that WMG should be fucked over, bent down, arrested, beaten up, thrown in POW cells, and trashed off to the nearest shit lord factory?! WMG was full of dumbasses whod do nothing more than eleimate competition by muting videos: they are a plague that would have the same intentions of the illumanadi if the illuminadi existed: goodbye mother fuckers (directed to WMG, hopefully they cant mute audio on text by breaking some stupid wall in physics, though they’ll find a way) oh did i mention this before? VIDEOS THAT HAD INGAME MUSIC PLAYING, AND VIDEOS THAT USED AUDIOSWAPS JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT GOT THEIR AUDIO FUCKED IN THE ASS FOR NO GOD DAMN REASON WHATSOEVER.