So I was talking to a friend about music issues and he shared this video with me from a guitar teacher named Paul Davids. You can watch the video below.
The Gist of the video
If you don’t have time, I’ll sum it up. Paul uses short riffs from rock songs to teach guitar. In one hour, he got 15 (that’s no typo) copyright claims from YouTube. This means that he makes nothing from these videos. Not only is he getting videos copyright claimed for just playing little excerpts of songs, he’s getting copyright claims for even just analysing it or and adding commentary or discussing songs and techniques, which is fair use. Basically all of his videos are claimed and he can’t get any ad money from YouTube.
You can try to appeal the DMCA claim, but how are you going to fight against a big corporation with a dream team of lawyers like Universal, Warner, or Sony? You’re stuck.
He then talks to fellow creator Adam Neely, who creates music lessons in a unique way. Neely recently got a copyright claim for a MIDI version of Beyonce’s song “Single Ladies”.
Even worse news, Paul got a false copyright claim on his own original backing track that he composed himself. So now you don’t own your own work? Turns out that another YouTuber (who claimed the track was theirs) stole his backing track and used it in a video. He kindly wrote them a message instead of making a copyright claim and he tried to chat with the other YouTuber diplomatically. After a blunt message, the other YouTuber took down the song and supposedly erased the copyright claim.
The situation is getting worse and what are the solutions? A fellow creator named Erik suggested this: a vetting system for channels who apply as creators with careful evaluation of their standing with copyright claims. Those who are in good standing can get extra protection from copyright claim abuse. These false claims are basically bullying and intimidation.
Anyone who learns an instrument learns by playing songs listens to songs that have already been published and tries to play them. Eventually, some learners go on to write their own material. All musicians start somewhere. Adam Neely said that this is like telling film school professors that they can’t show movies in class to demonstrate concepts and create context, and that they can’t even try to recreate any of it themselves. How can you learn how to make films if you don’t know what a film is?
Paul leaves the video encouraging viewers to share the video and have a conversation. Make YouTube notice this discussion on this issue.
Why is this a problem?
This means that guitar teachers and so many other creatives can no longer make money on YouTube. If you are a YouTube Partner, you have ads placed on your videos and that’s how you make money. Since the Adpocalypse of 2017, ad revenue has plummeted for a lot of people. With that being a lot of creators’ source of income, people are in hot water. What are they going to do? Bills, rent, mortgages, staff, etc need to be paid.
Commentary on copyrighted works like music or movies adds to it and this makes it a free speech issue. People should be free to talk about and discuss music, movies, art, whatever. That’s how we learn. Discussions, remixes, mashups, and covers are often how people discover songs, art, TV shows, and movies that they might not otherwise have known about. Isn’t that a good thing? Using short clips is free advertisement. Someone might buy the album, see the movie in the cinema, buy concert tickets, or buy merch because they like a work so much.
Fair use is a doctrine in American (which is where YouTube is from) law that allows creators to use bits of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright owner. For things like commentary, criticism, education, news reporting, scholarly purposes, and parody. Imagine if you’re a guitar teacher and you can’t play a clip of a song. How are you going to teach guitar? Imagine you’re watching Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and they can’t show clips or audio for context, so you’re going to be very confused.
The question is if the music publishers/record labels are taking all the ad money, where does it go? To the musicians? Doubtful. Try the executives’ pockets.
It’s important to speak up, even if you’re not the one affected by it, because who knows, your YouTube channel might be next. It’s an instance of “First they came for…”
Does this mean no more response videos? No more news commentary? No more mashups? No more anime abridged series? No more let’s plays? No more drama/tea videos? No more memes? Hi Article 13! I see you.
Adam Neely said it well, if you suppress the classic rock songs and don’t allow any discussion or covers, will people know about them and have an appreciation for them in 50 years, when these songs are now a century old? These songs are timeless and shouldn’t be forgotten.
Shout out to my good friend and Topaz level Patron, Patrick.
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