Sunday, July 20, 2008

Okay, Universal, now you're going after KIDS? Not cool!

I got an interesting text message from my 13-year old brother back home in Nebraska this morning.

"Hey what does a copyright claim mean?  I got an email about a video on YouTube I just put up."

I shot up in bed, my mind shooting in so many different directions.  I thought I knew instantly what was going on.  I told him to forward me the email so I could see for myself.  As I sat down at my computer with my bowl of Cocoa Pebbles™ (gotta be mindful in this blog post ;) ), I was hit with a surprise.  The video in question was not his Halo video I had assumed (you know, what with it's copyrighted music AND video content), but instead his video entitled "Middle School 2007-2008," a slideshow of pictures taken by him at his school this past year.

Obviously I knew then that this was a music issue.  But as I read the email, I understood that the video was not being taken down, nor was my brother being asked to do so.  Turns out Universal was simply claiming ownership of the music and making YouTube place ads on the watch page, and YouTube was in turn notifying my brother that this was happening.  Okay, fine, I'll let you live today, Universal.  I have Safari Ad Blocker, ha! :P

But this made me think about something I hadn't really thought about before.  I realized that a good chunk of the people uploading all this copyrighted content on YouTube are probably young kids like my brother who know how to use the technology, but know nothing about copyright laws.  I don't even consider myself an expert on it, I just know the way it works is...well, it doesn't work.

But are these companies really going to go out of their way to chase down every person who has posted some sort of copyrighted content somewhere without their permission?  Because if they are I imagine they'll spend a lot of time in Juvenile Court.  And of course the whole thing is just ridiculous anyway, as we all know.

Dear Universal,

My brother was making a damn slideshow about his school.  He didn't sell anything.  He didn't claim to have written the songs, he even gave credit, which you would have noticed had you WATCHED the video and not relied upon an "audio matching system" to find it in the first place.  You are greedy and stupid.  Please go away.

Hope you're enjoying your Zune money,

There, that should be rather effective, right?  Yeah yeah, I know giving credit does not grant one permission, but did my 13-year old brother know that?  Hell no!  Do other 13-year olds know that?  Hell no!  Do they still know how to use the technology and put this stuff on the interwebs?  Hell yeah!  Will they continue to do it?  Of course!

I think kids like my brother have been around copyright-infringing content far too long.  They aren't going to grow up and "see the light" and the error of their ways.  I really think he is among the generation that is going to grow up and change the way this stuff works, simply because they haven't been exposed to the status quo long enough to posses any hint of respect for it.  And that makes me one proud brother.  I would love to see young folks like him start to change things, and that starts by going against the grain and making these idiots realize their business model is broken...and making them realize it in the toughest, most embarrassing way possible.  I think they could wage the most hilarious revolution in history :P 


Kyle said...

love it. i need to be in california with you right now. damnit all to hell.

*_*Antoine*_* said...

I suppose. YouTube should be an open source to put up homemade stuff like that. The only thing I agree with is when people put whole movies on there or music that has not come out yet. That's a no-no.

Tekstiurakoitsija said...

I enjoyed this article. I'm also songwriter my self so copyright laws are important for me parsonally. Still I think that the Youtube is still a good thing.