The “Fair Use Massacre” (updated)
First, this vintage LOC item:
Fair use has always been at risk on YouTube, thanks to abusive DMCA takedown notices sent by copyright owners (sometimes carelessly, sometimes not). But in the past several weeks, two things have made things much worse for those who want to sing a song, post an a capella tribute, or set machinima to music.
First, it appears that more and more copyright owners are using YouTube’s automated copyright filtering system (known as the Content ID system), which tests all videos looking for a “match” with “fingerprints” provided by copyright owners.
Second, thanks to a recent spat between YouTube and Warner Music Group, YouTube’s Content ID tool is now being used to censor lots and lots of videos (previously, Warner just silently shared in the advertising revenue for the videos that included a “match” to its music).
This is a somewhat unexpected twist in the copyright crackup. Far from slowing the crackup down, this action by Google in the service of the barons of copyright is a harbinger of the End Days.
And not just for copyright. Google’s old (as in five years ago) image as the funky un-company, the Apple of the Internet, is pretty much history. It has quickly become, instead, Microsoft.
That’s not good for Google. And while, like Microsoft, Google isn’t going anywhere too fast, it’s also, like Gatesland, pretty clearly on the wrong side of history.
Now, the very-today update from Mike Masnick:
In the past couple of days I’ve received emails from two separate people who found that public domain material they put on YouTube was taken down to companies claiming ownership of the work. In both cases, the stories seem pretty ridiculous, and for all the complaining that copyright holders do about how awful it is that they need to “police” their own content on YouTube, it seems like those who are getting hurt are people who are putting up public domain material and getting shut down — often with little recourse. . . .
You’ve got to read the whole thing, which is a mess, but which Mike is all over. It’s truly getting ridiculous out there, however — this is the promised big copyright crackup, all right.