This morning, there was a nice surprise waiting for me in my inbox: apparently Dragons Dream infringes “La Red”‘s copyright.
Bullshit. My video does not infringe on anything. It is a pure mashup of Elephants Dream and Sintel. No other music, sounds or visuals were used. Yet, they claim that the visuals belong to La Red (whatever/whoever that is)… Are they also going to flag Sintel as infringing copyright now?
I’m pretty sure I set the “license” for that video to Creative Commons to begin with. In the settings now, it’s been set to the “Standard YouTube license” and I can’t change it back to CC, the combobox for it is deactivated.
Oh, but then you just have to dispute that copyright claim, don’t you? Well, it turns out the system is somewhat rigged against mashups and the Creative Commons. When disputing, you are given these choices:
- “I own the CD / DVD or bought the song online. I’m not selling the video or making any money from it” — not accepted as a valid dispute by YouTube
- “I gave credit in the video” — not accepted as a valid dispute by YouTube
- “The video is my original content and I own all of the rights to it” — not actually true
- “I have a license or written permission from the proper rights holder to use this material” — if you think hard enough, this almost sounds like the one I’m looking for. But the rights holder certainly ain’t “La Red” and the “reason for dispute” text falsely asserts “This video uses the copyrighted material at issue, but with the appropriate license or written permission from the copyright owner” (emphasis mine). Generally speaking too, situations where “my video was flagged, but I actually have a written permission from the cartel” never really happen anyway. Not in this world. This is an illusive choice.
- “My use of the content meets the legal requirements for fair use or fair dealing under applicable copyright laws” — that’s not it either: Creative Commons expressedly enables and encourages me to do this, I shouldn’t need to claim “fair use” (which is a super-gray area of copyright anyway)
- “The content is in the public domain or is not eligible for copyright protection” — not actually true. In the case of Dragons Dream, the contents were not “public domain”, they were under a Creative Commons copyleft license.
Then you are asked to sign an oath, with your real name, saying you are absolutely sure about the whole thing, that you’ve got all the necessary rights, that you have not made false statements or a fraudulent dispute, etc.
At this point I’m thinking, “Why am I even bothering with this? I’m fed up with this copywrong chilling effects crap.”
This is not the first time it happens to me. Be it a playthrough of an Ace Combat Zero mission (which I had to take down), my recording of a local choir that a family member is participating in, the Pitivi 0.15 hackfest retrospective, my MMORPG character singing trololo, it keeps happening over and over again. About half (if not all) of my videos are allegedly infringing somebody else’s copyright at any given time. It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of when I’ll receive a notification for one of my videos.
The net effect is that I cannot consider YouTube a creative platform. It’s just way too counterproductive. You know, there are reasons why I’m not publishing there anymore and self-host the talks I present (such as this year’s GUADEC), the demos I make or the films I made with friends (such as this one, which uses music from the public domain or at the very least freely available by the author)…
This is not the only issue I’ve got with YouTube on a philosophical standpoint. They have demonstrated in the past that they are actively hostile to a “read and write” culture and the ideals of a shared/free culture in general, by threatening the Pitivi and Totem projects like so. Those terms haven’t changed since 2010 and I don’t think they ever will.
It’s not like moving my craft to Vimeo or some other site is going to solve the fundamental issue either. We need to make those guys irrelevant. We need decentralization, independence and openness. We must encourage initiatives like Mediagoblin, so please consider contributing to that project (also, I’ll happily accept patches that make Pitivi interoperate with it). I think that to replace YouTube on a technical level, Mediagoblin would be missing a good search feature, ratings and play count statistics (integration with Piwik would be a plus).