The other day when I watched a fun YouTube video I felt that urgency when you realise you should ‘catch’ something before it disappears.
It was a harmless video of a wedding group’s entrance into a church. The ‘problem’ was the participants were dancing to a commercial soundtrack.
It wasn’t a piece of music I was familiar with, but obviously it was a published, commercial track. I had the spine-tingling sense that at any moment the rights holders would demand the video be taken down on account of copyright breach.
After all, if videos showing 13 month olds dancing to music on the radio 1 can be forced off-line, then surely this one was headed for the same fate.
Apparently though, the rights holders recognised the potential and decided to ride the wave of popularity, rather than trying to turn back the tide. They realised they could turn this popular video into a money-maker:
… a shift in how copyright owners can interact with unlicensed content users. After being uploaded to YouTube only 12 days ago, an elaborate wedding dance routine to Chris Brown’s, “Forever” has already garnered more than 12 million views. And according to the YouTube blog, rather than blocking usage of their unlicensed property, Sony instead used Google’s tracking tools to monetize.
… They added a simple pop-up overlay that offers users a chance to purchase the song from iTunes or Amazon. According to YouTube, in the last week, the year-old song has risen to #4 on the iTunes charts and #3 on Amazon.
What a triumph of good sense! I hope other rights holders see this as a model of how they can work with fans, rather than opposing them.
In August 2008, a U.S. court ruled that copyright holders cannot order the removal of an online file without first determining whether the posting reflected fair use of the material. The case involved Stephanie Lenz from Gallitzin, Pennsylvania, who had made a home video of her 13-month-old son dancing to Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” and posted the 29-second video on YouTube.