Showing posts with label Legal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Legal. Show all posts

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Changes at Danosong and Fighting DCMA Notices

Coming up from vacation mode with a sad notice of change. One of the two places I visit for podsafe music is Danosongs. It appears that folks can't directly download music anymore for their videos. You still can listen to his music or pay a donation fee for a track.  More on that later.

There are a number of mouth breathers, attorneys and low knuckle dragging beasts that are using the DCMA act to make false claims of copyright infringement; even though Dan O'Conner granted Creative Commons use of his music with attribution.

Yes, there are people out in the wild that for kicks that will put in false DCMA requests.  Reasons:
  • Kill or slow down the competition
  • Don't like the content and use the DCMA to act as their own personal censor
  • ContentID Match Software bots that don't understand about multiple users selecting the same Creative Commons song.
  • Slime buckets attorneys and the software that loves them that ain't got nothing better to do than to file false DCMAs.

Dan was getting pelted with people coming back to him because YouTube yanked their videos.  There are only some many hours in the day and no one wants to spend 23 hours trying to convince YouTube that your clients obtained the music legally.

You can check out Dan's FAQ page on what to do if you have downloaded prior versions of his tunes or still want to use some of his new work. 

So, what do you do if you get a false DCMA notice?

Like I have been telling folks; make sure you have a copy of the page of the website where you got your music. You can make a PDF of it or place a paper copy in a binder. You want to be able to prove that you are not in violation.

You will want to go to the EFF page specifically on YouTube take down notices.

This might help but it may not. YouTube has gotten cozy with Universal music so if you song sound remotely like one of their tunes you might have issues. Even if it is clear Fair Use you might have issues.

Also check out article on YouTube Refuses to Honor DCMA Counter Notices

And you'll want to read VideoInk's article from two entertainment attorneys on how to fight a false DCMA notice

In the meantime; those of us that need affordable music can make use of YouTube own audio library of tunes. I'd lay a dollar to a donut that this will not stop false flagging but it will be interesting to test it out.

You can also hippy hop over to Vimeo's music service where you can buy an affordable track with no muss or fuss. Again, document your sources and do the best you can in the turbulent times.

 Other Posts of Interest

Thursday, May 8, 2014

My Thoughts About Net Neutrality and User Generated Video

Whew! It has been hectic. I had a final project that scraped every brain cell on read alert. It is done. I get a breather for a bit.

A lot of things are going on that will affect user generated content. It is hard to keep up but there are a number of forces that are going to do their best to return things to the prior century mode of communication. Top down. Limited access.

The biggest news is the current handing of Net Neutrality. This the principle that Internet service providers and governments should all data on the Internet should be processed and treated the same.
There should not be companies and businesses that set tolls, extra fees and (it will come) ideological road block to access to content.

This is a video by Vi Hart that will visually explain what the deal is and how we are gonna get screwed. The phone and cable companies are gunning hard to make this happen.

Places like Netflix have already capitulated and paid access improved access fees to Comcast and Verizon. Comcast deliberately slowed down the speeds of Netflix videos to make their point about throttling access.

The hope is that the FCC has a come to Jeebus moment and regulates the Internet as a necessary public utility.

It ain't looking good.

So, what has this got to do with user generated video? Well... the phone and cable based Internet providers are busy capping how much Internet a user can access via their mobile devices and their desktop access.

For example, on my mobile Wi-Fi I pay $35 for unlimited access. If my if my service switches to 4G LTE then I will be required to pay $55 with a cap of 6GB. If I exceed the 6GBs then I have to pay extra.

For the record, I churn about 12-15GB easy. And no, I am not a gamer.

So, some of you say, get cable internet. Right, where I'll pay $60 to start with a 10GB cap.

So if you create web videos and up load them to Vimeo and YouTube that will count against your allotted usage. That is just at the consumer ISP level. What if the phone and cable companies start smiling at Vimeo and YouTube?

If you watched Vi's video you know that they will put the touch on both of those two companies and charge them fees for "taking up too much pipe."

The word I'm looking for is, um ....extortion.

YouTube might decide that it no longer wants to host cat videos or other types of non-income generating content.

Vimeo, who do not have as deep pockets like YouTube might decide to snuggle up to independent commercial content creators who put out a consistent product and churn cash.

So what to do?

You can read the official FCC Open Internet page to get their understanding on the issue. I have to say what is on that page and what was proposed by the FCC in early April 2014 seems a world apart.

You can check out Save the Internet to learn more about it or see if they have some ideas to fight it.

Common Cause has more information and a link to a form letter that can be sent to your federal representatives. 

Whoa. I actually fighting for the right to access cat videos. Strange days indeed.

P.S. Nothing against cat and/or dog videos.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Magix Music Maker - The EULA License Game

Just want to follow up on the entry level/basic version of Magix Music Maker Sountrack Edition. To recap, I purchased the software in order to create my own intros, video tunes and avoid the threat of DCMA and assorted attorneys trolling for dollars.

The software was on sale and it seem to be designed for novice users who wanted to craft their own tunes with the provided music tracks. As is my habit, I do read the End Users License Agreement (EULA) before installing software. That is when I had a WTF moment.

Yes, I could use the provided music tracks in videos. Provided those videos are non-commercial or the music is not used in a commercial (business, money generating) atmosphere.

Hold On - It Says You Can Use For Social Media Use

Yes, you can use the music in videos that appear on YouTube or an audio service like Soundcloud; so long as it is non-commercial. I understand that. But it is up to Magix to determine the use and the context of usage. If they feel you have violated the terms then you will have to deal with them or the attorneys. In Germany.

Technically, Magix did provide links on the web site, teeny tiny links, that spell out the End Users License Agreement.  And there are good people in the Magix multimedia community that are answering this question over and over.

I wish that Magix would put a link or some kind of notice on the sales page to alert potential users about the non-commercial use of this software.

If You Have Not Activated the Software:

Suppose you read the EULA and you decide that you want no part of the software. Stop, uninstall it and contact them within 14 days of purchase to get a refund.

Installation Caution:

If you are about to install the software, be careful. There is an installation window for a product called SimpleCheck

and Toolbar.

I can’t tell you want to do but if you ask me what I did I’d tell you I unchecked those suckers quick, fast and in a hurry.

If You Have Activated the Software:

If you activated (register) the software then you are out of luck on that refund action. All is not lost and you have options.

Magix will want you to register to become a member of the Magix community. This is the only way to get into the Knowledge Base and community assistance to find out what the heck is going on. Or you can keep reading this post.

After Installation Using the Software Only:

There are music loops which are snippets of notes or beats. There are full tracks called soundpools and these are the music elements that is provided with the software.

For a moment, think of the software as if it was a word processing program. You can enter your own music that you compose. You will have no problem so long as you do not use any musical elements provided by Magix.

You can import Creative Commons or Public Domain music (and you are 101% sure it is in the public domain) and use the software to remix and compose tunes. Again, if you don't use any of the provided music you will be fine.

Using the Provided Loops and Soundpools

Here is the thing. Music is rarely free when it comes in contact with a vendor or software provider. Magix has another site called Catooh; it is a music repository where people can buy music, sound effects and soundtracks. There is an artist community that sell their music creations.

Catooh/Magix provides a variety of music licenses depending on the users need. For entry level users that can abide by the non-commercial license you do not have to pay extra.

But if you have a commercial need for music then you can purchase a single track or an all inclusive license. So let's say that you buy an Audio Pro track for 79 cents. You would be good for 3 million web impressions per month or 1 million public presentations. Which is a heck of a lot of conferences or 1 million video viewers.

With the 99 cent track it is unlimited non-commercial use. And no, I see no reason to purchase an entire catalog of music.

So Is It Worth It?

Well, that depends. If you want to have a unique theme or you are creating a special video or series of videos then yes, plunking down 99 cents for an single tune that has an unlimited music license is not a bad deal.

I would not do it for sound effects but for a composition you want to touch up, why not.

That said, there is one more thing. You purchased the license for the music. You can do anything you want except anything that Catooh/Magix deems unlawful, illicit or is used to establish a business identity.

Other Options

You can download a software program like Audacity and then purchase tunes from Magix, Sony or dozens of other music repositories.

You also have the option of diving into the Internet Archive to find music placed in the public domain by musicians. It is a slog but it can be done.

Other Posts of Interest

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Magix Music Maker and EULA Terms of Service

Doing the right thing can be irritating especially when you pay cash money to do the right thing and then find out you might not be able to do the thing at all. I'm not just jumping in and out of vague linguistically hoops.

I want music in my videos.

I don't want to be bothered by the freaking DCMA copyright boogie being. I believe in right livelihood and fair compensation. It happens that I got an e-mail from a software vendor, Magix, stating that I can purchase at a reduce price Video Sound Cleaning Lab 2014 and Music Maker Soundtrack Edition.

I am not a musician but this would give me an opportunity to play with a consumer level music program. My intention would be to mix and match installed soundtracks or public domain tracks into something transformative.

So why have I got my panties in a bunch? This section of the Terms of Service:

The music, video and photo files included with MAGIX products may only be used within the scope of producing personally created works to be used for non-commercial purposes. This also applies to music, video or photo data acquired through or by means of MAGIX products. Commercial use constitutes receipt of financial benefits through direct or indirect use of the files (through sale, licensing, ad banners, etc.)

No, no...what? The name of the program is Music Maker Soundtrack Edition. There is an implication that the music would be used in some kind of audio/video environment.

There is also this thing called social media. There are ads all around most of the social media services that I do not benefit from. (I wish I could make them go away but I do have an understanding that they support the service.)

I don't directly receive financial benefits. But I do benefit by using the services. So, after I stop hyperventilating I need to do some investigating.

License of Property

It should go without saying that I fully understand that I cannot take the tracks from the software program and sell them as my own. There are people in the world that do not understand that they cannot do that. That is wrong. That is theft of product and services. Moving on.

Social Media Use

In the End Users License Agreement it has a specific term about about the the use of the works. Non-commercial. So I can envision that traditional teachers, educators, video hobbyists that have never heard of the Internet can use the music tracks in projects.

Non-commercial YouTubers/Vimeo users can also use the tracks. In the product brochure it states that you can upload to Soundcloud, Facebook and YouTube.

Problem Solved? No.

Because I, someday, might want to create a commercial video. I am not one to turn down flowing cash money.

For example, I post a video about Mookie dancing in the street. I know not to use copyrighted music so I conjure up a tune using the installed musics tracks. I mix, match, slice and dice until I get my song just right.  The world goes crazy about Mookie and I flip the switch and make some profit.

Ah, there is a clause for that:
7. Claim for damages: MAGIX is entitled to proprietary and copyright protection for the licensed software as well as the music and video files. Anyone responsible for any violations against such rights may be sued by MAGIX.

Oh, by the way, The headquarters of this company is in Germany. So who's copyright law would I be subject to?

I have options:
  1. Investigate further to see if there is a additional statements about the use of the music in videos that could be leaning toward commercial use.
  2. Do not install the software and see if I can get my money back.
  3. Use the software but find other music sources to use instead of the ones supplied by Magix
 I'll let you know what I find out.

Other Posts of Interest:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

YouTube Warning Video About Buying Viewers

If you recall back in December 2012 a whole bunch of videos and well known companies got booted off of YouTube for juicing their viewer numbers by unethical means.

Apparently this has not stopped others from not only following in their footsteps but adding the old bait and switch. I have gotten similar emails offering to boost my viewership. No thank you. Like James Brown said, "I'll get it myself."

I think the above video is too simplistic but it gets the message across. Don't do it.

Not only will you stand the chance of getting caught and booted off the Tube but your name and reputation will be less than mud.

Do you really want to get Twitter flamed? Because trash will be talked about your low life attempt to keep me and others from my Whovian fix.

And you know how many Whovians are on the planet?

Not worth the risk.

Other Posts of Interest

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trying to Find the Truth About YouTube Paid Subcriptions

I have got all kinds of places saying is it and it isn't or it is gonna be but not right now. So much for reporters making things clear. Here is the deal; YouTube (and others with a vested interest) are looking for ways to increase the cash extraction process from viewers.

When you have a billion viewers a month and climbing you want to be open to all possibilities.

The Pre-rolls ads are one way to do it. Traditional media companies are creating content specific for YouTube audiences. Outside players are buying and financially supporting some of the upper level content providers.

I like HipHughes History and education video bloggers in general. I would seriously think about supporting the content that I like. There would be no cat videos but plenty of what I consider to be good stuff. If the bulk of the subscription money goes to the content providers and a chunk to YouTube for administrative and service costs I'm okay with that.

Except I can't get it confirmed. What has got some folks itchy is that (without confirmation from Google is a rumor that content creators will be able to have paid subscribers view there content.

Mashable says that the Financial Times says that it there are Beta subscription trails. I can't view the Financial Times site because they have a pay wall and you have to subscribe to have access to limited content.


The Huffington Post story is actually from Reuters the video subscriptions but cites no sources; just

Slashdot say yeah, there gonna do it starting citing a post from IT World who cites the Financial Times.

Which is behind a pay way.

There is not, as of this date and time of this post, an official statement from Google or YouTube blogs. It is doesn't mean that it isn't true or there is a valid reason to question having subcriptions.

But where is the beef in the news stores about the topic?

Cuz I have questions? Like it it gonna be like cable? Of which I do not have or want? Can I pay one time per espisode or is it a monthly subscription? Do I have to buy a set number of channels not to have advertising. How about a better job of allowing me to discover videos that I want to know about.?

Is is going to be reconstituted crap from broadcast channels? What about the corporate content providers? Will they get to set their own price?

Questions without answers at this time.

Other Posts of Interest

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Right To Record Police Officers Re-visited

There is an on-going punchline about the Internet. It goes something like "It must be true, it is on the Internet." Ah, no. Not everything you see and hear on the Internet is true

I'd be a little queasy to have law enforcement cite it as a reason you can't do something. I did not get the memo that Smartphones are now weapons of destruction.

I saw this video on Boing Boing about the San Diego cops that smashed the phone and then the person using the phone to record his ticket.

People, let's go over the rules of the road.

In California there is an expectation of privacy; meaning that you have to have permission of both parties to record. However police officers are exempt and you do have the right to record video of their public behaviors.

On the Federal level we have the right to record police officers. It is indeed a 1st Amendment right. Both the Department of Justice and the U.S. Court of Appeals have repeatedly smacked down attempts by police departments to stop recording their activities.

It does not stop certain officers from trying to stop you from recording. Or saying making ridiculous proclamations or more to the point physical threats to get you to stop.

Safety First!

If you are at a distance from the action and you are in no way interfering with police operations or investigations you are good to go. Be subtle and keep it on the down low until you can upload your content.

If you are in the middle of the action and you notice that the police are a bit revved up you need to record what you can and then leave. Yes, you have the right to record. That will not stop some cop from trying to get your phone or recording media. Even if they have to bust your head to get it.

This is where SocialCam for Android or YouTube Capture App can be handy. Click and upload so that if the police do a grab and smash the content is protected.

Others disagree by saying that you should passcode your phone and not upload content until you leave the situation or your retrieve your device from the cops. 

For more info on recording police officers safely I would suggest reading 7 Rules for Recording Police Officers at

You also want to make time to hang out at Photography is Not A Crime, where you can see what police offers and some ding-a-ling judges around the country are doing with folks that record their activities.

Other Posts of Interest

Friday, April 19, 2013

Musings on Crowdsource Crime Fighting

I have been hesitant to comment on the serious and evolving Boston Marathon Bombing suspect hunt. There has been a lot of misinformation created by mainstream media; specifically the New York Post as well as some users of social media via Twitter.

The content requests from the Boston Police Department and the FBI is just an extension of the old fashion wanted poster.  Except that the community provides the photo or video.

This isn't the first time that law enforcement has asked for photos and videos of a crime scene. But I think we have to just take a moment to understand that not only was the FBI asking for content but folks on their own via other social networks are conducting their own independent investigations.

This is a different space we find ourselves in.

There might be questions we are going to have to ask ourselves. I am thinking about this from a U.S. perspective.

  1. What are my rights and responsibilities to provide that information?
  2. Will I be compelled to testify at the trial to verify that I did indeed take the photo and video?
  3. Can I retain my copyright and insist that I be fairly compensated for non-law enforcement use? This means having broadcast and cable news programs pay for the use of my content. I don't mean to be callous; not everything is for profit and there are instances where you need to show what you got. But if law enforcement turns over that info to broadcast media then that media company, as a business, should compensate the creator of the work. Is that going to happen?
  4. What will we do when it is found out that somebody fudged the photo or /video evidence? Not in malice; maybe the person edited a portion out that they felt was not important.
That is just on the law enforcement side.

What about independent cyber investigations? Or crowdsourced vigilante crime fighting?

I'm thinking of recent incidents where people have been attacked on-line that slipped into off-line behaviors.

What if they have the wrong person?

Yeah. This is going to get increasingly messy.

There is a lot to think about.

Other Posts of Interest

Monday, January 14, 2013

You Should Read the Contract, Seriously

Reading is fundamental, especially if you have intentions of creating web video for profit. Please read the L.A. Weekly story by Tessa Stuart called in print Rage Against the Machinima and on-line as YouTube Stars Strike Back.

It is a tale of gamer video creators signing odious contracts that can claim the rights to their work for life and beyond, no matter the delivery method no or here after devised.

Hell, no.

See, this is why you need history. This is the same stuff that was done to American rural music performers, street kids singing on the corner and film actors under contract with the major movie studios from the 1900s to the early 1960s.

With the amount of money that is starting to flow into web video you'd kind of have to expect this sooner or later. The venturn capitalists are trying to hold hands to the future and those acting as middle people are damn determined to make bank by whatever means necessary.

The sharks are in the water looking for blood. Don't let it be yours.

Other Posts of Interest:

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

YouTube Enforces Viewer Count Takedowns

Over the 2012 holidays hundreds of YouTube users found that their videos have been deleted, their accounts terminated or their viewership hacked to bits or removed.

The most notable is Universal Music Group with a loss of 2 billion viewers and Sony Music/BMG with 850 million views vaporized.


I keep telling people, read and understand the Terms of Service. In this case, you want to work your way to Section 4H:

You agree not to use or launch any automated system, including without limitation, "robots," "spiders," or "offline readers," that accesses the Service in a manner that sends more request messages to the YouTube servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional on-line web browser.

There is more. Also read Section 4J: the service can be terminated at any time.

The Social Blade Bottom 500 as it appeared on January 2, 2013

Dig some of those names on the right side of the list. What is in question is the viewership numbers.  Allegedly, the numbers were inflated using software bots to artificially increase the number of viewers.

I would also factor in paid for clicks from human instigators as well.

The Daily Dot has the full story.  It has been confirmed by YouTube that this is happened and not just to the big boys but rank and file YouTube users as well.

It is the buying and selling of imaginary viewers. It is the dark side of pumping up viewers to ensure that there is the appearance of success and cash money.

You would think that major corporations would know better. The attorneys for those corporations would know better.

Then there is that right and wrong thing. Many people have conceptual problems with the concept. At some of the forums I have read a constant refrain of " is not against the law so what is the problem?"

Let me add another element that this is now a multinational problem. If one script teen in another country can gin up the viewers and make far more money than his family makes in 20 years it is going to be hard to stop that kid.

Or the hundreds of others like him or her that will follow. Or the adults that enable that behavior buy purchasing the viewers or providing the forum to allow them to sell their services.

What If You Are Innocent?

I have no doubt that many folks snagged by YouTube have performed behaviors that warranted attention. I've been P.O.when I click a video for a specific breaking topic video and find out it is some tired C-cup dame trying to respond to a news story to increase her viewer numbers.

I say yank her chain and show here the door.

But there are other people who really did the work and earned legit viewers. Like the tribulation of working your way through a DCMA notice; you almost don't have a way to petition a re-evaluation.

And while you are trying to resolve the situation you may not have a YouTube account. Or your most popular video is trashed. What do you do?

It is not at all clear what is the process of clearing your name and reputation. Or perhaps that you have been a victim of a targeted assault by friends of said script teen.

In the meantime, make sure that your house is in order:
  • Have copies of your videos; which you shouldn't have to tell people but yeah you do.
  • Make a Resource Binder with proof of the content and assets used in your production.
  • Have a blog or web site independent of your web host.
  • Monitor your statistics for unusual activity or growth.
  • Have a back-up video hosting service, although don't assume that you will be automatically welcomed at Vimeo or

Other Posts of Interest

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Education Videos, CPG Grey and His Take on Copyright

In the early days of broadcast American television there was a serious attempt at educational programing. There were TV shows for those trying to get their GED, learn a language and even classical music appreciation.

These programs were stuff into the early morning hours during the week or on Sunday mornings. From what I remember, most were talking heads with a blackboard or lectures with maps.

The intent was sincere but often they were dull as a butter knife. I don't want to disrespect that programing. It was hi-tech at the time. It was an attempt to honor the desire to use television to open education to all people.

That intent lives on; there is a growing wonderful class of Pro/Am Science and History Vloggers and people that creatively use web video to educate. John Green on History, Veritasium on atoms and the stars, Hank Green on Science, Vi Hart on Math, and the subject of this post, CPG Grey.

First, let us have a taste of what CPG Grey does with a concept or historical topic. This is his take on the origin of U.S. copyright and the long distance consequences extending the protection period.

The bashful Mr. Grey (he does not appear or wished to be seen in public) uses stick drawings, public domain images, graphics and text to convey historical information about the UK and the U.S.

I wasn't going to pass up a good explanation of  the beginnings of U.S. copyright law but last night I fell into his blog and started watching his videos.

How does he do this? Did he get the fact right? Is there a good balance of information and presentation? For the most part, heck yeah.

Because 15 hours later I still remember a convoluted process how to get elected the mayor of the City of London which is not the same as London, UK.

That is the thing. Will your audience remember what you were trying to convey long after they watched the video?

Much to do, so very much to do.

Other Posts of Interest

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Japan and Copyright Math with Rob Reid via TED

Japan has just put into law the most restrictive law concerning copyright and downloading from the Internet. Two years in prison and a $25,000+ fine. Uploading is even worse and it might be a Japanese ISPs are also getting the squeeze or shakedown.

Now it has been said that some of the lawyers and known agents of myopic copyright thinking were buzzing into the Japanese legislators air space. They told of the number of monies lost and the people who would not be employed.

The lobbyists and attorneys got to talking. Money and contributions changed hands. And this is how you get a draconian law that goes way beyond what is necessary.

What could constituent downloading? Watching certain YouTube videos? The act of even watching YouTube? If a copyright holder objects and they trace it back to the Japanese viewer well...

Anyway, if you think this has nothing to do with you I invite you to watch this humorous video from Rob Reid.  The video pokes a hole in the allege monetary suffering the poor old RIAA and MPAA have kinda, sorta experienced from all of this free expression, recycled viewing of old media  and re-use of content.

For the record, I do support right livelihood and the right to protect your property. That is a given. Using amped up laws that will result in some granny going to prison because their grandchild watched a Gangam video on their computer or tablet? It is gonna be ugly.

Y'all need to think about the long distance implications.

Related Posts of Interest 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

El Monte Fires 14 Lifeguards for Gangnam Parody Video

Talk about you buzz kill and not understanding the long view. A group of El Monte Lifeguards did a parody video of a popular song. They got fired. This video is the reason why they are unemployed:

Here is the background story from their Facebook page:
All footage was recorded off the clock during breaks and free time. The city manager OFFICIALLY fired us for using the facility for private use and wearing uniforms in public while off-duty. Afterwards we were UNOFFICIALLY told that our music video was both "disgusting" and an "embarrassment to the city of El Monte."
Now, granted. your local city government made up of a percentage of crusted up fuddy duddies are not going to like scenes that involve pelvic thrusting. In city swimsuits. On city property.

I think the dude in the elevator must have had someone in HR fanning themselves in horror or something.

The city could have seen it as a group of folks promoting the city of El Monte. Or that their employees had organized and produced a video that the public enjoyed and other folks in El Monte might have wanted to watch too. A citizen experience. I don't know if the city knows this but some people like looking at lifeguards in red swim suites.

Why there was even a television show about just that same thing.

Look, I understand the city has an issue with it. There are city lawyers that could have said something to help put the 14 on the road to other employment options.

But basically the lifeguards were just dancing and having fun. It was not "obscene." It was a group of folks sharing in the Gagnam Style. Cite them. Warn them not to do it again but I do think the firing was a bit extreme.

The problem, the lifeguards were under "At Will" employment. That means that the city can fire you for any reason and not have to think twice about it.

So if you create a parody video on your companies equipment, clothing or property you might want to think twice about. If you are in the city of El Monte, CA where folks go some place else to have fun then be on the look out for buzz kill force.

The Takeway:

Be very aware of where you are recording your video. Know your rights and responsibilities. And if on the job, clearly understand the potential risks.

Related Posts

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Copyright Bots are Here

For those that do not know, software programs called a "bot" are designed to seek and remove what they believe to be unauthorized use of copyrighted material. You don't even get the courtesy of a DCMA notice. The video is removed.

Copyright bots are spreading across all of the video web hosting sites and streaming channels.  That flipping YouTube ContentID is in full effect. There are other companies creating equally noxious programs.

The past few weeks have focused attention on some of the more public goofs of the bots. 
  • On YouTube the blocking of Michelle Obama speech on the official Barack Obama YT channel.  This meant that those missed it or watch it after the fact couldn't.  
  • Wired magazine has a write up about the the Hugo Awards the speech of Neil Gaiman was removed when pre-cleared, permission content from the BBC's Doctor Who appeared on the screen. The copyright bot did not care, off it went and the stream could not be re-started. At all. The Slate also has the details.
  • NASA is a government agency. Photos and videos produced by said agency for the benefit of the American people are instantly in the public domain.  If you wanted to see the Control Room video after the event you could not because Scripps Local News Service had a copyright claim on the video. You can read more of that story at
For those of you resistant to reading, this is a video from Mashable's Lauren Gores about what happened.

If you go into the comments of that Mashable story you are going to see one from a woman that represents singer James Taylor and other performers/clients. That man is getting flagged for performing his own work.

What has this got to do with you and me?


Lets say you record an up and coming band at a public concert. So do 100 other people. The band doesn't mind, it gives them exposure to new audiences for free. Everybody is cool and copacetic with the synergy.

Except the copyright bots.

You are creating commentary on a social topic. You use an example from a current news or television show. 25 seconds tops to make your point. You can prove straight up that your work clearly comes in as intended under Fair Use.

Not to the copyright bots.

The copyright bots could not distinguish the difference between a NASA event and a television news re-use of that same video. Commercial interests were allowed to take priority over the legal creators of the content.

Doesn't anybody have a problem with this? I do. Scripps Local News Service are not the rightful owners.

Now here is the chilling effect. You never know when those suckers are going to hit. When they do you have to actively prove that you are the legal copyright holder.

You have to prove that you have the right to use your own content.  Or that you are justified in using copyrighted content in certain situation.

I've seen videos where teachers have assigned To Kill A Mockingbird to students and asked them to come up with a video critique of an aspect of the movie.

It will not mean a damn thing to the copyright bots.

The shady folks that the copyright bots where intended to stop? They have already figured out a way around them.

My point is don't allow the copyright bots to stop what you are doing; especially if you are doing social commentary or documentary work.  Be aware that it might become an issue.  The road of free speech and expression just got a little rougher.

I was reading some of the comments at Slashdot about the NASA video. They have some words about it. I don't think removing lawyers from the planet is a good solution. Not even if they are from the RIAA/MPAA.

We as a people are giving up way too much control to non-human entities. I read science fiction. It is never a good thing.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Protect Yourself - Make A Resource Binder

There is a good post by Roni Loren on BlogHer about the dangers of using copyrighted materials. Ignorance is no excuse under the law. Roni's post is about photography in blogs but it applied to video folks as well. 

It isn’t even that you intentionally did something wrong. With the new software algorithms that are now being used by YouTube and other video web hosting sites, you might be flagged as having music that appears in multiple videos.

Being able to quickly prove that you have the right to use the music or video in question can help to get your video restored a bit faster. If you use another person’s work without their permission you can be in lawyer involved trouble. 

For this post, I wanted to find a public domain image of a binder. What appears is royalty free stock photos and trademarked images that require permission. I can’t use a photo of the cover if there is a design element on it.

It is trademarked protected. Think of the Nike Swish which cannot be used without permission of Nike. Same concept.


Example of A Terms of Service page at Texture King

One way to avoid those problems is to make sure you can document where you obtained the photo, video or music used in your project.

What You Will Need
It doesn’t matter if it is an old school 3 ring notebook or a file on your system. You will want to have some method of demonstrating where you obtained the content and the Terms of Service (TOS).

Here is what you need:

A copy of the web page where you obtained the content with the date you accessed it.
A copy of the site's Terms of Service page that specifically gives you permission to use the material for
  • Attribution
  • Creative Commons Attribution
  • Non-Commercial Use
  • Commercial Use
  • Public Domain
A note page where you list all of the sources of content that appear in your video. 

If your can't find the TOS or license of the content I would not download or use that material. Be aware that there are users that steal other people's content, modify it and claim public domain. It doesn't work that way.

I also would be cautious of sites that have URL/web addresses that have public domain music or public domain photo multiple times in different domains. There could be skeezy activities in that neck of the Internet.

Protect Yourself

If you are creating business videos you have to do this. It might be far safer for business vloggers to purchased content at quality royalty-free sites.

If you are doing news/documentary you have to be aware of your surroundings and what is being heard in the background.

Demo and resource vloggers also need to be conscious of materials used but you might have more of a Fair Use leeway if you are reviewing or evaluating a product or service. 

Goofing around with the camcorder and you make your own music, you are free to do as you please.

If you are unclear about Copyright, Creative Commons, Fair Use and Public Domain you are putting yourself at risk. I wish it were easier. We in the U.S. have had corporations influence and muck up the traditional terms of copyright.

Until things are sorted out we have to abide by the current rules.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Placing A Copyright Notice in Your Video Part 2

To me, the keyboard is faster but I know some of you want more visual options. Another way to add a symbol is to use the Character Map (Windows) or Character Viewer (MacOS). I’m on a PC so that what I’m going to show you how to find and open the program.

To open the Character Map in Windows XP
  1. Start Menu
  2. Programs
  3. Accessories
  4. Character Map
  5. Click on the character you wish to copy, then hit "Copy".
  6. Paste into the title generator.

In Windows Vista
  1. Start Menu
  2. In the Search Box at the bottom type Character Map and press Enter
  3. The Character Map will appear on the screen.
  4. Click on the character you wish to copy, then hit "Copy".
  5. Paste into the title generator.
 Again, some of the title generators in video editing programs might not let you copy and paste, it depends on the program. For finicky video editing programs it has to be an absolute text file.

Here Is Where A Text Editor Can Help

The next thing you can do is to use a text editor to strip out any code and then paste it into the title generator. On Windows that would be Notepad. On the Mac OS that would be TextEdit included in the OS or the free version of TextWrangler.

Not a word processor. Nope. No can do, there are hidden codes that can gunk up the copy and paste process. 

Here is what you do:

  1. Type the code for your symbol in the text editor to get the symbol
  2. Copy that symbol
  3. Swing over to your video editing title generator
  4. Paste the text. Your symbol should appear.
This should work. Not promising but there is a good chance you will have your symbol in your title. Plus, you will be able to apply any formatting or customization that you want.

Alternatives and Resources 

If this doesn’t work then you might want to think about using a copyright image as a substitute. You can roll your own by using a image program like Irfanview or in your preferred image editing software. That is coming up in part three.

If you need a different symbols I would take a look at the Alt Codes and Special Characters page at the Teaching and Technology site of Penn State. There is also a section for those typing with International keyboards or needing International symbols.

Related Posts

Placing A Copyright Notice in Your Video Part 1

In this age of voluntary and involuntary sharing of videos it might be a good idea to add a notification indicating what the status of the video is and who own the video.

It isn't hard, just a few numbers to have on a scrap of paper nearby. For the record, I am using a U.S. keyboard. Those of you on the other side of the creek have different keyboards, methods or codes. The concept is the same but you might have to adapt them to your local needs.

 Format of the Copyright Notice

In the U.S. you don't have to apply the copyright notice. Your work is protected at the point it is fixed in its final form.  But some folks are hard headed and need a reminder that the video belongs to the creator of the video and not to them.

The correct format is the symbol + the year of first publication + the name of the copyright holder.

That works out to be: © 2012 Jayne Doe

There is not one way to do this. You can add the notice at the beginning of a video, in the credits or slap it at the end. If you want it to be a lower third that runs thought the video you can do that too.

Old School Method

This is old school as in how the ancestors did it in the age of manual and electric typewriters. There was no dedicated copyright key. It was typed as bracing parentheses and the letter "c" as in (c).

There is a better way.

The Keyboard Entry Method

I’m a little concerned about the Mac version because I have conflicting info about the keystrokes. 

  • Copyright - press and hold the Option key then letter "g" to generated ©
  • Registered Trademark - press and hold the Option key then letter "r" to generate ®
  • Trademark -  press and hold the Option key then press the letter "t" to generate ™
It seems that some of you Mac folks can use the Alt key as well. If you can make heads or tails on this Apple OS X instructions on how to add symbols more power to you.

  • Copyright - press the Alt key and 0169 then release to generate ©
  • Registered - press the Alt key and 0174 then release to generate ®
  • Trademark - press the Alt key and 0153 then release to generate ™ 

You can copy the code and then insert it into you title generator. Or can you? Sometimes you can't and that is why there is a part two.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Checking Out EZVid Movie Editing Software - Part 1

This shopping has me exhausted. I need to take a curiosity break. Spotted EZ Vid in the wild and I'm taking a look under the hood.  This software is designed for novice or casual users who want a quick way to create slideshow or photo/video movies.

It has some quirks but it does seem to do what they say it can do. This is a tutorial video from the vendor.

I have some concerns like I can't find a complete breakdown on what you can and can't does with the software. Now they do have a more information page.  They are forth coming with what the product is and what you can do.

Let me try to show you what I am getting at:

Supported Computers: Unknown, it seems if the software will run under Windows XP then it should be functional with Pentium level computers. I would think that having a Dual Core computer and above would be the proper level for operation.

Supported Operating System: Windows XP Service Pack 3, Vista, Windows 7

Memory Requirements: 1GB of RAM

Hard Drive Space for Operation: 5GB

Supported Video File Types: MOV, WMV some forms of 3GP, maybe MTS (?)

Supported Photo File Types: JPEG, PNG

Supported Audio Types: You cannot import your own music or audio files. The software has a bank of preloaded music from NATOarts that the user can select for their videos.

You can record your own narration through the software and then adjust the music to accompany the voice.

Something else you should know about the music. If you create a video using the music provided you might get a copyright flag notice from sites like YouTube. In the Terms of Service before software installation (Yeah, I actually read the Terms of Service) it states:
16. MONETIZATION ON UGC NETWORKS. Ezvid has licensed the Bundled Audio from NATOarts. Any uploads you make to UGC Networks (e.g. YouTube) may result in an automatic “claim” of the audio portion of your upload by NATOarts. This “claim” will not lead to strike against your account, however, you will be unable to claim and monetize this upload for yourself on the UGC network.
So loosely translated, it is possible that the automatic copyright sniffing robot on YouTube will detect that there is another video with this exact same music. You might get a notice from YouTube or the audio might get blanked out or something. Or nothing.

Wait, Monetization?

Not so fast. Also in the Terms of Service is the statement that you can't use this software for commercial purposes. And if an ad appears overlaying your video my understanding is that you don't get to profit because you used the software and/or the music that you had no choice in using in the first placed.

You own your own content. They own the software and NATOarts owns the music. I said it once and I'll say it again, free is not always free.

Didn't I mention that this is free software? Oops. Yep, it is.

More Questions

One more bothersome item. I don't like it when I can't contact a vendor other than an email form.
Gives me the willies. There is no alternative contact other than the forums, which do seem active and EZvid is currently responsive to questions..

From the Terms of Service I gather that it is a Los Angeles, California company.  If there is a legal problem or concern you might have to venture to the City of Angels to resolve it.

Another item is a line in the Terms of Service about Affiliates. What kind of affiliates are we talking here? NATOarts? Folks on commission pushing the software for side money?

I don't know.

Last question is about Google Analytics.
24. ANONYMOUS USAGE REPORTING.  Portions of this software use Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. (“Google”).  Google Analytics uses occasional HTTP requests, which are small packets of data sent from your computer to Google, to analyze how users use the Software. The information generated by the HTTP request will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers. Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of the Software and compiling reports on software activity for Ezvid.  Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google's behalf. Google will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google.
Now if you are a Google user you know full well Google is tracking your data for their own monitization goals.

I can understand a company wanting to know how users are doing with their software. What has me itchy is how many hands are in the soup. It could be EZvid, Google, law enforcement, RIAA, MPAA and who knows with the laws folks are trying to enact in Congress.

I ain't feeling the warm fuzzies about this. But I won't be using this computer too much longer so I am going to give it a go.

I should say that I have MalewareBytes and other antispyware detection. I didn't have any alerts so I'm going to give it a shakedown.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Checking Out Everything Is A Remix

So yes, creators do need to be compensated. No question. Not even worth a good debate about it. But think for a moment about the concepts of community, socialization and heritage. Our collective histories are build on the remembering and sharing of what came before.

Happy Birthday isn't just a song, it was adopted as a cultural meme to focus attention on the one person in the room that has reached another year or milestone. My Girl isn't just a song by The Temptations to me, it is a cultural marker of the music, the attitudes and my world circa the 1960s.

It is on of my favorite songs. Possessive noun. Dr. Who, fishnet pantyhose,bleaching cremes, She-Hulk all have a life beyond their intended purpose. And if I wanted to create a video commenting on politics today using the aforementioned content I have the right to do so.

For now anyway before it gets stripped from my hands.  There is a good non-skeezy reasons for folks using other people's content. One of those reasons is called inspiration.

Kirby Ferguson has a web site called Everything is A Remix. The site supports his web series exploring the how and why we use copyrighted and historical content. I have a smaller version of the first video. You should go to his site where you can see it in full size glory.

There are ways to do this correctly. Most of use are trying to figure that out. The music and entertainment industry is vigorously trying to keep folks on lock down. There is stuff coming down the pike that could potentially criminalize people linking to copyrighted content.

Don't think that one is gonna get too far. There is no prison big enough to hold every single user on the Internet. 

In addition to the web series on Kirby's site there are other public and commercial examples of remix culture and creative channeling. You will be surprised on just how much content is used over and over again in homage, idea modification and bending content to fit a new time and place.

Other Resources

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Look At Copyright Video from YouTube

There are strong feelings about copyright and fair use. I appreciate the problems we face in trying to record our world and share what we want others to know about.

I've been on both sides of the issue. I've had my content appropriated for commercial purposes. This was way back in the day but basically a site in Spain picked up my RSS feed and wrapped my video with ads around it. Even though I had stated on a title card in the video that my work was created for non-commercial use.

I've also wanted to share and have shared clips from television shows, commercials, and cultural artifacts that I have found on YouTube.

If I share a clip of actor James Mason in a commercial selling Thunderbird from the early 1960s am I really harming the brand of said wine maker? Or appropriating the works of the advertising agency? How about Mr. Mason's reputation?

(Damn fine actor by the way. Don't judge him on the commercial; we all need a little side money from time to time.)

There needs to be some latitude that makes re-purposing content easier and fair for both sides.

I say this to let you know that YouTube is stepping up their copyright education efforts. This is a video created by them to educate folks about what you now can and can't do on YouTube.

I have a disagreement about a portion of the video. If a band is performing in public, say at a city event, and you want to record and upload the video I see no problem with recording if there is no clearly stated prohibition. In fact,  many up and coming bands encourage that kind of user generated video creation.

That is much different than paying cash money to go into a performance knowing there are signs on the wall and on your ticket that specifically state you can't record.  Not the same things at all.

The video doesn't make that distinction clear. Also the way they handled Fair Use was not that helpful. It is a tough concept to explain. The video didn't explain it; it was stated as quickly as possible.

Judging from the responses to the video not a lot of folks seem to agree with the video but that is okay. Take a look at it, do your own research and do the best you can.

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