As mentioned at the end of my last post, I had used a CD music track in my Tian Xiang video. It didn’t last long, and the copyright holder flagged the music as copyrighted, saying that I could use the track, but couldn’t make any money off it, and they would be entitled to put advertisements on top, ie. they would financially profit of it, if they so chose. Fair enough, they do own the copyright.

So I searched the interwebs for another version of the same prelude by Chopin, and I found one offered under a Common Creative License. As I had done a re-cut of the movie anyway to make it shorter, this new track even had about the correct length. All set, I thought, finalised the newly cut movie version with the new music, and uploaded it to YouTube. It only lasted a few minutes, and someone else had posted a copyright claim for the music track of the new video, and of course not the pianist or his company, but someone referring to some other pianists work, completely unrelated. And the weirdest thing is they didn’t even claim the copyright for the whole track, but only part of it!

I guess YouTube itself, or some publishing houses, have automatic scanning processes running that compare the music tracks of newly uploaded videos to their database, and a few seconds of my legit track must have matched theirs, so they automatically filed their claim. I also assume that comparison isn’t the most precise on purpose, so they can catch more potential infringements, hence the partial match.

Now I am forced to dispute that claim and prove that I am using the music track legally. Of course, YouTube keeps out of all this, just forwarding my dispute to the claimant, that is, leaving it to the latter and me to fight this out. I filed the dispute, and will see what happens. I don’t intend to go far with it, of course, in case this turns out hairy.

It’s infuriating that anyone can simply file such a false copyright claim. I have heard of people making their living with their own videos on YouTube who went through this battle. Even if they were successful at the end, for the duration of the legal fight they could not financially profit of their work. YouTube is free service (owned my Google) and widely used, so I guess the copyright holders fight an uphill battle left and right. But the whole process reeks.

As I don’t intend to make money off this video, I should not worry. But the whole thing irks me. The visual material is clearly my own, and the music is used rightfully under a license. For now, I have opened an account on Vimeo. Let’s see how they handle these aspects and kinds of issues. If I should get sufficiently pissed, I’ll just create an Amazon S3 based solution!

Anyway, for now, here’s the video hosted on Vimeo, with the new soundtrack.