Is there something to be said about a company that makes bad business decisions that seem like good ones?
This blog post will deal with the WMG and YouTube fiasco. First a little background, YouTube is a notorious dumping ground for thousands of true copyright violations. I commend a company for protecting it's assets. But I do feel there are other way to go about that than the "Delete now, ask later" attitude.
Since yesterday I had been working on my own copy of a those famous lyrics videos of YouTube. I was using the song "Collide" by Skillet (the song can be found in the playlist to the right). The song is by a Christian rock group that who's current labels include Ardent record, Lava records and Atlantic records. Two of those three are owned by Warner Music Group (WMG). The album this song originally appeared on "Collide" (2003) was originally recorded and released solely by Ardent records. Which, from what I can find in a quick search, is not owned by WMG. So you would think they do not have the right to censor the song, but alas when Skillet signed with the other two labels the next year, the album was re-released by them in a different track order but other than that just the same.
So, moving on, I made the video just like I had done thrice before to three songs by Red who's signed to Essential records which is owned by Sony Music Entertainment. All three of those videos are up and fine. (Watch 1, 2, 3) I got done, waited an hour for it to render, I was proud of it. I went and uploaded to YouTube to share like I did the other three. I expected no problem since there were other videos with the same purpose as mine. It processed, I played it, it played fine, so I decided to share the link to it with a buddy who discovered he could not watch it as it was blocked due to WMG. So, I went and checked the copyright status of the video which said the video was blocked world wide. I deleted it as there was no use of having it there if I was the only one who could watch it. It ticked me off as I ready have a video tribute to my recently deceased dogs that uses "Untitled" by Simple Plan which is also owned by WMG that works just fine. I didn't get it. Still don't some 2 hours later.
Now, as anyone who wastes their time occasionally on YouTube should know, YouTube was so overrun with copyright violations they implemented several features to help the victims companies to still make their money, such as links to buy the song on Amazon and iTunes in the offending video's description and ads for ad revenue. Most companies have "given in" so both parties when, the company gets their money, the consumer gets entertainment (with the small price of 30 seconds of boredom for an ad). WMG on the other hand has not is fighting it to the bitter end, by censoring/deleting first and asking questions later.
This seems petty to me. Why would you tick off hundreds of potential consumers and thus possibly cost yourself millions of dollars, when you could make millions more with the ad/links system?
I found one such story on the internet where a guy's wife made a slideshow of a reunion using like 8 songs with an undetermined amount being owned by WMG. For the sake of falling under fair use, before he uploaded it to another video sharing service, Vimeo, he degraded the sound. And this bunch of joyous memories went live. Some time later the video was deleted on a copyright claim by WMG. Now of course the songs are still copyrighted but as he put it's that "...Warner Music Group/Time Warner would actually care about some random slide show of 40-somethings getting drunk at a suburban New Jersey synagogue set to 15 and 20-year-old low-quality monaural rendered audio that they happen to have rights to is just extremely sad." The link to the video that was deleted is in the article and the video has not been restored some 9 months later.
Another story I found is where a person used WMG-owned music in two satirical Sesame Street videos. The second video was blocked worldwide. Though I personally believe she/he could have one, they decided not to challenge the blocking and thus the video remains blocked.
Other videos blocked by WMG and the like include covers of their songs, be it, music or vocal.
Some have tried to start a boycott over these blockings.
Eventually this has got to stop, I respect copyright laws and the companies invoking them but when you start messing with people's memories. You've gone a little far. I strongly believe just like companies embraced the online sharing of music files (e.g.: Napster) that born online music stores like the iTunes Store, companies will eventually embrace this as another revenue stream. This will be another case of the public directing corporate traffic. The corporations just have to listen.
WMG, unlike other companies has refused this additional revenue. And in my opinion, look like idiots for it. Some may say they have the right to look idiotic this way, and they would be right, but they will eventually have to listen because the free market is ever-changing.
As the old saying goes, "the customer is always right". Well the customers want to listen to videos of songs, Music videos and TV clips on places like YouTube. Are you listening, Corporate America? I hope so, for all our sakes.