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YouTube: At war with Warner Music Group


Just kinda bookmarking this one – at war with your customer and forcing your customer to go to war with you, en masse. Warner Music Group are forcing Google’s YouTube to pull videos that have any recognisable Warner music in it. Background, homage, mashups, clips, concerts, cover’s, singing the shower, you name it, gone.

I know that the musicians are mostly also pissed with this too. Gary had a machinima pulled – one where he got the musicians permission – and had to push YouTube to put it back up. They did – after the musician also stepped in.  This musician had her own music pulled… strange times.

It’s not just the copies of MTV video clips being pulled but also the kids who do covers, accompanying themselves wih guitars or piano. If you have a song playing on the radio in the background while filming you are also going to have your video yanked.

For a few years I’ve been running workshops and giving presentations on “At War with Your Customer. ”  (APRA presentation and Social Anti-Advertising). I have been waiting for a situation big enough to really motivate people into a brand war with the company. Not just a few hundred blog posts, or quiet tsk tsks, but full scale, bring them to their knees. Sort of like what that couple tried to do with MacDonalds before the consumer got their hands on mass content creation and distribution.  This might be it.

Have a listen to his call of action at the end.  War. TechCrunch thinks so too.

Ah well, copyright is against the human condition, our natural DNA as it were. They tried copyrighting music for what? 80 years? 1926 or 1928 I think it was. For millions of years before that, no copyright. Unheard of and alien to our humanity. As it should be.

Time we got back to what we do – rework and repurpose old content.  Let each generation take the stories of the previous generations and mash them up, around the campfire, with that music and those images and their words. It worked for Plato, rewording Socrates and every writer, songwriter and image maker ever since. From some big ol’ Art academic essay paper thing:

vincent-sunflowersArt Influencing Art.

To sum it all up, the barbarians influenced the Romans, the Celts and Germans influenced the Middle Ages, and the Greeks and Romans influenced the Renaissance. Because the relationship between the Romans, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance in art was that their art built off and inspired one another, there sprang up tremendous amounts of wonderful paintings, sculptures, and buildings. The Reformation brought a great crisis to painting, and it began to disappear in northern Europe and England.(here)

And then the Warner Art Group had it all removed.

Let this oh-so-very creative generation bring forth innovation from the embers of intellectual property. There are other business models for music  – stopping hundreds of thousands of people from paying respects to their favourite music by promoting it online to prolong the life of a fundamentally wrong one, is foolhardy and a waste of time.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

11 thoughts on “YouTube: At war with Warner Music Group

  1. I’ve already complained about this particular video on another blog already today.

    1) If there are “other business models” I for one would love to know what they are!

    2) Copyright isn’t just about money. Its about deciding who can reproduce the work, use the work, and who cannot, for what purposes and in what context. I can only imagine how pissed you would be if Seth Godin printed out your blog and published it in book form and starting making money out of it without your permission.

    3) I still think it is very odd that intellectual property differs so greatly from other asset classes. I don’t see people being forced to give up their property or their shares when the original owner has been dead for 50 years.

    So, in short, it is against the human condition to allow artists to make money out of their art?

    You watch how quickly people who make YouTube videos whinge and complain about their copyright when somebody rips and uploads their videos somewhere else. There is such a mob mentality when it comes to that website.

    John Lacey’s last blog post..Thank you!

  2. Ayep, slide 17 of the APRA presentation – it used to be concert tickets were the loss leader (real time, experiential) and canned music was the revenue generator. But you can see that has reversed. We pay up to $1000 for a Sting concert ticket but the whole of the Sting/Police collection can be picked up for less than 100 bucks. That graph is from a music industry report – almost a completely mirror image now hmmm?

    “There is such a mob mentality when it comes to that website.” You mean the biggest visual record that has ever been known in the history of humanity? That website? The one where people are promoting the music of these musicians to others, being passionate fans with no recompense but attribution and no question of “allowing them to make money out of their art”, that one? And wikipedia is full of references to the work – unpaid – of Galileo, Einstein, and Newton and subsequent inventions. The largest record every compiled of all our inventions, with no thought to copyright and intellectual property. That one?

    Interested to know – why is that open source developers can give stuff away, and make a living out of it, yet musicians can’t. I know the answer (they both can) do you? 🙂

  3. I don’t see why they should have to.

    The problem with this is people are effectively saying, “I don’t want to make money doing this, so nobody should be allowed to.” And effectively you have just rendered all professionals (in any industry) amateurs. And what is the point of money now? [And there is even less excuse for being so irresponsible given the introduction of creative commons licensing arrangements.]

    Meanwhile have you been on YouTube lately? There is a lot of crap on “the biggest visual record that has ever been known in the history of humanity.” It is no Smithsonian. (And, yes, ironically there are amazing gems in the Smithsonian… and they’re all in the public domain.)

    I just don’t think it is worth destroying endless industries so some kid can have a 30 second clip of Madonna behind footage of a skateboarding dog.

    Moreover Sting had to sell a shitload of albums before they could charge $1000 a ticket to see him.

    Let’s get rid of patents and trademarks while we’re at it. Why persecute just the arts? I want to be able to formulate Coca-Cola in my backyard. I want to claim Laurel Papworth presentations as my own. I want to release my own operating system, PsychoSoft Doors 7.

    Let’s bring on the wild west economy where nothing (except live performance, apparently) has any value. Yay!

    BTW if you expect any more discussion on this topic my going rate is $1000 per comment. I’ll send you my paypal details.

    John Lacey’s last blog post..Thank you!

  4. John, hon, calm down. You are confusing issues:
    1. are these people making money from using the music?
    2. if they aren’t making money, are they promoting the band?
    3. what does the musician win, and what do they lose?
    4. is someone quoting my blog, attributed, the same as publishing it for commercial gain unattributed?
    5. what industry in the social network economy will be UNtouched by the new technology supporting peer to peer innovation?
    6. currency is worth nothing without value. it is a social mechanism to allow trade.
    7. there are some very successful independent musicians that have released music online, what can be learnt from them?
    8. YouTube hosts Harvard, Yale and other channels where the schools donate their lectures to the betterment of the world. Unfortunately, YouTube is banned in our schools and government. Who is losing out here?
    9. People who donate knowledge and creativity to the ‘net aren’t amateurs and don’t lose. I had no business before, donated my SN knowledge and now have a profitable business on the back of that. Anyone who repurposes my ideas, too late! I already have a business and recognition.
    10. I’ve already had ideas swiped. One well known creative director gave my webdirections presentation at an AIMIA conference, with me in the audience. Unattributed. Hard to pass off as your own, when my stuff is available free, online and on slideshare 😛

    BTW what do you think of Twitter Agency vs Twitip?

    Incidentally I hate people who answer questions with dot point lists. But I’m playing WoW while typing 😛

  5. Something which I don’t think has been mentioned here yet — it’s hard to tell amongst the troll-like pile-up of unrelated sub-topics from both Laurel and John, generating obfuscation rather than clarity, like a frightened squid spraying ink — is the lack of due process.

    People’s videos are being deleted, or having the audio suppressed, on the basis of an allegation by the music distributor. Yet the music may legitimately be used in someone’s video under a number of “fair use” provisions.

    It appears that no attempt is being made to assess the legitimacy of the usage, and the video’s creator isn’t being given an opportunity to respond to the allegations before action is taken. This is nothing but bully-boy thuggery.

    @John: I reckon this comment…

    I just don’t think it is worth destroying endless industries so some kid can have a 30 second clip of Madonna behind footage of a skateboarding dog.

    …is a complete furphy.

    Kids have been using commercial music on their playful videos ever since we’ve had affordable video cameras. The only difference now is that they’re being seen beyond their bedrooms. The music distribution industry never got money for it before and they survived, so I don’t see why “endless industries” (what hyperbole!) will be “destroyed” now.

    If the music distribution industry ever gets off its arse and provides a usable mechanism for paying reasonable royalty fees, then I’ll happily pay that fee to use a song in my videos — though quite frankly I reckon they should be paying me to give my audience’s attention to their artist’s music rather than someone else’s.

    “Reasonable” fee, though…

    Since the vast majority of the price of a retail music CD is the physical production, distribution, and wholesale and retail margins… Since maybe $1 gets to the actual artist who created the music, and everything else goes to friction-creating parasites in between… Since that $1 gives me the right to listen to that set of songs over and over and over again as many times as I like… Then I reckon a reasonable fee for playing the song once to an audience of 30 people should be something like 20 cents.

    I understand, though, that there may be disproportional overheads in collecting micropayments, so I’d be happy to pay the full dollar. Or, to use whichever songs I wanted, maybe three per week, I’d even pay $10 a week for that.

    Quite frankly, that’d be a damn good deal for the distributors. As it is, they’re already negotiating deals where we get unlimited download of any music from their back catalogs included in the price of a mobile phone plan. We get music CDs given away with newspapers as promotional tools.

    If the music industry devalues their product to that extent, then it’s pretty rich to claim they’ll be destroyed because some kid uses 30 seconds of a song on their home movies. They’re already cannibalising their own revenue streams.

    This bully-boy behaviour is really just the final lashing-out of a dying monster. A monster which is rapidly becoming irrelevant because musicians can speak directly to their potential audiences, globally, without a bunch of hangers-on in the middle.

    Stilgherrian’s last blog post..So Conroy’s Internet filter won’t block political speech, eh?

  6. Well now, I’m a topic of debate in the “highbrow” now? My vid has the attention of media types who are analyzing it? Amazing. Simply amazing. I post that vid, and a follow up vid, and suddenly I’m the mouthpiece for a revolution? How in the hell did this happen? The revolution has come and gone! We’re just mopping up the casualties who missed the big noise while in that meeting discussing the meeting.

    First, to John, the first commenter who may never read this because it’s “old news” by now… Call it mob mentality if you want. But this whole mess was never a problem until someone tried to gouge someone else for more money and used the “plebians” as a weapon. I find it fascinating to watch the game of “hot potato” going on now with WMG and Google as they’re both trying to blame the other guy indirectly while fearing the “wrath of the fanboy”. I fear their stench more, but let’s move on.

    Let me see… copyright. Ahh yes, the whole crux of this argument. Ownership of an idea. Oh, wait, you can’t copyright an idea only the form it takes. Copyright law is, in it’s current state, broken. The fact that “Happy Birthday” is still collecting royalties ($10,000+ US last I checked) is proof of that. I was under the impression “copyright” was meant to protect the immediacy of a work, but I’ve been wrong before.

    The “business model” has changed, evolved, whatever buzz word you want to use to describe it we’ve kept moving. The large businesses are stuck in the “Napster” mentality that people are all “stealing music” on the “inter-tubes”. We must be infringing even if it happens to be in the background. And yes, people steal music on the internet, but not off a low-grade site like youtube. By the contrary, most of us BUY music. We go on U-toonez” and buy the songs for $1 a piece. We go to concerts and pay cash to watch our favorite bands. Or has that been forgotten?

    We don’t want to steal the music, we want to embrace it and make it part of our lives. Generations have been doing this already. Go find somoene older than you and ask them where they first heard “Sgt. Peppers” or “1984” or “Houses of the Holy”. You can’t talk about my youth without mentioning “Walking on Sunshine” or “Relax” or “Thriller” and what kind of impact they made on the culture I lived in. This generation is no different, except they’re embracing the music and being fans in a new way by intigrating many things at once. They make a machinima movie using HALO as their set, record voices and run them through “shareware” filters, edit using cheap/free software and slap it together on youtube. Most of them never know the friens who love the work they do, but they know the screen names.

    They move at the speed of thought, sharing their cultures in a way that I couldn’t have dreamed possible when I was their age. Most of the videos that have background music will have comments such as “TUNE!?!?” or “COOL SONG! NAME?” And the friends end up buying the music too. Sometimes people are turned on to a sound they would never hear otherwise, because they don’t happen to live in Japan or the UK. go look up “WMV Tainted Donuts” and you’ll see what I mean.

    The genie is out of the bottle. If WMG shuts down specific accounts or even all of youtube, the users will simply move on to any one of DOZENS of websites to host videos. And if those get shut down, they’ll keep on moving. We’ve been digital nomads for 15 years now, we’ve gotten very good at it. Big business can embrace the “new model” of distribution, or shun it and be dropped. Because we, as video makers and fans of the music, won’t stop making fan videos or distributing them. The question is if the big businesses will be able to keep up with us.

    As for the video being a call to war… I didn’t pick the fight. I was just the first guy to post publicly accessible information and let people know who they could contact if they were unhappy. And if you think MY video was nasty? you should see some of the response videos to mine attacking WMG and google/youtube. I’m TAME compared to some of those guys.

  7. take a look on this short piano video, nice vibes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vJgOJ2Q0GY

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