I’ve written a couple times about YouTube’s Content ID in the past, the powerful and oft-abused technology used to automatically detect potential copyright infringement and allow the purported copyright holders to block or monetize videos.
You probably saw Isaac’s adorable lip-dub proposal, choregraphed by a bunch of drama geeks in Portland.
In the Vimeo description, they also posted the video to YouTube, which is now “blocked on copyright grounds.” There’s only one possible infringement claim, and that’s the soundtrack, which used Bruno Mars’ “Marry You.”
Despite the fact that Bruno Mars himself loved the song:
Congrats to Isaac Lamb and the future Mrs..I don’t think I could’ve made a better music video for this song. Thank you vimeo.com/42828824
— Bruno Mars (@BrunoMars) May 26, 2012
Before blocking copies of the YouTube video, Warner Music Group filed a DMCA notice with Google to remove 27 links to the song from their search results.
There’s a strong argument that their non-commercial use of the song should be fair use, and that hyperlinks from Google should never be censored, but let’s just grant WMG the benefit of the doubt. It’s their song, and they’re clearly the copyright holder.
Instead, I want to draw attention to the other claimants for the YouTube copyright takedown — Keshet, La Red, and Scripps Local News.
I wasn’t able to find any information about Keshet and La Red, but why would Scripps be listed in the copyright claim?
A number of Scripps-owned local ABC TV affiliates aired the story, like this report from ABC 2 Baltimore. Content ID is smart enough to detect partial use of a video, and now even detects the melodies in cover songs. But it’s not smart enough to figure out that the original video predated the newer upload, as in this recent example with a comedian’s video broadcast on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
So the Scripps TV broadcasts are indexed by YouTube, and the Content ID robots do the rest. And because Content ID disputes are judged by the copyright holder, complaints are routinely ignored or denied.
As a final stupid footnote, there are still multiple copies of Isaac’s proposal on YouTube. The most popular? This one — uploaded by a TV news network.