Fair Use

this page started out as a specific issue involving fair use policy and became a motivation to explore the nature, role, and process of policy itself … policy in general … vs. any specific policy … policy as a phenomenon … vs any specific policy …

rough         d r a f t    draft       draft

This started out as a process of sorting out some observations after reading and thinking about some complaints and other comments about a group that YouTube cites as being or representing people with possible claims on musical content in amateur uploaded videos … the complaint is that YouTube sometimes flags the uploaded video as having “possible” claims when the music is so old nobody has claims on it (pre 1922) or was created by the member … though the video isn’t blocked, the marking as “possible” gives YouTube the right, or maybe obligation and right, to place ads on the video … so the issue becomes a rights management group trying to do its job for the rights owners, Google YouTube trying to avoid getting sued by the rights management group, both the rights management group and Google YouTube benefiting when the right is gained go place ads on videos, all of that vs the uploading user maybe not using copyrighted material at all or asserting fair use exemptions … just one of the youtube commenters, familypersons or some member name like that, got the issue right … he said, if it’s a youtube trick to get more ads on more videos, they shouldn’t have to use tricks … they should have the right to put ads on any video since they’re providing a free service … but then came the issue of google youtube not wanting to make itself less attractive / competitive with other emerging providers of upload, storage, and video streaming free services (like, i think, facebook, and, i’m pretty sure, flickr, and probably others since i’m not really up to date on who’s giving free video internet service these days) …

anyway, so the original issue was that … issues involved in this, apparently, a catch-all or catch-many flag youtube puts on vids during uploading and processing that gives them the right (or maybe the obligation) to place ads on vids …

as i considered how to organize that in my mind and on blog page, i realized the complexity of getting it organized for writing about was just the usual, but manageable, complexity that comes with most real-world policy issues …

policy …

and i remembered the transition i made in my own experience of the world in connection with my increasing understanding of the nature, role, and process of policy.  how it went from being just a word and some examples of stated rules to almost a philosophy of life.  or least a very major process in life.  i know how funny that sounds.  so work me over with it.  i’m cool with it.  but, having enjoyed the teasing, i have to say it’s true.  not sure if i can find a way for a linear sequential string of words to convey a pretty radical shift in perspective that normally only a few get a chance to make and have due to being competent (vs window dressing) on boards of directors, being among the better executives, being among the key staffpeople on human resources staffs, the better attorneys, most legislators, or, in some cases, but not always or even usually, managers.  some of those policy-savvy people may say i’m making too big a thing of this because, like with any big perspective shift, once it’s happened, it’s obvious and is taken for granted.  but the smarter and more self-aware of them will realize that what i’m saying is true.  being unaware of policy feels natural and is one level of skill, awareness, and effectiveness in the world.  being policy-aware also feels natural, and looks to the eye to be the same (unless you know what you’re looking at and for),  but is a totally different level of awareness, skill, and effectiveness in the world.  but i can remember living before i understood policy … i can remember the roland christensen-inspired courses and related courses that planted the seeds, the labor relations staff work that watered and fed the seeds, and the eventual habitual use later in life … these were all different worldviews …

… so even the brief intro to what i’m drafting turned into a lot of words … not sure i’ll have the time or motivation to bring this general view of policy together with the specific example of google youtube content ID matching policy as regards this Music Publishing Rights Collection Group …

rough    draft    draft     draft

fascinating topic, policy …

The Nature of Policy

Everybody’s heard of policy, but fewer people really understand what it is, why it exists, why it’s necessary (in fact, unavoidable, inevitable), how it’s formed, how it evolves, and how it works.

One the one hand, it’s a lot more complex than most people realize.

On the other hand, it’s simple because, when you take it all apart and look at each of the pieces, it all makes sense.  All of the aspects of it are there for reasons of purpose, limited resources, and — above all — human nature.

Although I’m a newbie uploader of YouTube videos,

Issue:  Music Publishing Rights Collection Society

This group is mentioned by YouTube’s automated video upload and processing system sometimes when ordinary non-commercial YouTube members (like me) upload music even when the music’s presumably not copyrighted (like I did, a pre-1922 Franz Liszt 1853 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody from Musopen, the rights-free source of digital music, performed by the US Marine Corp band or Air Force Band or somebody like that … i’m assuming all of that means the music file I used is not copyrighted by anybody).

An example of the message that comes up in the uploading member’s YouTube is:

“Your video, Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 (Using Musopen) , may include content that is owned or administered by these entities:

  • Entity: Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society Content Type: Musical CompositionWhat should I do? [ asks YouTube, putting itself in the uploader’s role]No action is required on your part. Your video is still available worldwide. In some cases ads may appear next to your video.”

On the one hand, YouTube or the MPRCS is being a little over-aggressive here.  At least so far I think so.  The YouTube ContentID system that runs during uploading and processing of a video sometimes flags videos with uncopyrighted music (like I think mine is) and even, according to some YouTube member comments, flags new music created by the members themselves.

Why would the MPRCS want YouTube’s systems to do that?  Answer:  Ad revenue.

On the other hand, Google YouTube’s policies and automatic processing systems are doing the flagging.

Why would Google YouTube want to do that?  First answer:  Avoid being sued by, and be able to tell a supportive responsive story about what they’re doing to protect rights, to MPRCS.

Second answer:  Ad revenue again.

Is that being a little overly aggressive a good or bad thing?  Answer:  I think it’s ok.  I think it’s probably a good thing.

Why?  Mainly because I think YouTube members are very lucky to have free YouTube facilities for playlists, comments, subscriptions, mail, uploading, and video streaming.  User/members/uploaders have to know Google YouTube is going to do what it needs to do to avoid being sued by groups and individuals, and to avoid congressional hearings and legislation that makes operations more awkward.

still rough draft draft draft

When I thought about this a while, and realized YouTube would be getting some ad revenue from this group’s ads, I was also surprised that YouTube doesn’t already place ads on all videos.


If there’s any validity to the copyright claim, the artists should get their part of the ad revenue.  In any event, since Google YouTube provides the free upload and video streaming service, it should get its part or all of the revenue on all videos, copyright or not.  One of the YouTube member commenters said the system in France puts ads on all videos regardless of copyright, regardless of permission.  Since the upload and video streaming system costs money to provide and is free to use, I think that makes sense.

Hmm … second thoughts … I’m seeing the other side of the issue now … free websites that put obnoxious ads are awful … so I’m thinking I’m seeing that Google YouTube is doing it right … like WordPress … both have links from free web content to other web content and some ads … without being obtrusive …

So the second thoughts lead to the view that Google YouTube should be able to put ads on any video — since it’s all free to the user — but I really like that they show a lot of restraint in how obtrusive/non-obtrusive the ads are when displayed.

So, in my case, I don’t mind if the MPRCS and Google YouTube place ads on my videos and share the ad revenues.  The MPRCS can’t send money to Franz Liszt for my two Hungarian Rhapsody videos they flagged that have pre-1922 music from Musopen (source of digital music free of copyright issues), but they can collect money into a general pool that gets allocated somehow that makes sense on the artists and rights management side of the table.  Google YouTube earn their share all-day every day by providing the great free service.

On the other hand, if I did object to the flagging and the ad placements, and the music is pre 1922, not otherwise copyrightable, or fair use — and felt strongly that my videos should be ad-free despite YouTube’s cost of providing the facility (as I mentioned I DO NOT think this way.  I’m ok with YouTube getting paid by ads on my vids for their free service if they want to.  They don’t always want to.  Even WMG, SONY, and UMG don’t always place ads even on my fair use vids.  I’m ok with rights holders placing ads on my vids when there are copyrights and ok with Google YouTube placing ads on any vids, as long as it doesn’t, like the old style free websites, make the display ugly, annoying, and unattractive) — I could use the simple no-hassle “dispute” (first level of dispute in YouTube) page.

draft draft draft

That should work.


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