Munkybarz and jloch84's accounts suspended

Just when we thought things were looking up, they deliver a blow like this. Two important musician YouTube accounts were suspended: jloch84 and Munkybarz. Both bassists, and both damn good at it. Munkybarz specially was the object of a huge following by players from all ages, since his videos served as a huge inspiration for young rookie players, and his huge library of rock bass lines got other older musicians and music fans to re-discover some classic rock songs and records.

We in the music community are affraid this might be a new way to deal with the evil copyright infringers that we apparently are in the eyes of the big record labels. As of late, many of us have stopped being afraid and contested the videos we got removed. Some even got a notification with the magic words "dispute successful."Maybe it's a bit of a conspiracy theory, but one cannot help but to think their new strategy might be: "no accounts, no counter notifications."

This theory can seem like a stretch, but ask yourself: "why else would they close these two accounts?" and while you're at it, "is my account next?"


SPEAK OUT!: RKnickerbocker & PlayingGuitarRules

More and more YouTube musicians and Living Room Rock Gods are joining the protest against the evil record labels and companies. This one is a first: a collaboration! Shoved into a "Tribute IS NOT theft" T shirt, RKnickerbocker joins PlayingGuitarRules to pay tribute to a band whos lucky to have fans this faithful: Metallica.

Speak Out! Submit your video or article to LRRGods@gmail.com.


Would YouTube Music be the solution?

Mr.Kafka might be on to something. Not Franz, but Peter, from All Things Digital. In his point of view, the most viable solution for the record companies-YouTube conflict is a simple one: just rip off MySpace. Creating a YouTube Music would not solve everything, but from our perspective, as YouTube users/musicians, would be a really nice option. This would create a new style of MTV, going back to basics for what MTV used to be: Music. Only, this way, we, the users, would have compelte control over what videos to watch and when, without stumple upon them by mere chance, having to sit through another episode of "The Real World."

But the promise land doesn't end up there. If they were to make a deal similar to Warner's back in 2006, this would mean pretty much carte blanche for any covers we might want to play: from Red Hot Chili Peppers, to Barney the Dinosaur. That is, as long as no executive looks at another in the industry that is YouTube and yells out: "why is he making more revenue than me?!"

Go ahead and read both articles by Peter Kafka for the entire story and his own theory of why YouTube Music should be created, and how it should work, as opposed as just reading my rambles and rants.

Media Memo: How to solve the big music/YouTube spat: copy MySpace.
Media Memo: YouTube = MTV 2.0. Time to turn that into a business.


Don't you just love it when this happens?

This is happening more and more. You make a video of yourself playing a song you like; take your time editing, making sure the final product has a good quality of both video and audio; upload it on YouTube, to see what others have to say about it; and then... you run into the corporate copyright brick wall.

As you can see from this metallicat511 video, it does not happen just to you. It happens to everybody; and now it's happening more often. Don't keep quiet! Tribute is not theft!

Speak Out! Submit your video or article to LRRGods@gmail.com.


Sony's in

Living Room Rock God jouxplan also let us in on some good news: Sony Music Entertainment re-signed with YouTube instead of following WMG in their tantrum for more dough. We can only hope UMG and EMI follow their lead, and see the mistake Warner is living in (hint: see the WMG share chart). According to the articles posted by jouxplan in the forums, the details of the new deal are unclear; might have something to do with YouTube's testing of the new "download" feature in some select videos.

Thanks, jouxplan!

Sony Music Re-Ups With YouTube; First Major Label In Second Wave, by Staci D. Kramer for paidContent.org

YouTube renews music video deal with Sony Music-sources, reporting by Yinka Adegoke; editing by Bernard Orr for Reuters.com

Pissing the fans off might've been a bad idea

Today LRRG jouxplan posted this information in the Living Room Rock Gods forums earning the right to pick anything he wants from the nearest pastry shop. This is Warner Music Group's share price chart, according to Yahoo! Finance, UK. We're not economists or expert chart readers, but this doesn't leave much to speculation, that blue line really starts dropping around October from last year, and by January it's crawling like a snake. I wonder what kind of executive decisions could have been the reason for this debacle. Oh, right...

I like to think we, the fans and WMG-product-users, played an important part to cause such drop in share prices for Warner. Lashing out at the people who buy your products doesn't seem like a good idea, even for an all-powerful multi-million corporation. And now that Sony Music Entertainment successfuly renegotiated their deal with YouTube, it's looking even worse for them. We can only hope they realize their mistake and chose to negotiate, instead of taking the next step in their bullieness, as big-shot corporations are known to do from time to time.

Warner Music Group Crp Share Price Chart at Yahoo! Finance, UK.


This is that video

In this video, we see a young child who's just learning to walk while being filmed by his mother who then uploaded the video to YouTube to show her family and friends. That's it. No editing. No music added in post-production. However, that did not stop the ever-watching eye of the Universal Music Group music police and actually claimed copyright infringement on it for the Prince song playing in the background. Fortuatelly, Stephanie Lenz, the owner of the video sued UMG with the help of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the video went back up on YouTube. While her case is still ongoing, the judge did say that UMG and other copyright holders should consider fair use before sending a takedown notice.

I'm posting it now to make a point: this is how far these companies, such as UMG or WMG (Warner Music Group) are willing to go. Right now, they're claiming copyright infringement over the videos we make of ourselves playing covers from our living rooms or bedrooms. But, if we let them get away with that, and without shame, they'll claim copyright over your home movies and even videos of your kids learning how to walk.

And then, what's next?

Lenz v. Universal article

Speak Out!: lasteffect

Users continue protesting against the YouTube video hostile take-over by the record companies such as Warner Music Group. This time, it's the turn of lasteffect to share his thoughts about this.

Speak Out! Submit your video or article to LRRGods@gmail.com.


Associated Press vs. Chris Fairey over famous Obama 'HOPE' image

These people have no shame. This image of Barack Obama was seen everywhere during the last months of 2008, and became one of the most important images of, at least, the 21st century when he was elected as President of the United States. The famous "HOPE" image was done by a Calfornia street artist named Chris Fairey, but it was not done from scratch. Inspired by Obama's campaign, Chris found a photograph by Manny Garcia, from AP, and transformed it into the image we all recognize today.

Now the campaign is over and Chris Fairy is getting a law suit threat by AP for copyright infringement!:

"The Associated Press has determined that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use required permission," said Paul Colford, AP's director of media relations taken from an article by Lewis Wallace for wired.com.

Fairy's lawyer is using our new two favorite words in the English Dictionary: Fair Use. It really does not take a lot of brain cells to figure out Fairy's work is completely transformative and it follows the Fair Use guidelines; he has not made a cent from the famous poster.

Now Fairy has counter-attacked AP. According to this article by David Kravets for wired.com, on Monday, Fairy "filed a preemptive lawsuit claiming he did not violate The Associated Press's intellectual property rights."

The lengths some people are willing to go for money or recognition is unbelievable. We can only hope the Fair Use clause gets more specific over time, so that no one with a little bit of power abuses copyright laws and demands "compensation" just because somebody else's work was better than their original efforts.

Read the Lewis Wallace article.
Read the David Kravets article.


WMG targets Last.fm next

YouTube is not the only target of Warner Music Group's bottomless stomach for money. Recently, Last.fm -the on-demand music website- has had music taken down by WMG. However, as opposed as what happened in YouTube, the artist's official radio stations are still online, since they work under a dfferet contract, but music from albums by Neil Young, Nickelback, Death Cab for Cutie are right out.

This begs the question: what the hell is Warner doing? They were the first company to sign a deal with YouTube so it's users could use their music freely, and the first to make a deal with an on-demand music site (Last.fm). My guess -and that's only a guess- is they realized how may users these two websites had and their mind went "CHA-CHING!" Now, they're only thinking on how to get their dirty little paws on more dough, making a whole lot of consumers angry. Not a smart move, I'd say.

Info: Warner Music Group pulls music from Last.fm by Eliot Van Buskirk for Wired.com

Speak out! Write an article and submit it to LRRGods@gmail.com


EFF article causes some stir

Holy crap! I did not expect the EFF article I posted here yesterday to cause so much stir, but many sites are commenting on it, including Billboard. Here are some articles commenting about both, the EFF article, and the current WMG hostile video take-over.

YouTube's copyright system goes wrong, EFF intends to sue
By Samantha Rose Hunt, TG Daily

EFF Mounts Fight Over YouTube Takedowns
By Antony Bruno, Billboard

EFF seeks mashup makers to fight YouTube filtering
By Julian Sanchez, Ars Technica

EFF Gears Up To Fight Back Against Bogus YouTube Takedowns
By Mike Masnick, Techdirt

YouTube Users Lash Out At Warner Music (And Google) With Protest Videos
by Michael Arrington, TechCrunch

I don't think that we can find clearer evidence that what we're doing is working. If you've had one, or more, videos removed, or even if you didn't but one of your favorite videos was, and you feel it was unfair, please take a moment of your time and write to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Our freedom of playing music in our own homes is at stake.


BlkSabbass... er, I mean, stoptherobot, created this clever -and symbolic- video using classic Godzilla footage and added a new kick-ass soundtrack played by himself in protest against the 'Big Five' and the removal of user-generated videos in YouTube.

Enjoy the fight!

Speak Out! Submit your video or article to LRRGods@gmail.com.


YouTube's January Fair Use Massacre

This is what it's come to. Teenagers singing "Winter Wonderland" being censored off YouTube.

Fair use has always been at risk on YouTube, thanks to abusive DMCA takedown notices sent by copyright owners (sometimes carelessly, sometimes not). But in the past several weeks, two things have made things much worse for those who want to sing a song, post an a capella tribute, or set machinima to music.

First, it appears that more and more copyright owners are using YouTube's automated copyright filtering system (known as the Content ID system), which tests all videos looking for a "match" with "fingerprints" provided by copyright owners.

Second, thanks to a recent spat between YouTube and Warner Music Group, YouTube's Content ID tool is now being used to censor lots and lots of videos (previously, Warner just silently shared in the advertising revenue for the videos that included a "match" to its music).

EFF, along with many other public interest groups, have repeatedly expressed our concerns to both copyright owners and YouTube about the dangers of automated filtering systems like the Content ID system. These systems are still primitive and unable to distinguish a tranformative remix from copyright infringement. So unless they leave lots of breathing room for remixed content, these filters end up sideswiping lots of fair uses.

And that's exactly what has happened these past few weeks. And while today it's Warner Music, as more copyright owners start using the Content ID tool, it'll only get worse. Soon it may be off limits to remix anything with snippets of our shared mass media culture -- music, TV, movies, jingles, commercials. That would be a sad irony -- copyright being used to stifle an exciting new wellspring of creativity, rather than encourage it.

It's clear from the Warner Music experience that YouTube's Content ID tool fails to separate the infringements from the arguable fair uses. And while YouTube offers users the option to dispute a removal (if it's an automated Content ID removal) or send a formal DMCA counter-notice (if it's an official DMCA takedown), many YouTube users, lacking legal help, are afraid to wave a red flag in front of Warner Music's lawyers. That's a toxic combination for amateur video creators on YouTube.

So what can we do?

First, YouTube should fix the Content ID system. Now. The system should not remove videos unless there is a match between the video and audio tracks of a submitted fingerprint. When we made this suggestion in October 2007, YouTube assured us that they were working on improving the tool. Well, it's been more than a year. If YouTube is serious about protecting its users, the time has come to implement this fix. (Some will point out that this implies that record labels and music publishers can never use the Content ID tool to remove videos solely based on what's in the audio track. That's right. I think that adding a soundtrack to your home skateboarding movie is a fair use. If copyright owners feel differently, they can send a formal DMCA takedown notice, and with any luck, we'll see each other in court.)

Second, YouTubers, EFF wants to help. If Warner Music Group took down your video, ask yourself if your video is (1) noncommercial (i.e., no commercial advertisements or YouTube Partner videos) and (2) includes substantial original material contributed by you (i.e., no verbatim copies of Warner music videos). If so, and you'd like to counternotice but are afraid of getting sued, we'd like to hear from you. We can't promise to take every case, but neither will we stand by and watch semi-automated takedowns trample fair use.

by Fred von Lohmann for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.


Some useful information, part 2

Second video by TygerWDR. Here he discusses MetallicaTV, YouTube double-standards and solutions and how each and every one of these runs into a corporate brick-wall. He also provides some useful telephone and fax numbers and addresses of WMG, Google and YouTube. Use them!

Speak Out! Submit your video or article to LRRGods@gmail.com.

Some useful information, part 1

Here's the first of two videos made by YouTube user TygerWDR, just in case you don't know what's going on between the Warner Music Group, YouTube and us, the users; or in case you are looking for more information on the subject. Please watch it and take action!

Speak Out! Submit your video or article to LRRGods@gmail.com.


Speak Out!: zakryan79

YouTube bass player zakryan79 shares with us his thoughts and feelings about the WMG video lock-down.

Speak Out! Submit your video or article to LRRGods@gmail.com.

CNET News Article

Recently, Greg Sandoval, from CNET News wrote an article regarding the feud between Warner Music Group and YouTube and how this affects it's users. It focuses on a video (see here) you might have seen by Corey Vidal, known as ApprenticeA in YouTube in which he payed an a capella tribute to John Williams. His video was even nominated for a People's Choice Award, but Warner did not care, they removed the video anyway citing copyright over Williams' material.

The video did not have any music other than Corey's voice.

Read the full CNET News article here.

Submit an article of your own, or other author to LRRGods@gmail.com

Speak Out!: zodiakironfist

Coiner of the term "Living-Room Rock Gods," zodiakironfist, gives his opinion about the removal of user-generated Living Room Rock God videos by WMG and UMG, and why these are included in the umbrella of "Fair Use."

Speak Out! Submit your video or article to LRRGods@gmail.com.