Music Down the TubesMarch 24, 2009
As Rights Clash on YouTube, Some Music Vanishes
In early December, Juliet Weybret, a high school sophomore and aspiring rock star from Lodi, Calif., recorded a video of herself playing the piano and singing “Winter Wonderland,” and she posted it on YouTube.
Weeks later, she received an e-mail message from YouTube: her video was being removed “as a result of a third-party notification by the Warner Music Group,” which owns the copyright to the Christmas carol.
Hers is not an isolated case.. Countless other amateurs have been ensnared in a dispute between Warner Music and YouTube, which is owned by Google.
The conflict centers on how much Warner should be paid for the use of its copyrighted works — its music videos — but has grown to include other material produced by amateurs that may also run afoul of copyright law.“Thousands of videos disappeared,” said Fred von Lohmann, staff lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet civil liberties group that asked affected YouTube users to contact it.
“Either they turned off the audio, or they pulled the video.”
A spokesman for Warner Music said that YouTube’s system for identifying copyrighted material does not distinguish between professionally made music videos and amateur material that may include