Monthly Archives: januar 2009

My Encounter With Warner Music Group on YouTube

As you may know I made a couple of mash-up videos last year – like for example the Bert and Ernie tries Gangsta Rap video.

I also made a sequel, Ernie proclaims his love for Bert, where I mashed some Sesame Street clips with the song 500 Miles by The Proclaimers.

This type of remixing isn’t exactly the music and film corporations’ favourite part of web culture, and so it had to happen sooner or later; last night I received this message from Youtube:

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WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

As many of you have probably heard Warner Music Group (WMG) claim that they aren’t being paid enough money by Google for the use of the label’s content on YouTube, and have therefore requested that all of their tracks are to be pulled from the website. As a result YouTube has started muting videos that contain WMG content.

The rights to the original recording of 500 Miles is in the hands of WMG, so YouTube decided to block the video from being viewed.

FAIR USE

Was this video satire? I’m thinking yes, or at least that was what I was trying to do when I made it. Therefore it could be protected under the Fair Use-paragraph of the copyright law. However, there are some problems with the term “Fair Use”:

1. It is hard to say beforehand if the video will be accepted as Fair Use or not.

2. It takes a lot of time and money to take it to court, and you might end up losing anyway

YouTube has given me the possibility to make a counter claim on the blocking of the video, but I kind of get the feeling that they don’t really want anyone to use this option:

“There are very few valid reasons for disputing a claim. Submitting an invalid dispute can result in penalties against your account”.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE YOUTUBE VS WMG SITUATION

Even though I can see Warner’s side of the story, I personally think that they are shooting themselves in the foot on this one. Here’s why:

1.  Loss of marketing

Youtube is a great way to promote your material, and as Monthy Python’s recent YouTube stunt shows, there is a lot of money to be made if you use these types of services the right way. Of course the Python example might be a symptom of firsts – since they got quite a bit of attention worldwide because of it – but still there is indication that there is money to be made off of YouTube.

2. Loss of customers

The harder you make it for people to find your restaurant, the more likely it is that those people will eat elsewhere instead. You may have the greatest chefs, but the food at other restaurants will probably do if it’s more convenient. The same goes for music and video. WMG’s artists might be good, but there are a million people out there waiting to take their place if the opportunity arise.

And besides. What happened when Napster got shut down? Other services replaced it. What will happen now that Warner demands their content removed? It probably wont be long until it will start showing up elsewhere.

In this instance it also affected the labels artists directly, like when Death Cab for Cutie’s videos stopped working on their own site. The reason? A copyright claim from their own label.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN?

I’m not going to dispute the claim from WMG, nor am I going to upload the video to other websites. What I will do is continue to support and spread awareness of the Creative Commons alternative to the All Rights Reserved-version of Copyright. Personally I think this is the big cultural battle of our generation; the Rock’n’Roll of the 21st century. As Lawrence Lessig puts it, we are no longer consuming culture the way we did only ten years ago. We are using the cultural products we consume to express ourselves in new ways, and the creation of new material based upon old is a key part. We want to be able to remix culture, not to make money off of it, but to express who we are, what we believe and how we perceive these cultural expressions.

I think the way to free culture lies in showing the big corporation that it is possible for them to make money this way. And as more people start embracing Creative Commons, they will adapt and follow. I don’t know how long it will take, one year, five years maybe ten, but I’m pretty sure that sometime in the future mash ups of the kind of Ernie Proclaims his love for Bert will no longer be considered copyright infringement.

When I Should Have Been Studying

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I was studying today when I got the cravings for a light snack. Being the extremely healthy person that I am (there wasn’t anything else left in the fridge), I decided to grab an apple. Then one thing lead to another, and instead of the reading I should have been doing I spent the next half hour trying to find my digital camera – which I never use – before spending another hour screaming at Photoshop – which I also never use.

So, bad photoshopping + okey idea = this picture. Don’t look at it for too long or click this link to see a bigger version, because you’ll see the bad craftsmanship.

Also, when I was crying because Photoshop wouldn’t let me do what I wanted, I was reminded of this brilliant webseries:

Gaming in the Movies

keanu2We have all heard the stories. Actors risking their health and sanity to become one with their characters. Christian Bale lost one third of his bodyweight for the role in The Machinist, Kate Winslet supposedly had trouble finding back to her true self after filming The Reader, and I bet even Keanu Reeves tried his coat on once or twice – to see if it was a fit – before using it in The Matrix.

But no matter how good the actor is there are always some actions that seem to go wrong when portrayed on the big screen. Actions so simple that most actors probably take for granted that they will be able to pull them off. The driving scene was the 20th century’s number one enemy, but in this modern day of technology the gaming scene has taken its place.

An Unnecessary Anecdote (feel free to skip it)

I remember when I was seven I had this friend with ADD who would sometimes come over to visit. If he had taken his medication everything was fine, but if he hadn’t he would do things like poking my cat with a wooden ladle while screaming profanity at it, or flush stuff down the toilet just to see if it would go all the way through. When he was like that the only thing that ever seemed to calm him down was to let him play Nintendo. He would go into some kind of trance, staring blank at the screen, leaving me with the responsibility of fishing my mother’s bracelets back out of the toilet.

Now this brings me to the problem.

What Are They Doing Wrong?

First, take a look at this clip from the TV-show Life. Now this video – like some of the funny people over at Reddit already have pointed out – is hilarious in a lot of different ways. I am going to focus on the man’s acting. There are two things that can ruin a gaming scene, he does them both.3069427101_0f120819b51

1. Exaggerating the Facial Expressions

Most people don’t look like their face is being vacuumed when they play videogames. Some probably do, but most look like sane human beings even though they are having fun.

2. Exaggerating the Movement

The actor in Life however, moves too much, too often. Now we all twitch a little when we’re trying to pull off that super combo we so desperately need to win the game, but I’ve never heard of anyone developing Tourettes Syndrome by playing videogames for a couple of minutes.

Why Does This Happen All the Time?

My guess – and this is only a guess – is that most video game scenes that fail this way are directed by people who have never touched a gaming controller in their lives. So they have this idea of how people act while playing videogames that does not really make any sense.

Is There Hope?

Yes there is. Hopefully this era will end now that the “Nintendo-generation” is starting to make movies. Take a look at this scene from Chuck. No jumping, no waving and no exaggerated facial expressions (almost). It looks Zachary Levi might even be ready to take on a console scene.

Pictures by Warner Brother (Promotional) and Sean Dreilinger (Some rights reserved)