Monday, March 23, 2009

As Rights Clash on YouTube, Some Music Vanishes, The New York Times, 3/23/09

The New York Times: 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.

The law provides a four-point test for the fair use of copyrighted works, taking into account things like the purpose, the size of an excerpt and the effect the use might have on the commercial value of the actual work...

The body of law is ever-evolving, and each era and technology seems to force new interpretations. In the 1960s, for example, the Zapruder film, the home movie that captured the Kennedy assassination, was bought and copyrighted by Time magazine. But a judge denied that it could be a copyrighted work because of its value to the public interest.

Many of the offending videos of the user-generated variety like Ms. Weybret’s — as opposed to copies of music videos produced by Warner and its artists — would fall under fair use, according to Mr. von Lohmann, because they are noncommercial and include original material produced by the user.

Others, including Warner Music’s lawyers, might argue that the videos, while themselves created for noncommercial purposes, are nevertheless being shown on YouTube, which is a moneymaking enterprise."

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