Copyright holders tried: YouTube’s music video lessons with parsing of other people’s songs may disappear

The ubiquitous self-isolation caused by the pandemic has riveted millions of eyes to monitors. Many found an outlet in the form of training, in particular, playing musical instruments. The increased interest in educational music content has exacerbated the problems associated with copyright to compositions, some video bloggers are involved in parsing them. The so-called so-called parsers are music bloggers (usually guitar ones), demonstrating to beginners how to play their favorite tracks of any Metallica or Radiohead. Over the past 10 years, their activity has turned into a kind of industry, which today can be destroyed by the use of ambiguous copyright norms.

Bloggers note that YouTube is increasingly blocking videos with parsing of known works. This happens both by direct complaints of copyright holders, and as a result of the action of search algorithms that detect fragments of copyrighted compositions in the video. Under the cut my thoughts about the problem, as well as the opinion of guitar blogger, teacher and musician Yuri (Fredguitarist) Shilnikov about the problem and its possible solution.

What’s happening?

YouTube tinkers found their videos more often blocked with the phrase “copyright infringement”. This has happened before, but the sanctions against the parsers were less stringent and, as a rule, monetization was simply turned off for the video. Today, content is blocked, and with a gross violation three times the entire channel of the reviewer is deleted.

The situation comes to the point of absurdity, for example, as reported,
joint video of the legendary session bassist Leland Sklar and folk guitarist James Taylor with their own work fell under restrictive hosting measures.

It turned out that under contractual obligations all Taylor’s creative products belong to a third party. It was on the basis of a complaint from a third copyright holder who had rights to Taylor’s content that YouTube deleted the joint video of the musicians, thus ignoring the rights and desire of the authors themselves.

No less ridiculous is the situation with guitar blogger Rodney McG, quoted by Rodney McG, he also received a strike for his own work, which was reloaded in another arrangement. According to him, the video was deleted with reference to the author’s request, although he did not require anything from the hosting. He even decided to record roller cycle on this occasion.

The “pandemic neurosis of copyright holders” also touched on cover versions. In the last six months, musical groups and performers publishing covers of their favorite bands, often with the permission of the bands themselves, have become much more likely to receive complaints from the service.

According to sources close to the YouTube administration, the service is also not very happy with the state of things. On the one hand, they are forced to agree with the legal requirements of copyright holders and thus protect the interests of some of the large customers. On the other hand, tough measures in relation to such content lead to its reduction, and, accordingly, a decrease in the number of views, low user loyalty, a decrease in the profit from advertising, as well as a banal overspending of resources to ensure copyright policy.

What can this lead to?

Considering the existing legal practice and the position that the largest video hosting company on the planet usually takes, I will try to play a little with Grandma Wang and make a forecast about the development of the situation.

The optimistic scenario assumes that everything will remain as it is and in the future YouTube’s policy will not be tightened, and acting under the existing clumsy and controversial copyright laws, the service will not harm itself.

Thus, by the end of mass self-isolation, the focus of copyright holders will shift, and surveyors and cover-makers will be left alone, only occasionally throwing strikes on frankly crooked analysis of songs and mediocre terrible covers. The latter, due to poor quality, will clearly not correspond to the concepts of fair use, and accordingly, they are not a pity. I find that this scenario is possible due to the fact that the service itself is interested in the maximum variety of quality content.

The pessimistic scenario assumes the application of the rule of 15 seconds (permission to use no more than 15 seconds of the composition, as well as a detailed approach to the issue of lost profit (loss) of the copyright holder. That is, if the copyright holder could hypothetically lose money, then it is believed that he suffered losses from publications, which will neutralize or ignore anything that could classify the content as fair use.

As a result, training content with analysis of compositions can only be uploaded by the authors of the works themselves and only if other copyright holders, such as production centers or record companies do not mind. This will drastically reduce the number of channels of this kind and actually kill one of the YouTube blogging industries. First of all, the service itself will suffer from such a development of events, users will remain dissatisfied.

Musicians are also unlikely to seriously increase profits, while being able to fully experience that their contractual restrictions apply to YouTube as well. It seems to me that in a pessimistic scenario, only third-party copyright holders who earn on advertising and selling music, but have no direct relationship to its creation, will benefit.

Utopian script. Music creators and bloggers will be able to push through the reform of the global copyright system because of its inoperability and absurdity. This will lead to the creation of a new copyright system, which provides for fair rewards for authors with the possibility of free use of content. Content sellers will have to adapt to the new system, abandon the old forms of work and give up a substantial part of the proceeds in favor of musicians and society.

Special Opinion from Fredguitarist

I asked the founder and guitarist about resolving the copyright issue for parsers JASE groups, The “father” of Russian guitar youtube – Yuri Shilnikov, more commonly known as the Fredguitarist. Next is his point of view.

In fact, the question is very difficult, at first glance, I see two solutions here:

1) The monetization is divided in half, because it’s obvious that the author, analyzing a popular song, gains views in this way and increases the likelihood of recording to his lessons (if any) or selling ads on his channel, but on the other hand, he also does a certain work and possibly potentially increases the popularity of this song.

2) Issuing licenses for parsing, it is clear that this is very difficult to implement, but there seems to be cover groups working under license, which means that this is potentially realistic. Obviously, in many cases, the level of the parser is so low that any professional musician only smiles indulgently when he sees such a parsing. Nevertheless, the extremely low level of the parser can dramatically negatively affect novice guitarists, because many beginners think that if they show it “from the screen” like that, then it means so.

In conclusion

I sincerely hope that over time there will be a mutually beneficial and fair solution to the problems associated with parsing and copyright. Obviously, for this, lawmakers around the world should have an understanding of the irrelevance and inefficiency of the existing copyright system. I will sincerely appreciate your opinion in the comments and participation in a small survey.

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