What to Do When a Copyright Claim is Initated on Your Youtube Video For Music You Have the Right to Use

If you use music from royalty free libraries or websites on videos for your Youtube channel, there is a high likelihood that you will eventually get an email with the subject “[Youtube] A copyright claim was submitted for content in…”

Don’t panic. It’s not personal. No one is targeting you. And while it’s annoying to be accused of stealing music, the Content ID system is automated.

Here are the steps to fixing this.

Read the email. In most cases you are in no danger of having your channel shut down, or even seeing the video take down. Most of the time the claimant just places ads on your video and has the money sent to their account. That’s an annoyance, but any money that is collected while the claim is in place will revert back to your account once it’s removed. Still, I normally take the video out of public view, setting it to “unlisted” so only people with a link can see it.

Note the content that has been claimed. Who is making the claim, etc… Is it AdRev? If so, then your dispute process is very easy.

Check your content. Do you in fact have the rights to use it? I’m sure you do. But dig out the library you took the music from, find the name of the track. If you can find the receipt, even better.

Research the claimant and the company making the claim. Every single time I have been flagged for copyright on my monetized videos it has been an individual making a fraudulent claim through a 3rd party. There is a guy in Denmark or somewhere that has claimed dozens of tracks from Digital Juice‘s library, and he uses AdRev to make copyright claims online. He does not own the content.

The last claim I had was from a Canadian using a French Canadian company, so much of the communication was in French. (Thank goodness for Google Translate.) This gentlemen had exported a Digital Juice audio track and added ambient waterfall and bird noise. Then he put that track on an album that is available through iTunes and Spotify. His record company was policing the content they think he owns. So a video using the same track (which I purchased from Digital Juice just like he did.) was claimed.

Contact the company making the claim. You’re first instance will be to start a dispute through the YouTube process. That process can take 30 days. And YouTube is just acting as the intermediary between you and the company. I normally go to the company first, and then start a dispute in a few days. I find that the claims are released wishing a few days.

If the claim was made by AdRev, just go to their website, and scroll to the bottom and click “contact us.” They get so many emails about this they have their contact page set up to hear your dispute. They have now added a place to upload a copy of the license for the music in question. in the past, regarding the Digital Juice tracks, I have just explained the origin of the music and reminded them that the person making the claim does not in fact own the copyright. They know this, they have heard it many times. But they still keep him as a customer and make fraudulent claims against legally used music. In every case so far (so far) the claim has been released within 24 hours. I have had to dispute music like this over a dozen times with AdRev. (One caveat, if you are using a MusicBed track, the account rep from MusicBed must contact them, otherwise they won’t release the claim.)

In other cases, with different companies, I have simply emailed and explained the mistake. I outlined where the music in question was taken from, what library and what track title. I explained the rights to use the music as it was in the video had been purchased from the company owning the library. And pointed out that the person making the claim did not in fact own the rights or have the legal right to claim the music as his own work. And asked for the claim to be released.

In the case of the Canadian, I also pointed out the differences in the audio. I had not used all of the stems from the Digital Juice tracks, and had not added the ambient noise. It was literally impossible for me to have stolen his recording and used it in my idea. the audio in my video did not actually match his. The claim was released the same day.

File a dispute through Youtube. I almost always file a dispute through the Youtube process if the claim is not released after the initial contact. Once you file a dispute, the company making the claim has 30 days to respond. If they don’t respond, the claim is removed. If they do respond and do not release the claim… well, I’ve never had that happen.

Every single time I have ever contacted a company and explained where I got the music and why I legally have the right to use it, the claim has been released. According to Youtube, if the claim is not released, you can appeal. There is another 30 day period. If the appeal is rejected a 2nd time, and the claimant requests a takedown of the video your account will get a copyright strike.

Most of the time you won’t get to this level. I never have. You can find horror stories online, but normally companies are not that difficult to deal with.

For whatever reason, some people think that buying Royalty Free music and using it in some sort of creative work means they have the exclusive right to use the track. They don’t, but their misunderstanding means you may have annoying claims on your videos. Stay calm, and politely state your case. Most of the time you can get them released without too much trouble.

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Youtube, Copyright, DMCA and AdRev

CopyrightThis morning I got a copyright claim notice from Youtube about a video I created using a song from a Digital Juice library.

That sounds worse than it is. First, I used the content legally. I purchased the right to use it in this fashion. So the claim will eventually be dismissed.

Second, even if I did “steal” the song, Youtube won’t pull it, they just place advertisements on the idea and give the money to the people who own the rights to it.

It’s annoying because I didn’t use it without having the right to do so. And now, for a while at least, I won’t get the revenue (however small) from any advertising on that video. It’s also annoying because the claim came through a very slimy company called AdRev. And a concern because Youtube takes copyright violations very seriously from it’s partner channels.

AdRev is a company that exists for the sole purpose of generating advertising revenue from Youtube content. Their selling point is that they can help content creators to monetize use of their content on “unauthorized, unofficial, and fan videos using your music.”  For a cut of the revenue, their computers scour the massive content on Youtube for music that matches their client’s library. Then they exercise their Digital Millennium Copyright Act  (DMCA) muscle and inform Youtube that a copyright infringement has occurred, and they would like to collect the money from any advertising on that content.

They do not contact the Youtube channel first, they just hijack the ad revenue, forcing the channel owner to prove they did not steal the content. In this (civil) case, guilty until you can prove your innocence. This isn’t the first time I’ve had this same company file claim (erroneously) on a video. Every time I have been able to get the claim removed. But it’s a hassle.

While legally they do not have to contact me before filing a claim, ethically, they should. It’s a slime-ball maneuver to steal my ad revenue this way. It’s not like I’m taking radio hits and using them as music beds. These are royalty-free, buy-out music tracks that are designed expressly for use in projects and videos like this one. It is highly likely that anyone using them will have the license to do so, because they are created and sold for this purpose.

I have mixed feelings about the DMCA in that, as a content creator, I’m glad that I can easily dispute the use of my copyrighted work. I do not like that without a hearing of any kind, companies like Youtube will immediately divert the ad revenue from a given video to the people claiming to own it. In my case, we’re talking pennies. But this is big enough business that companies like AdRev exist. They make enough from this sort of thing to keep on doing it.

A larger concern for me is that I am a Youtube Partner, and in order to maintain that status (and access to higher dollar ad sharing, etc…) I have to stay in good standing with Youtube. Part of that means no copyright violations. I don’t make the huge money from Youtube video ad revenue. This video won’t pay out a whole $1 in the month this dispute will last. But it’s still something from the effort involved in creating the content.

I know I didn’t violate copyright. But now I have to send proof that I can use this music track the way I did.

Youtube always initially sides with the people making the claim. They will immediately divert any revenue, or place advertisements on any content with DMCA disputes. They do not want to get sued by content creators, music studios, movie studios, etc… The last thing Youtube wants is to be thought of as place where people can violate copyright law. They are super strict, and err on the side of “don’t sue us”. That’s great if you have had your content stolen. Bad if someone makes an invalid claim against your content.

How do I get the claim removed?

This time was a bit different than previous claims, since the company I bought the music license from has undergone some changes in recent years. Previously, the simplest way to get the claim removed was to contact the rep for the music company, and they contacted AdRev to get the claim cleared. Since Digital Juice has switched to a subscription model, I am not sure how much action they will take on “legacy” customer’s behalf. I decided to attack this from 3 directions.

I gathered the details of the purchase (dates, order ID, etc…). I emailed Digital Juice’s customer service, filed a dispute with Youtube over the claim, and emailed AdRev directly. In all three instances I outlined the facts, and provided details about when I purchased the license for the track and copied the end user agreement for the content which says I can use it this way.

So, this can play out 3 ways. Digital Juice may contact AdRev and get them to remove the claim. AdRev may process my complaint and remove the claim. Or, after 30 days, Youtube should resolve the dispute in my favor.

UPDATE: That was quick.

Email from AdRev saying the claim was released. And an email from Digital Juice saying that the claim from Ad Rev is not from them, and they provided me with documents proving they own the song, and that I can use it.

It all sounds very fishy to me. The claim was removed.

I sent this reply to AdRev:

“Just so you know, Digital Juice provided me with information proving they own this copyright, and no one else. And they were not the ones who hired you. Someone is using your company to file fraudulent and inaccurate infringement claims. You guys should look into that. “

AdRev responded with “the claim is now removed” again.

Christmas in the Park

Tomorrow I get to see an idea come to life. Last year, after hearing about how churches were taking minister into the community, I came up with the idea to have our choir and orchestra take the music they already knew for Christmas and perform it in a free concert for the community. I booked an outdoor amphitheater, and we worked it all out. Everything was set, and the only day it rained in December back in 2010 was the day of the concert.

So we cancelled the event.

This year we scheduled it all again, and tomorrow we will have 2 presentations at Lake Eola’s amphitheater in downtown Orlando. No rain is expected. Choir, orchestra, singers, kids choir, and more will bring some Christmas cheer downtown. The best part is that the Gospel will be shared with people who don’t normally go to church. And it won’t be word, since at CHRISTmas it is natural to talk about Christ.

We advertised with radio, social media, and direct mail. I have no idea how many people will be there. Maybe a few hundred, maybe a couple thousand. Whoever comes, it won’t be our normal church crowd. And I’m praying for them to hear the store of Christmas, and truly believe.

UPDATE- between the two concerts, we had over 1900 people attend. We estimate that at least half of them were not attached to our church.

Wrong Worship

A few weeks ago the pastor was preaching about worship, and wanted to show how we often times go through the motions, and really don’t mean what we are singing. In fact, things might be really different if we sang what we really meant. So our worship team snagged a few songs and rewrote the lyrics. Below is the result.

Then our media team took the clip and just threw it up onto Youtube. We talked about taking the video and making it into an “infomercial” package that other churches could use as a stand alone piece, but haven’t taken the time yet.

Imagine my surprise when the video showed up in my twitter feed via about three other sources. It’s making the rounds on the net, picked up by Michael Hyatt and ChurchMag. At about 7000 views and counting, which isn’t huge numbers, but not bad for something that just got thrown up on the net. Maybe we will do that infomercial version after all.

Update: Someone threw it on Godtube (At least they gave credit for it…) so combined the views are almost at 60,000. Wow. Again, not huge numbers for the internet, but still bigger than anything we’ve put on youtube before.

Art of the Creative Vibe

Back years and years ago I worked in a recording studio. It was pretty much rented out by one producer every week. Back in the early 90s Michael Omartian worked with a lot of Christian musicians, and most of them came through the studio I worked at.

He taught me a lot about how to create creative sessions. He had this way about him. He was relaxed but confident. He found a way to relate to every person he worked with, and then when they were relaxed, he would get amazing performances out of them. If artists came in unprepared, he worked with them until they were ready and confident. To the casual observer we were often wasting time.

I remember working the the group 4 Him. It was about to be baseball season. The studio was located on a farm with a lot of space, so we would come in and play baseball for a couple hours before getting down to work. I remember marveling at the length of time we spent playing ball versus recording. But even though we spent a long time playing, when we did get to work we got a huge amount done in a very short period of time. We got more done in a few hours than some session did all day because the musicians were in the right frame of mind to be creative.

Omartian didn’t use the studio every single week, and one time another producer came in working on a project. We were doing guitar overdubs. This producer had a very different style. He was very technical. I remember one part of the song we did over 20 takes. When the player finally finished, the part was technically perfect, but devoid of any feeling. The whole session was torture, and it didn’t have to be.

People are more creative when they are relaxed. Every person is different, and you need to find out how you work and how they work and how you can best work together. If you figure that out you can do some great work together. If you don’t, you may be able to get some work done, but it won’t be as good or enjoyable.

WWDC Keynote: What Would I Like?

[Check out my Post WWDC Keynote report.]

On Monday Steve Jobs is scheduled to deliver a keynote during the WWDC, 10 AM PST. (That’s 1:00 Pm EST for us East Coast people.) Apple has indicated that this address will be completely about software. It will be concerning Lion, iOS 5, and the new iCloud service. If I had my way, what would we hear on Monday?

Lion:
Last year Apple lifted the lid on its latest OS, Lion. They showed off a lot of features that had been influenced by the touch interface they pioneered with iOS devices. There are rumors that this will be a very inexpensive upgrade, and may be available through the Mac App Store. I am pretty stoked about the touch integration. I have my track pad ready to go. I just need to not to be so different that it breaks all my production applications.

I think this will be available, in whatever form and price, the same day of the event.

iOS 5:
Apple needs to make a few improvements here. iOS is still a great operating system, but competitors have been gaining.

Supposedly Apple is completely reworking the widgets and notifications system. That is one of the major gripes people I know have about the iPhone. Android users can do all sorts of custom interfaces, but Apple has us in a very tight box. I’m used to that box, but wouldn’t mind a bit of room. I would love the ability to change up the lock screen. A few more options on how notifications work would be great, as well.

I have been hearing rumors about wireless syncing. Someone said it would only be through an Apple Time Capsule, but I cannot imagine Apple making that mistake. Forcing iOS users to buy another device just to get wireless syncing would be a mistake. I’d like to be able to sync my devices to my computer over a wifi network. (Or through a cloud based service?)

Having just gone through this, I’d like for them to address the way you move iOS devices from one machine to another. I just upgraded my laptop, and after syncing my devices and reloading them, all of my folders were gone. I still have not gotten everything back to normal.

We will be waiting a couple of months for this to drop.

iCloud:
This is the big one. I expect this won’t be ready to roll out for a couple of months but it won’t be too long because Apple really has had some pressure put on them by Amazon and Google. Neither of those cloud based streaming services are perfect, but they both offer some nice features. Apple will have to match those, and beat them, quickly.

Unlike Amazon and Google, Apple seems to have landed most (or all) of the major record labels. This should pave the way for Apple to bypass the individual locker file system, so they can store one copy of most songs on a few servers, where we who have purchased the song can stream it. Of course, this would only work with songs we have bought from iTunes. Anything else, from music to pictures to video, would be uploaded and stored by each customer.

I have been hearing a price of $20-25 annually, which is in line with the Amazon price structure. I expect songs bought through iTunes would be available for streaming without hitting whatever storage level you have. This should completely replace Mobile Me. There will be some levels of service that are free (like “Find my Phone”) and that may include a small amount of storage. Probably similar to Amazon’s 5GB level.

At the very least it must be able to do what Amazon and Google can. I am a little excited about the possibility of an integrated iOS Cloud solution. I dropped to a 16GB model iPhone this last upgrade because I have a 64GB iPad. But with my apps and content, I sometimes find storing all my music on the phone difficult. But the interface with the Amazon cloud leaves a lot to be desired. I would love a seamless experience of listening to my music on the phone, whether from files stored locally or stored in the cloud.

And, I would love to be able to stream video from the cloud to my Apple TV. Did I mention I have hundreds of GBs of videos? That ability would push me to buy a much larger storage plan. But, like many Apple services, I doubt this will be available day one.

Speaking of Apple TV:
It’s time to move this device to an app based system. I would love to see a totally new operating system. One that borrows from Roku and boxee’s channel model. One where I can add or delete all sorts of online media content. With Airplay and iCloud as its centerpiece, users could set up Netflix, Hulu Plus, and any number of other channels. I don’t expect Apple to open it up to the extent that Roku has with private channels, but this is definitely a direction I’d like to see.

One More Thing:
Of course there will be one more thing. And I think it will be the long awaited iPhone 5 announcement. (Or will it be the iPhone 4S?) Announced Monday with a fall release date. Delayed by the entrance of Verizon this year, it’s time for the annual upgrade to the iPhone line up. It will be a sort of slide-grade. I think the new model will be 64GB max, with the same processor the iPad 2 uses. I expect an 8 megapixel camera, but probably still 720p video resolution. I don’t think we will see a huge change. Some have suggested a larger display, but that won’t be until the next model. Oh, and the antenna thing will be fixed.

Unless, the old rumors of a smaller iPhone are true. Imagine an iPhone Nano, without much local storage, but tied to your iCloud account? Probably not, but iCloud does open some doors.

Amazon Cloud Player Works With iOS Devices

A few days ago several reports surfaced that Amazon had quietly upgraded the functionality of its cloud player, and now all iOS devices could use it.

I have been playing with it for a while. It streams about the same over 3G as it does over wifi, for me. There is a small lag time between tracks, but nothing you can’t handle. As the article linked above says, the controls are not designed for a small screen, so iPod/iPhone users will be scrolling a bit. You can see and use your playlists, at least the ones on top of you list of playlists (since I cannot get mine to scroll down).

This isn’t anywhere as nice as an app, or even a web app, would be. But it’s a start. As a result, i took most of my music off my 16GB phone to make room for apps and video. If need to hear a certain song that isn’t loaded, I can just use the cloud player. How long will it be before there is a reall app for this? I’ll bet people are working on it right now.

Learning From the Attempt

Yesterday we were supposed to host the Christmas in the Park @ Lake Eola Christmas Concert. I say supposed to because it rained pretty much all day, and the weather was generally not suitable for an outdoor event. I won’t go into the hours and hours of prep I personally spent on this event. I ran point on this, and was personally invested in this concert more than any other event we had all year.

I will admit that I grieved a bit on the way in to work. It was already raining and the forecast was not good. I knew that the chances of the rain stopping was pretty small. I was not ready to call the concert off. We were still loading the truck. We were moving forward like the gig was on, but the radar was not looking good.

About 11:00 AM the various weather resources were al saying the same thing: the rain would stop about 2:00, and then come back with possible storms at 5:00. That was right in the middle of the event. There was an 80% chance of rain during the event. We had to call it off before we moved 200 people to the venue just to have them all get wet and not play/sing for an audience that wouldn’t show anyway. We are lucky enough to have very nice audio gear, and letting it get wet wasn’t really something we should do.

We posted all over the web, twitter, and Facebook. We even called the radio station that helped us advertise, and they were kind enough to announce that the event was cancelled. I called or emailed every person I knew that was involved. And that was it. We unloaded the trucks, grabbed a bite to eat and I went home. I checked the radar about 5:30. To the right is a screen grab from a weather app. The green color is rain. Lake Eola is right in the middle. I don’t know how hard it was raining, but it was raining at the lake when we would have been there.

During this I realized several things. I would not do very much different. I can definitely see us trying this again, but I learned a few things from this attempt:

1. It can rain on any day, even in the dry season of Florida. Multiple day events could reduce the chances of getting completely shut out by weather. Drizzling rain and humid air play havoc with strings and woodwinds. We could look at a chamber orchestra, that wouldn’t be as badly affected by weather.

2. There is a “market” for this kind of event. From the limited response we could measure, we had a lot of people who had no connection to our church interested in coming to the event. Several hundred that we can identify, plus more we will never know. People like Christmas music, so coming to a free concert in a cool location sounds like a good idea.

The challenge is to figure out other kinds of events that will have the same hook. I’m sure we will think about doing something similar next year. But I don’t want to wait until December.

3. People will take part in this kind of ministry. We had 135 choir members, 35 orchestra players, and a couple dozen other volunteers signed up. Even though most of them had just finished a log run of Singing trees presentations, they were wiling to give up the last weekend before Christmas to do something in the community.

4. I still don’t know how and why God does what He does all the time. I knew this before, and was reminded of it again. I believe that the vision for this kind of event was from God, and continues to be something we should move toward. I do not know why the God who made the weather didn’t just blow the clouds away. As my dad says, I won’t know “this side of heaven” so I will continue to move ahead with the direction God gives.

American Idol Attracts Christian Talent

According to an MTV article, half of the top 10 this season have strong ties to Church, and may even lead worship.

I have steadfastly avoided American Idol this year, except for about 10 minutes to look at the set (always amazing what that kind of money can buy for TV), but now… maybe I will have to check it out. I hope they don’t make the same mistake Mandisa did, picking a song she liked rather than one that showcased her voice. I liked “Shackles” too and enjoy it on her first release, but she should have picked a different song that week. It was the beginning of the end.

I appreciated her willingness to witness, but if she doesn’t sing what she should to win, she doesn’t get to sing anymore on the show.