March 23, 2009

Pushing the Limit [9:31 am]

(I’d have posted this sooner, but at least one of the subsidiary content sources on the NYTimes home page is hanging browsers, and I had to work though which functionality I could drop — and which I needed — to see the NYTinmes’ page today)

A criminal outbreak, or a problem with the law — pushing the limit like this means we’ll get closer to hearing a real decision, but it also means that there’s going to be a lot of pain in the interim: Rights Clash on YouTube, and Videos Vanish (pdf)

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.

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