So last week I posted my first lower-body ROM workout video. The first people that saw it got the full experience just fine – they laughed, they cried, they were inspired. So imagine my surprise a couple days later when my buddy Andrew Tatum (who just had his first baby, btw) comments on the vid and says “This is much, much more hilarious without the sound…where’s the sound, friend?”
No sound?! Well, then I check my Inbox to find out that YouTube has emailed me – one No Reply. Mr. Reply cut straight to the point: “Your video, First ROM Leg Workout!, may have audio content from Believe by Cher that is owned or licensed by WMG. As a result, your video has been muted.”
Silenced by Cher??
Now I’d like to think that Cher had nothing to do with this, personally. She seems like a decent woman. But clearly, these ‘WMG’ people she’s hired are a bit over-protective, not to mention too much time on their hands. I mean, c’mon, who gets paid to watch every single YouTube upload and determine if one’s violating their interpretation of copyright? In an era of massive layoffs, this job just screams ‘pork.’
(The infamous silenced video itself)
But the bottom line is, What to do? I majored in Journalism in undergrad. I’ve taken a Media Law class. And what we all came away with in that class is that a.) Intellectual property rights are a big deal, and b.) We have no idea how they ought to work on the World Wide Web. It’s an evolving phenomenon. As a creator myself, I wouldn’t want someone misusing my work, particularly for profit. But seeing as a.) It’s a pretty low-quality recording, b.) It’s not for profit, c.) It’s all in good fun, I don’t see where I’m violating “fair use.” YouTube’s Copyright Dispute page points to a page with four factors to self-diagnose fair use:
- the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- the nature of the copyrighted work;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Siiiiiiiiigh. I dunno. It seems to me that my use of ‘Believe’ by Cher falls under ‘parody’ kinda, utilizing the song as background music in a fun kind of way that, if anything, gives publicity to this has-been pop-radio hit. But what do I know?
Now had this happened a month ago, I would have momentarily raised my fist in the air, and then done nothing. After all, I’m not a lawyer, and I can’t afford one for something like this, can I? Oh, but now I can – thanks to the friendly folks at Pre-Paid Legal! A few weeks ago I signed up for Pre-Paid Legal’s Family Legal Services Plan with Identity Theft Shield. A friend of mine had become an independent PPL associate and suggested I check ou the service. Basically, for $35.95 a month I get:
- Preventative legal services – including legal consultation & advice by phone, letters written & phone calls made by lawyers on my behalf (up to two a year for my small business too), contract and document review, and will preparation for Jasmin & I for just $20.
- Motor vehicle legal services – including help with traffic tickets and (God forbid) defense in the event of Manslaughter & Vehicular Homicide charges
- Trial defense services – including up to 60 hours legal defense for civil or job-related criminal charges
- IRS audit services – basically advice & representation if the Tax Man comes after you
- Identity theft shield – round-the-clock credit report monitoring, licensed investigation, and identity restoration should virtual baddies usurp our good digital names
I thought that was a pretty good deal. After all, lawyers are expensive – so pricey, that we rarely utilize their services when we just have a basic question about our rights in a given situation – in my present case, me vs. Cher. So I got the service, and I decided to become an independent associate myself. After all, I know a ton of church planters, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and others who would benefit from having a full legal team on a shoestring budget. If you’re interested in the service – or looking for an income opportunity – feel free to visit my PrePaidLegal page and sign up. You can also email me at morrell.michael [at] gmail [dot] com if you have any questions.
So today, I’m going to call my lawyer. I can’t guarantee that the audio will be restored to my ROM lower-body video – the call might simply be an education on the latest nuances of Internet copyright law – but at least I’ll know. And knowing, as they say, is half the journey.