Silenced by Cher! 1st ROM Lower-Body Workout Vid MUTED by THE MAN! What I’m Gonna Do About It

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:

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. 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?

I don’t.

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.

5 Responses to Silenced by Cher! 1st ROM Lower-Body Workout Vid MUTED by THE MAN! What I’m Gonna Do About It

  1. Pete Gall February 4, 2009 at 4:00 pm #

    Dude, that’s pure “looks-ism” — a harsh and ugly psychic scar left on the recording industry, and anyone with a reason to use exercise equipment, from the 1981 Olivia Newton John video for “Physical.”

    Looksism. Until you’re in the right workout room, you’re in the wrong one.

    You may also have appeared to be too straight for Cher’s brand:

    In either case, you’ve got a great case to pursue!

  2. zoecarnate February 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm #

    “looks-ism” … are you callin’ me ugly? 🙂

  3. mrpages February 4, 2009 at 8:09 pm #

    The Electronic Freedom Foundation is looking for people who have had this happen to use as test cases in a legal battle.

    Look here:

  4. Alan Hartung February 4, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    Mike –

    Glad you’re getting use out of your PPL membership already (in addition to preparing your will, of course…)

    It’s actually 75 hours for being sued or work-related criminal 😀

    And if you don’t mind me adding one of my favorite “peace of mind” benefits… The Legal Shield gives you 24/7 access to an attorney if you’re in an accident, arrested or detained by the police, served with a warrant, or if child protective services tries to take your kids. Not even some wealthy people I know could get an attorney at midnight if they’re in an accident…


  1. ROM: Ohh Yeah! « zoecarnate - May 15, 2009

    […] without being in edit mode? I want to browse their database of pre-approved music to avoid the Cher muting snafu I suffered a coupla months back, but I want to see their offerings enough in advance that I can do […]

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