Archive for January, 2009
Remember the guy who did that fantastic “John Williams A Capella Tribute” video? Guess what happened to his video on January 18.
Now CNet has picked up the story and it’s making people angry that Warner Brothers has claimed copyright infringement against Corey Vidal.
Vidal makes his living by creating YouTube videos. He’s a member of the company’s YouTube Partners program. This allows him to sell some of the advertisements that accompany his clips and pocket the money. He says that his videos see about 3.4 million to 4 million views per month and YouTube is his only source of income. As for how much he makes, Vidal only will say it’s enough for him to live comfortably.
Vidal hit the jackpot with his tribute to Williams. YouTube featured it on the site’s front door. He says for a time the clip was generating a million views each day and was nominated for a “People’s Choice Award” at CBS, parent company of CNET News.
I shared it here in November.
I have a Google alert that lets me know when my name appears in a news story. It’s not vanity; it’s knowing who’s saying what. This way if someone might claim to have interview me and didn’t, I know (for example).
My name wasn’t mentioned in this story (I heard about it via a comment on my video) but my case is mentioned at the end:
In another case, a Pennsylvania woman is suing rocker Prince and Universal Music for accusing her of copyright violation for including a brief snippet of Prince’s music in a video of her baby. Universal and Prince dropped their copyright claims against the woman and her video has returned to YouTube.
I’m no lawyer, but Stallone’s case sounds very similar.
Stallone’s case is this:
That’s what (Frank, no relation) Stallone, the former DJ, says he needs. He says he doesn’t think using 45 seconds of a song is breaking any law, but he doesn’t have anywhere to go to get legal help. Also, he said he was discouraged by some of the language in the takedown notice YouTube sent him. Specifically, this passage: “There are very few valid reasons for disputing a claim,” YouTube wrote in the notice. “Submitting an invalid dispute can result in penalties against your account.”
I thought maybe the record companies were pulling back a bit on the takedown notices. Apparently not. Now that this deal with Warner has fallen through, I’ve heard every day about dozens of videos being removed b/c of complaint by Warner (which, ironically, used to be Prince’s label).
Maybe the RIAA thinks that in this economy people will be less likely to fight back for some reason.Maybe they think people will just roll over, as they’re used to people doing.
BTW: The ABA article is up, complete with photo. Here’s a photo I took of Holden while the photographers were setting up.
Thordora called for guest posts. Since I suggested it, I figured I should offer her something. Feel free to comment here, there or on both.
“In my stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.”
– Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene iv
Same goes for fame, such as it is. More often than being born famous, achieving fame or having it thrust upon you, fact is that in today’s world a lot of people seek fame. Hell, they crave it. When you can get a paycheck and a swanky (albeit temporary) place to live so long as you agree to put your life on display for entertainment, it’s going to create a culture of famewhores – people who will do anything, no matter how base, to have their names known.
Thordora is not one of them. Nor am I. Yet we belong to a sort of club: everyday women whose names are known beyond their circle of intimate friends because of something that happened on the Internet. In Thordora’s case, it was a Twitter message (I think the proper term is “tweet” but I’m not as up to date on the hep lingo the kids use these days). In my case, it was a video of my kids playing in my kitchen.
In both cases, when the stories were analyzed in blogs and on the news, we were judged. I was judged with a lot less criticism than Thordora got. People pretty much take my side or play devil’s advocate, something I’m extremely grateful for. Going through what I go through dealing with this lawsuit and its fallout is taxing on the brain and body; having support from strangers is remarkably strengthening. In Thordora’s case, the support has come less completely but I have seen strangers take her side, defend her and stand up to those who would tear her down for her innocent remark.
If her message had been dialogue in a book or a screenplay, the action would have the character speaking it flop down on a sofa and cover her eyes with her arm, exhausted and weakly venting to anyone in earshot. Some people, including those who turned her tweet into High Drama, would have us imagine her saying it with a pillow clutched in her fists, her face twisted and her eyes alight with a manic fire. And to imagine those words coming from that character, well, Stephen King would rip the paper out of the Olivetti typewriter, crumple it and call it “unbelievable.” Which it is.
Now people are trying to twist the story around, to have us believe that Thordora wrote her message with the intent of getting famous. I’ve often read similar comments about myself: the insinuation that I put a video of my children on YouTube hoping to get famous from it. Neither Thor nor I are fame-seekers. If I’m going to be famous for something, I’d rather it not be something like a video of my children. And I’m certain that, even if she sought fame in any way, Thor would prefer it to be something positive, not this manufactured kerfluffle.
Still, common sense doesn’t usually reign on the Internet (or IRL for that matter) and people will say what they like. They’ll blame Thordora’s bipolar disorder for their irrational judgments. They’ll say I relish going on TV (so not true; I hate seeing myself on TV).
Thordora refuses her interview requests, hoping that the whole thing will go away and that she can go back to her writing (her marvelously eloquent, heartfelt/gutwrenching writing) and her life. I take just about every interview I’m offered. Why, if I’m not among the famewhores? I’m comfortable doing them and I want people to know that this happened to me and it can happen to them. I want people to know that you don’t just have to sit back and take what a bully dishes out to you, whether it’s sending cops into the bedroom of your peacefully sleeping child or removing your video from the Internet simply because they feel like it. It’s for people like Thordora, who really just want to be left in peace but also want to enjoy their right to free speech and free expression.
And if “fame” is one of the side effects of that, it’s okay. I don’t consider myself (or my son) to be “famous” and I don’t want to be famous (quotes or not). In both of our cases, we had fame thrust upon us, even though our responses are slightly different.
In my opinion, she already had the greatness.
The viruses my computer can’t shake are lebapide, mebozihi and pasugusa. I know this b/c every time I start or reboot the computer, it still tries to run them. I’ve now downloading Rising AV b/c it has an anti-root program. If this doesn’t work, I’ve heard good things about Avast. Failing that, I’ll have to take it to Geek Squad.
The main reason I’m so incredibly pissed off is that this is the computer with Holden’s dance video on it. And I specifically told Nina to be careful about the sites she visited if she went online in our house. So now our evidence is in danger. Luckily we backed up the hard drive when we found out that UMG might claim the computer as evidence. But in any case, I don’t think it was that difficult an instruction to follow: don’t visit junk sites (and do not go anywhere near those free music sites you use at home).
I don’t even know what to say about the Thordora situation. I will say what I told her via e-mail today. I was reading Mr Punch last night and I noticed the dedication. It was to Gaiman’s daughter “who is too big to throw out of the window” and McKean’s “who is.” Are Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean going to throw their children out the window? They wrote that in public. I wonder if anyone called the police.
Presumably the gigantic success of social networking sites is to do with some previously inchoate longing to belong to a community, the bigger and more global, the better; equally, there are virtues in belonging, or in feeling as if you do, and Facebook, Twitter and their ilk do no harm: they may even do good.
What is new is the sense that nothing exists until you broadcast it; that anything subjective and experienced privately is of little worth. An unborn child’s kick, for instance, used to be a secret, a tiny communication between the mother and her baby; when I was pregnant, I hated people putting their hand on my stomach unasked. I know tweeting foetal movements isn’t the same as being groped by strangers, but it seems to me there is some overlap. We’ve all invaded our own privacy and gone too far to turn back: it’s only a matter of time before someone tweets the prelude to conception, blow by blow.
I’m 100% sure that kind of Twitterer exists. Now if I could only follow him…