Guest Author - Michelle Anne Cope
Itís amazing what you can find on YouTube. Iíve watched music videos, movie clips and entire episodes of television drama series, as well as clips from comedy shows such as ďIn Living ColorĒ and ďMAD TVĒ. Iíve even caught an occasional current sketch from ďSaturday Night LiveĒ. However, it seems that some of those current sketches disappear in a day or two after being tagged as a copyright violation.
We might be seeing more videos vanish from YouTube.
It was reported this week by the Associated Press that several music publishing companies are joining a copyright infringement lawsuit. YouTube is Google Inc.'s video-sharing site, and the sharing part is what has many concerned. Just because the videos are available, itís not always legal to upload them on YouTube. YouTube does have a copyright policy and will take down clips once they are notified that they are in violation of copyright; however, it seems as if the music industry wants a stronger policy in place. They would also like to see missed royalties for the infringements paid to the rightful copyright holders.
Hmmm. . . it makes me wonder. What about all of those creative video clips that people produce on their home computer systems with music in the background? You know the ones; either they make a collaborative piece showing their art work, or something whimsical with slides of their summer vacation or their babyís first steps. If they didnít get permission or didnít write the background music Ė itís wrong. The music doesnít belong to them, and itís a copyright violation.
So, what is YouTube for?
YouTube is for the stuff that you have created Ė whether by some means of visual art, writing, or music. Your stuff - that way you don't have to worry about permission or copyright issues. Using your own material and your own creations is safe and means that you aren't stealing someone's work.
But, what if you do it accidentally? I mean, what if Iím making a video showing you some of my cartoon characters that I draw and by chance I have a radio on in the background. You can clearly hear the song. Is that a copyright violation? Yes. Believe it or not, it is.
Copyright is not a mystery topic. You can find all kinds of articles on the web that discuss the issue for both the pro and con viewpoints. The best place to get information on what you can and cannot add in your video clips, whether it is music or art, is to go to the source Ė the website for the United States Copyright Office. I have provided the link at the end of this article.
Itís interesting reading, and with so many people and organizations looking closely at the web and the things that are produced for web pages and sites, itís worth the read.
Have a great week!