DMCA Horror Stories

By BoyInABargainBin

It wasn’t a takedown, but still under complete abuse of the copyright system. The claimant was an independent artist named “Colin Dix” who makes electronic music using GarageBand and Logic’s loops. One of these loops was used in our review of Mirror’s Edge. Just about a month ago, I received a notice that I had “infringed copyright” with the song we created for the review, and one of Dix’s songs titled “Apollo pt.5 “ where he used the same backing loop.

There were many things wrong about this claim. Starting with the most obvious, Logic and GarageBand loops are royalty free, once you purchase the program. You are licensed to use these loops in your original projects on the occasion you do not release the loops as their own track. Whatever the case, we were in legal right to use this particular loop, as was Dix. However, we did not use his specific song, as we added onto the track and made it a separate song. Dix, however, took advantage of the first few seconds of the song where we use the same loop and claimed our video. At first, I would have thought that he just heard the first few seconds and instantly claimed, acting without thinking or listening to the rest of it. As I researched his song, however, I was led to believe something else.

Dix’s song released in December of 2015. My review released November of 2014. Looking into him further, I discovered his music and realized that this artist barely sees any traction, and is trying everything to get his name out there. Seeing how he claimed our video and chose not to take it down, but take our ad revenue, this leads me to believe that Dix saw our content and thought it would be a good way to take money I’m earning using the loops him and I are licensed to use. I have to believe that this man knew he had no viable case when he claimed us, and either thought we don’t pay attention to our channel, or he could gain whatever he could in the time it takes for YouTube to realize that the claim was bogus.

I didn’t feel the need to “go public” about this for many reasons, one of which is I didn’t think this deserved a big fuss. Just a small artist trying to make a quick buck off of someone who’s not that popular on YouTube. The joke was ultimately on him, as we make barely a cent on that video anyway. I am fortunate that I don’t make my living off of creating YouTube content, but this whole “affair” got me really thinking about the people that do. If someone as tiny as this guy can so easily abuse this system and take our own revenue, anyone can aim for bigger or even smaller channels. I think about those who spend every single day to work on their content, only to have their only recompense taken away by someone posing as a company or anyone else.

As I type this, I realize that there is a connection here on the other side of this major argument, those who stand behind today’s copyright laws. I do find it true that other, bigger artists/creators don’t want their profit taken away. In that, though, you have to realize how specific each situation is. Because bigger companies and other claimants see that there are people misusing copyright, they end up categorizing ANYTHING without their approval as “copyright infringement” or “damaging” to their profit. The entire deal with copyright nowadays has to be more specific to the situation.

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Takedown abuse has gone too far.

For years, huge companies like Sony, Disney, and Comcast have been abusing the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) to take down enormous swaths of online content, using automated software that ignores Fair Use rights and frequently misidentifies music and videos as copyrighted. Despite the fact that the system is already weighted in their favor, these companies are arguing that the DMCA doesn’t go far enough to give them control over online content. It's time to fight back against takedown abuse!

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