Machinima Artists Guild

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Has anyone else here had problems posting a video containing out-of-copyright classical music on YouTube? If my experience is any indication, there is an extortion racket going on with people falsely claiming copyright ownership of classical music on which there is no copyright.  I'm not talking about copyrights of performances.  This is someone claiming copyright ownership of the music itself.

In my case, it was Camille Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre, arranged and performed by Kevin MacLeod ( and made available under a Creative Commons license.  I used it for my machinima of last Saturday's Skin Burn at Burn 2, Skin Burn 2012 (

YouTube immediately notified me that I had violated the copyright of "One or more music publishing rights collecting societies" and that the unidentified "society" would have the right to place ads on my machinima and collect all ad revenues from it.  I disputed the claim and YouTube immediately settled it in my favor. However if I had been intimidated and hadn't disputed it, someone else would be running ads on my machinima.

After reading all the complaints on the internet about it, I'm struck by the fact that YouTube appears to tolerate it despite the fact that, judging by the fact that they settled my dispute in my favor within minutes or less, YouTube must know that these claims by "one or more music publishing rights collecting societies" are completely bogus,

 I'm wondering what experience others here have had with this?

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Admin note: Moved from TECHNIQUES to WHERE TO PUBLISH.

I had this happen too.   After providing the creative common license, Youtube also settled in my favor.  In my case, I had to wait for a decision.  My theory is that Youtube alerts the other side that there is a challenge, and if they don't respond, automatically find in our favor.   I figure Youtube doesn't look at any of our stuff in person.  Some software does it all. 

Interesting to find I am not alone.

When I Googled it, I was surprised at just how common this is.  To me it's extortion. 

I also started reading some of the other complaints.  You are right.  Someone is trying to profit off our work.  Also, the collecting societies are the ones who get to decide if there is infringement. 

When content falls out of copyright there are entities who will re-apply for the copyright if they have a copy of the asset.  This copyright extension process has been going on for years with old movies and the entities are not always the last copyright holder.

It doesn't surprise me if someone is doing the same with music.  If YouTube settled in your favor, the entity doing the challenge probably couldn't prove ownership. 

This article from Reel SEO speak to the challenges of using public domain content in new ways.  And here's a funny one about Rumblefish going after a YouTube video that had bird songs in it.



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