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A recent story on copyright infringement

A recent story on copyright infringement

posted on #1
Dick Supporter
Posts: 2773
Joined: Dec 30, 2010
Hey fellow wikiloopers,

My aim today is to share a recent copyright infringement cases story with you.
as you will see in a minute, there is quite a lot of food for thought in this one,
and I'm hoping some of you will appreciate that.
I believe it may also be another good way to point out some of the changes the digital music market is and has been going thru, but let me get started with my tale:

Everything started with some wikilooper who (after asking all other involved musicians for permission) created a video for a collaboration and shared that on youtube.
This had nothing to do with the current wikiloops video collaboration by the way, it was one of the usual "user created videos" we often get to see in the forum here, and which are fine to do by all means.

Shortly after publishing the video, said user received a copyright infringement claim via YouTube, which stated the used audio track belonged to some other artist, who was being represented by the music submission service CDBaby.

When searching the stated artists name on the web (mind, only some artist name alike to your wikiloops user names was known), it turned out the rights-claiming track had been published on pretty much every known commercial music platform, including iTunes, deezer, spotify, amazon music and so on.

The track offered there was not identical to the freshly created track which our fellow user had just created the video for,
but by listening closely and checking the alternative remix branches on wikiloops,
it turned out the song that had gone onto the digital markets was a different branch of the same drums + guitar template as used in the video.
It also contained a different bass line which is present on wikiloops, and some additional vocals of unknown origin.

Understandably, there was a bit of outrage among the wikiloops users who were involved in creating the track which went for sale.

This feeling was voiced quite prominently on facebook, and while there was a general consent that this type of breach of the "non commercial use only" legal frame of the wikiloops public license should not be tolerated, there was some confusion about what to do, as more and more store listings of the track in question were discovered.

At that stage, one of the involved wikiloops musicians turned to me to inquire if there was any way in which wikiloops was going to go after this breach of copyrights,
and I pointed out that the wikiloops project is not capable of hiring a team of international lawyers to take such cases to court, and that wikiloops can not act as some sort of proactive artist representation agency.
Such services exist, but as you will understand, the ideas of sharing music for the fun of it and of protecting music for the sake of revenue do not go together well.
I was willing to help regardless, but I do feel it is important all of you are aware of the limits of what the wikiloops project can afford to promise. Legal representation is not included in wikiloops scope of service, you know.

So what did we do?
I offered to help and coordinate the process a little bit.
Since the service CDBaby rang a bell with me, I was pretty sure they were the ones responsible for listing the track in all digital stores - that's what they earn their money with. So, instead of contacting all of the digital marketplaces one by one, I suggested to try to tackle the problem at its root, by getting in touch with CDBaby.

After a quick inquiry on how to report a copyright violation, the first step to solve the issue was to get the involved wikiloops users written consent to file a copyright claim in their (real world) names.
This was quickly set up via wikiloops PM and allowed me to file the claim in their name.

I added the mandatory background information to how we were able to proove (part of) the track that was submitted via CDBaby originated on wikiloops.
Since the upload dates and the uploaders IP-addresses of the three involved remix steps are available in the wikiloops database and dated back a lot earlier than the submission via CDBaby,
the CDBaby representants had little reason to doubt our claim was rightfull.

They took down the track immediatly from their own CDBaby store, and waited for the person who submitted the "stolen" track to them to react to the claim.
After a waiting period of ten days, no reaction seems to have been received, and now they are de-listing any digital marketplace listings of said song.
Eventually, the audio fingerprint that had been registered on YouTubes Content ID tracking system (which caused the whole story here) will be removed as well.
These clean up moves will take up to a month I am told.

I believe there is a lot to be learned from this story, be it:
- to re-think ones own expectations on the protection status of (y)our music
- to muse about the quality of the Content-ID system on YouTube, which could match the different branches of a shared drums + guitar track, even tho there were different basses and vocals
- to understand one doesn't necessaryly need a lawyer to settle such cases, and to understand how wikiloops data can serve as proof of ownership

I do hope you enjoyed the read,
and I'd be happy to answer questions or to ellaborate, so feel free to ask or comment.
If you ever wonder what keeps me busy in the wikiloops engine room and why I'm frequently asking for donations to wikiloops, please think of stories like this one.

Thanks to the involved musicians for reaching out to me,
I hope everybody is fine with me not stating any user names or track IDs in this story.
Now, have a nice weekend
posted on #2
ROBJOL Supporter
Posts: 287
Joined: Jul 26, 2012
Hi Dick,
I read this message with great interest.
As an active member on wikiloops, my main goal is to create music with very good musicians here. I do it for the pleasure. I know exactly the limits of a site like this one. I would not like that it becomes a thief tracker. I also know that some people would not hesitate to steal because there are very "professionnal" creations here.

I know all that but I may surprise you if I say that I don't really mind. I am full of ideas and I know that I can create again and again. This is not the case for those who steal other's ideas and music.

I know that since my first participation here. I don't like robbers but what can I do. I accept with great pleasure that others musicians use my tracks for their own pleasure, even if in my sense it doen't always fit. Others may have the same feelings.

I don't put a monetary value on what I do here. So if someone steals what I do, I just say that it is a shame but I start another song.
Stay cool Dick, we like you like that.
posted on #3
adu Supporter
Posts: 257
Joined: Feb 1, 2014
Good statement Rob!! Thumbs!
posted on #4
Posts: 79
Joined: May 11, 2015
ROBJOL wrote:
I know that since my first participation here. I don't like robbers but what can I do. I accept with great pleasure that others musicians use my tracks for their own pleasure, even if in my sense it doen't always fit. Others may have the same feelings.
I don't put a monetary value on what I do here. So if someone steals what I do, I just say that it is a shame but I start another song.
Stay cool Dick, we like you like that.

Robert, I agree.
We all know the rules well.
No matter being copied (or stolen) we each have the resource. And our notes are taken, but not our play.
posted on #5
Wade Supporter
Posts: 492
Joined: Nov 25, 2013
Thanks Richard. Good story and good outcome. It also says a lot that's good about DCBaby. If you were dealing with one of the big corporations they know that you won't have the financial wherewithal to take them to task as they can wear you down financially with postponements, appeals, etc.

Luck was on your side that the publisher was honest, reputable and willing to do the right thing. Nice to know that there are a few out there like that.

Kudos to you for taking up the challenge.
posted on #6
Posts: 111
Joined: Jul 11, 2015

How My Music Was Plagiarized for Profit and How I Fought Back By Jeremy Limm

IMHO if i post something here i pretty much expect it to end up in unusual places. My private tracks are registered with BMI and also include digital audio watermarks. BMI has a legal team.

However anytime I put anything here on the loops , I am honoring Dicks rules and that may mean he has no control of songs that go elsewhere.
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