By Steve Kern

Its so easy to shoot your own video. With today’s devices anyone can do it, and so we do. We then bang some pumpin’ beats to whatever vision we’ve created and then upload our clips to the internet to share with the world.

But then comes the schoolboy error. In the excitement of cutting and posting a video of a Tough Mudder event this week, I overlooked the fact that the audio tack selected breached the artist’s copyright. Embarrassing. Inexcusable. An innocent oversight is not a defense when intellectual property (IP) theft is involved. Within the hour YouTube automation had flagged the clip and SciTechCulture had no choice but to remove the video in the face of Google’s one strike policy.

So having broken one of film-making’s golden rules, “Never use ANY musical composition without permission”, I was left to consider my crime in the context of modern Technology and Culture.

The original Google policy was designed in the early days of Youtube to prevent pure piracy, where entire clips of copyrighted material (video and music) could be uploaded and enjoyed for free. In its literal interpretation the rule is still fair and crucial in policing the channel. However, in the post-PC era content creation has evolved to a point where the way in which Google enforces these rules needs revision.

In this instance the offending clip like so many others was created and produced entirely by myself. The reality is that the purpose of the video was not to illegally disseminate the infringed material, but for the infringed material to be enjoyed as part of the new artistic creation.

Google even recognizes within its own rules that it is desirable to reconstitute (mashup) audio visual materials for personal (non-commercial) purposes. Yet if its automation detects the presence of copyrighted materials being posted to the site, it will automatically flag the video without resolving the issue. Now it is obviously not reasonable that Youtube arbitrate on each video as its uploaded, but there is nothing to stop them providing some self-regulated processes to help avoid their one-strike policy process.

Check boxes are common on the internet- why not add a couple to the upload options. It would make sense that Youtube ask if your material includes anyone else’s work without permission. A positive response would then ask you to list the title and artist as included in your work (for acknowledgement) as well as including a declaration that your work is not for commercial purposes. Naturally this would automatically remove the monetization option for the clip. Failure to check these boxes when uploading restricted material, or answering in a deliberately misleading way would the allow Youtube to throw the book at those that engage in copyright theft.

Its not a perfect solution, but its better than the current system. And considering that our tech and cultural pursuits mean personalized mashups are going to become more and more common it is probably worth Google acting on this now.

Anyway, enjoy the video, with a properly licensed track: