Music copyright claim :/
A few days ago I got an email that one of my videos has been claimed and monetised by someone else. It made me so angry! These claim are usually frivolous, and since I knew that I’d made the video, I thought I’d just counterclaim. However, it turns out that this claim was due to the music.
When I originally chose the music for the video, I had been very mindful of copyright issues and had made sure to seek out a music track that was free to use. I had found the great track “Gentle Marimba by Alastair Cameron” on http://freemusicarchive.org where it was declared that the music was licensed under the CC BY 3.0 license. This license essentially states that the item in question is free to use for any purposes as long as attribution is given. I dutifully gave this in the form of a link in the video’s description as seen below:
Now you’ll also notice that the license also states that “The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms”. However, the reality is that it’s now 2018, the track has been deleted from the FreeMusicArchive website, and I’ve been handed a copyright claim. I could file a counterclaim and try to defend my position, but I know that once I go down that road, it could involve lawyers, lots of money, and hey – maybe the author of the song wasn’t the one to upload the music to FreeMusicArchive, and it was never truly licensed CC BY 3.0 – how can I possible know?
All’s not lost tho’ right? I can just replace the song with something from YouTube library (which is free)? Nope – YouTube says I’m not allowed to remove the song as the video has had too many views 🙁
It’s ok tho’ – I can contact YouTube, and ask them to make a exception? They’d understand that I tried my best to do everything correctly by the book, that I was extremely proud of my Pokemon cross-stitch video and its 164,000 views, that a previously CC-licensed track that I had used was now seemingly not, and they’d let me change the music, right?
Again no – as of a few months ago, YouTube decided to change the terms of its YouTube Partner Program, and since my videos didn’t have enough yearly hours of watch time, and my channel not enough subscribers, my channel no longer qualified. This wasn’t a problem at the time – I figured I’d slowly keep adding content and would eventually cross these thresholds – but YouTube only allows email enquiries if you are a member of the YouTube Partner Program. So rather than getting a soul crushing boilerplate rejection email from YouTube, so I can’t even *talk* to them.
So at this point I am stuck between – my video is uneditable and someone else has put ads on it and is getting money from it. If I delete the video and re-upload it, I will lose all the comments, views, likes, and all of the links on the internet that linked to the video will now point to nothing.
I am really annoyed, as if you search on Google, you can find many videos each using this track and citing the CC BY-3.0 license, so I know that it wasn’t solely my mistake. A bit more hunting shows that although Alastair’s site currently states that his music is available for licensing, the Internet Archive Wayback Machine has archived pages from his site back in 2012 where it talks about free music being licensed under CC, and low and behold, Gentle Marimba is listed under the Free Music > Gentle pages.
This just makes me wary of using anything licensed as being free to use/CC, as if the author turns around and says “actually it’s not free, pay me”, how can I fight that – especially if they’ve then “licensed” it to a media company who presumably have lawyers?! As I am not a YouTube partner I even can’t get their support to help me remove the music.
In the end I think I will delete my old video and unfortunately say goodbye to the likes, comments and view count – I really appreciate all of your support. Thank you! It just makes me mad that someone can say “here – free music”, and then 5 years down the road turn around and say “oh no – I’ve changed my mind – I want all the money i can get from everyone, it is not free anymore!”