Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thoughts on copyright infringement

Is it technically plagiarism if you're copying yourself? I don't know. That's one of those philosophical questions that can never be answered like "If a tree falls in the woods and squashes a squirrel, but no one is around to hear the thing get splattered, does it make a sound", or "If a pitcher stands on the mound but refuses to throw the ball, how does the game progress?" (Thanks for that one Matt)...

Anyway, this is a direct copy from my "Personal Blog" a couple days ago. Thought it was relevant here too:

/begin personal plagiarism

June 25th, 2007: "...For those of you that know me fairly well, you know that back in the Summer of 2005 I created a "World Series Tribute Video" for the '04 Red Sox. I made a DVD out of it, posted it on my personal website, and also put it up on YouTube. As of this past weekend, it had gotten over 50,000 page views, was listed as a favorite video by over 500 users, and had been linked to in over 150 other websites (mostly MySpace, but not all).

I'd post a YouTube link to it for everyone to enjoy (for the first time, or all over again), but there's a slight problem. This morning, I opened my Gmail account, and found the following e-mail from the good people at YouTube:

Subject - Video Removed: Copyright Infringement
Dear Member:

This is to notify you that we have removed or disabled access to the following material as a result of a third-party notification by MLB Advanced Media claiming that this material is infringing:

2004 World Series Champions Tribute: (That link obviously no longer works)

Please Note: Repeat incidents of copyright infringement will result in the deletion of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to avoid future strikes against your account, please delete any videos to which you do not own the rights, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about YouTube's copyright policy, please read the Copyright Tips guide.If you elect to send us a counter notice, please go to our Help Center to access the instructions.

Be aware that there may be adverse legal consequences in your country if you make a false or bad faith allegation of copyright infringement by using this process.

YouTube, Inc.

Now, when I made the video, I made very certain to list all of the sources from which I culled still photos, audio & video clips, and listed all of the information in the video itself at the end - you know, where the credits for most videos are found. I thought this would be sufficient to make sure that everyone knew that I had taken none of the photos, filmed none of the video, and recorded none of the audio myself, but had instead compiled other people's work into my own video. The key is, I made very sure to give credit to the original owners - I even put "Credit Where Credit Is Due" as the title of my end credits. Not to mention I wasn't selling the video for any type of monetary gain - it was posted freely for anyone to watch and enjoy without cost.

I'm no copyright lawyer, but I truly thought I was covered. Guess not. Meh. If you want to see the video (it's about thirteen-and-a-half minutes long), leave a comment or send an e-mail and I'll direct you to where you can find it. All I ask is that you save it to your computer and don't stream it from my webserver - it will kill the bandwidth and make my web host extremely unhappy. Oh, and that if you repost it or show other people, you tell them where it came from. Who knows - maybe I'll get an offer from Hollywood!..."

/end personal plagiarism

As for sports updates, I think I'll try to get on here tomorrow with some thoughts about the NBA Draft (!?!?) and all the trade rumors heading up to it. Looks like my "Random Trade Rumor" might actually happen now, or something close to it...


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At 2:27 PM, Blogger Brian in Oxford said...

John Fogerty once got sued for plagiarism because one of his solo songs sounded like a CCR song -- he was sued by the copyright holder to his older songs.

But the judge said you can't be sued for plagiarizing yourself, and I believe it was thrown out.


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