Addendum: YouTube Music vs. YouTube’s ContentID System
This wasn’t clear at first, so further explanation is necessary
Please see the previous article by clicking here, or just go ahead and let me get to the point with the following — the details may be different, but I don’t think they’re contradictory.
Clutching My Pearls For A Minute
So I’ve registered and distributed all 12 of my official releases to YouTube Music. Two (2) LPs, and 10 EPs as of this writing. The point of writing my original essay was to think through how or why Audiam could play gate-keeper to my rightful royalties instead of through YouTube. A little math:
Instead of Audiam asking for $14.99 as a fee for the lot, they ask for $14.99 per release. That comes to $180, which, to me, seems a lot to kick back some pennies. Maybe I’m not alone in looking at $180 and thinking I probably won’t recoup that money in my lifetime from potential ContentID hits, unless, well, something goes viral enough to the point where people care who made the music. That’s such a long-shot in my opinion that I’m going to go with the baseline assumption that they’re asking more for a service than it’s worth.
So What’s the YouTube Music vs. YouTube ContentID Thing?
As a 100% rights holder I try my best to evaluate my options and make peace with a necessary trade off. For something like YouTube Music, it’s a business decision: I appreciate the exposure, they pay very little fiscally in return. It’s a risk-vs-reward proposition.
Once those files are being hosted by YouTube, in my perspective, that should automatically “grandfather” me in to the ContentID system which should recoup royalty pennies from unsanctioned works — not offshore that responsibility to a third party organization (or the artist via DMCA takedowns) because they’re already in possession of the authorized files.
Click the link, it’s worth a quick glance. I know, legalese isn’t fun. But I don’t make the rules, I read the rules.
It simply doesn’t make logical sense to me that YouTube can both take a stance of hosting with authorization, and yet claim ignorance when they have a system already set up which identifies infringement.
To me that’s a direct violation of the spirit or letter of the law with regards to DMCA 512 Safe Harbors. Ignorance is kind of the crux, and when YouTube knows of ownership, yet allows infringement to happen, that’s not the responsibility of a collection society (which I don’t want to join by gun-barrel-negotiation). This is their sandbox, they made their own platform, and it seems like they are having it both ways — again, this is a personal impression being shared because I think the reasoning makes sense.
I don’t think YouTube or RIAA/BMI/ASCAP/Audiam/etc stop to consider that there might be exceptions to their hammered out deals. Musicians like me are probably more of an annoyance than a viable market to them. Yet I’m looking at the rules on the books and measuring it against my situation.
The rules on the books do matter. I think that I’ve spent a lot of time and effort to maintain ownership and rights in spite of such a fractured system, and over time, when I find a gap that has no real grounding to exist, I’m interested in hammering on the scenario where I have standing. This isn’t hypothetical academic musing, so to speak, this is taking stock of the facts at hand and using them to seek clarity.
So, if there’s one question I want answered, it’s this one:
How can YouTube Music host files, have ContentID in place, and claim that they have no responsibility to pay Copyright owners when another file they host uses that content without a verifiable license?
When it comes to case law, to setting precedent, there has to be somebody with standing who is willing to challenge the way things are set up based on the laws written. I’m a front-row-center type of nerd when it comes to Copyright and Tech Industry overlap, and, as I stated earlier, not affiliated with any professional trade organization. I only speak for myself, and I represent myself. Honestly I’d love to get a statement from YouTube’s lawyers on this one, because I ain’t signing no NDA or taking any of this down if it might have hit a monetary femoral artery.