There was an interesting article that appeared in the New York Times on Monday called, “As Rights Clash on YouTube, Some Music Vanishes.” A dispute has arisen between YouTube, which is owned by Google, and Warner Music over copyright laws of its music videos. However, a spokesperson for Time Warner stated that “YouTube’s system for identifying copyrighted material does not distinguish between professionally made music videos and amateur material that may include copyrighted works.” As a result, thousands of videos that were homemade or produced by regular users that may have contained a song were removed.
The dispute goes back to December when Warner and Youtube failed to come to an agreement on a licensing deal that would allow Warner to be paid a cut of Youtube’s advertising revenue in exchange for use of its company’s music videos, which led to Warner removing videos from the site.
This would have a huge impact on Youtube, considering that six of its top 10 most popular videos are music videos and it relies heavily on advertising as a source of revenue. While some may argue that YouTube is made of user-generated content and that these users do not profit from it, others may respond that these videos are nevertheless being shown on YouTube, which is a moneymaking enterprise.
The underlying issue of this whole dispute, however, is the interpretation of copyright laws in the digital age. With the arrival of the internet, it has become easier than ever to take copyrighted material, such as a song, and reproduce it in a way to make it into your own unique product.