May 15, 2016
Let me say at the outset, if you’re not a creative artist, chances are the story I am about to share with you might result in a shrug.
“Not my problem,” you might say.
Well, maybe it is. I’ll explain why at the end.
So what’s the story?
From time to time, I have been getting copyright notices from Youtube (Google) according to which some corporation somewhere around the world claimed a copyright for some of the music I had recorded. Here’s, for example, one such message I got on May 13:
Copyright owner using Content ID claimed some material in your video.
This is just a heads up
Don’t worry. You’re not in trouble and your account standing is not affected by this.
There are either ads running on your video, with the revenue going to the copyright owner, or the copyright owner is receiving stats about your video’s views.
If there are no problems, you don’t need to take any action. You don’t need to delete your video.
Since the Youtube/Google said there are no problems, I have been mostly ignoring these messages. Until now.
Something made me dig a little deeper into one particular claim. It was about my June 2009 recording of a tune from “Chorus Line,” the musical – https://youtu.be/UNKzp7bF65M. I am the only performing artist, playing my own rendition of this song without any sheet music, on my own piano, and filming it using my own camera.
“How can somebody claim a copyright on a recording like that?” I wondered. “A recording cannot be any more original than that.”
And then the penny dropped. My research turned up three companies that had the gall to do that. They evidently want to be able to sell their ads under my music video and thus make money off of it.
“So it’s all about greed,” I concluded. “These companies want to steal my art, slap a fraudulent copyright, and try to cash in on my creative gifts.”
ART SHOULD BE FREE, AND HERE’S WHY…
That made me angry.
The whole point of my creating and sharing things with people is their spiritual enlightenment. That’s why they are FREE. That’s why I have never tried to make money off my musical or other creative gifts. BECAUSE WE CO-CREATE IT WITH SPIRIT, AND THUS WE SHOULD NOT OWN IT OUTRIGHT. Unless we first pay royalties into some Divine bank. 🙂
And yet here are these shysters trying to do it instead. And worse, Google is siding with them.
“Of course, Google is a corporation,” I thought. And birds of a feather flock together.
So I got my dander up and filed a counterclaim. I appealed Youtube/Google’s decision to honor such a fraudulent claim, and accused them of collusion with these three corporate fraudsters (see the image – left).
I got a reply from Youtube/Google within 24 hours.
“After reviewing your dispute, Kobalt Music Publishing has decided that their copyright claim is still valid,” they wrote.
Who the hell is Kobalt Musik, I wondered? So I looked them up. It turns out they are a British company based in London. http://www.kobaltmusic.com/page-contact.php. “Chorus Line” is a Marvin Hamlisch musical which became a hit on Broadway in the 1970s. In other words, it has nothing to do with any Kobalt Music or any other British company.
Their copyright claim was plain FRAUD for the sake of GREED. And by siding with them, Youtube/Google became an accomplice to it. As if wanting to confirm that conclusion, today, I got another notice from Youtube. Same thing. Only this time it was my Mozart concert honoring the great composer on the 222nd anniversary of his death.
COPYRIGHT FRAUD – A SYMPTOM OF SOCIETAL DECAY
“Our society is getting rotten to the core,” I told Elizabeth today over breakfast, as I explained to her what had happened. “It just sickens me that everything seems to revolve around money.”
“And you know what,” I continued. “Mozart and Beethoven would also be sickened to see this.”
The great composers freely collaborated with each other and would have never dreamed of charging for their art, beyond the concert ticket or sheet music sales. They mostly depended on sponsorship by appreciative fans, typically well-heeled aristocrats.
Composers in Europe were generally supported by wealthy patrons… It was not until the 1886 Bern Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works that an international agreement on copyright was made. Originally, 9 countries signed the text created at the Berne Convention. Since then, the text has been amended six times and has now been signed by over 130 countries.
As for myself, like Mozart, Beethoven and others, I feel that my gift of music is not mine to own, only to share with others. Its origin is Divine. So how could I copyright something that doesn’t fully belong to me?
Well, evidently some can. If you are a fraudster and have Youtube/Google in your corner.
And now, why does that matter to you, the audience?
Because if Greed is allowed to prevail and rule the world of art, creative artists may stop providing their work for free, and limit or stop uploading their creations to Youtube/Google.
And that would be a sad day for the world of music – that you have to BUY music to enjoy it.
Shame on you, Google, for choosing fraud over creative arts.