Remix Videos: Another One Bites the Dust

By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned videos disappearing from YouTube due to Warner Music’s copyright claims? Well, I was really saddened to notice that one of the victims was the “Flagpole Sitta” lip dub video, created by the guys in the Vimeo office (though you would probably recognize them from CollegeHumor).

The reason that this particular video is so special is that it actually started the whole lip dub genre; in fact, the founder of Vimeo was the one who coined the term. It’s become a real phenomenon now, spawning University LipDub, Office LipDub, and even a Flight of the Conchords contest with entries from some people you might recognize. And of course, lots of YouTube videos, at least, the ones that haven’t been hit by a takedown notice yet.

Not to say that Warner Music doesn’t have a right to protect its copyright, and even if these kinds of videos would be considered fair use, no one’s going to find out unless someone takes it to court–which I seriously doubt amateur filmmakers have the resources to do. Though I can’t help but wonder how many people heard Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” for the first time when seeing that video (I mean, it was even in the Washington Post!) and then bought the mp3 on iTunes or even the album. After all, I wonder how much money was spent on the official music video for the song. I’m pretty sure that many, many more people saw the lip dub video, and that didn’t cost any record labels a cent.

Of course, the video is still up at Vimeo!

And one video that’s still alive and kicking on YouTube is a lip dub to Mika’s “Lollipop” by the students at the HEC business school in Paris:

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4 Responses to Remix Videos: Another One Bites the Dust

  1. its not 100% true that you need to go to court to get the video back. if the video is taken down with the automated song recognition software, you can dispute the copyright claim and explain why its fair use etc. I did this with one of my videos and it got cleared. It also puts the video back up until the claim is looked at, so it gives you the chance to downlaod the video if you dont have it saved

    • Oh yes, you’re completely right–sorry, I didn’t make myself clear. I meant legally. Fair use is considered on a case-by-case basis by courts. In the case of YouTube counter-notifications, YouTube forwards it to whoever sent the takedown notice, and they have some number of days to respond (I think they may even have to say that they’ve filed for a court order, though I’m not completely sure about that), and if YouTube doesn’t hear back, they put your video back – so I highly suspect that in most cases the copyright owner doesn’t bother. But in any case, if they DID decide to dispute it, then a court would have to decide; it’s not YouTube’s call. Not that I’ve ever been through this process; that’s just my understanding of how it works.

  2. its not 100% true that you need to go to court to get the video back. if the video is taken down with the automated song recognition software, you can dispute the copyright claim and explain why its fair use etc. I did this with one of my videos and it got cleared. It also puts the video back up until the claim is looked at, so it gives you the chance to downlaod the video if you dont have it saved

    • Oh yes, you're completely right–sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I meant legally. Fair use is considered on a case-by-case basis by courts. In the case of YouTube counter-notifications, YouTube forwards it to whoever sent the takedown notice, and they have some number of days to respond (I think they may even have to say that they've filed for a court order, though I'm not completely sure about that), and if YouTube doesn't hear back, they put your video back – so I highly suspect that in most cases the copyright owner doesn't bother. But in any case, if they DID decide to dispute it, then a court would have to decide; it's not YouTube's call. Not that I've ever been through this process; that's just my understanding of how it works.

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