Monday, January 8, 2007

Protecting intellectual property

An unfortunate side effect of the "Wii-diculous" video is that it's become viral. Not in the way I'd like it to be, mind you... some individuals have downloaded the movie from either YouTube or GameTrailers, transcoded it, and uploaded the result to different sites. In the process, the content I authored loses the proper description and the link to my blog, gains watermarks, and is presented as someone else's content without credit. I find it particularly amusing that it's gone full circle; I found at least four different copies of the video with the same title on YouTube, which I had removed through their admirably fast and painless copyright infringement contact.

Now, I'm not trying to make money off of this. I'm just trying to make sure that the people who deserve credit for their work are acknowledged; myself, Ed, and Chris, along with the others named in the credits and my blog entry. I don't understand why people don't even check if a video is already there before uploading it themselves.

There's a difference between sharing content you've found and branding it as your own and implying ownership.

I've been contemplating a mash-up of a particular Muse song and a 1970's movie that I really enjoy. Trust me, there's a lot of bad mash-ups, and I don't want to make one more. I've planned it out in my head; following both the story line of the movie and the lyrics in a sequential manner, with the climax of each matching. Even the rough cut is making me giddy... but now I'm second guessing myself. Would it be hypocrisy if I published it on YouTube? I wouldn't be taking credit for the content, just the editing.

In a perfect world, I'd request the permission of both the movie studio and the record label, and they'd undoubtedly say no or ask for so much money that I couldn't afford it. However, there are thousands of mash-ups that survive without getting take-down notices. I could just post it and run the risk of having it removed... absolute worst case scenario, I'm fined, even if I was using it in a non-commercial context.

This is not an easy question... fair use vs. intellectual property vs. corporate interest.

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