Saturday, September 01, 2007

Copyright Bullshit

I frequently get worked up by the way big companies take an extreme position with regards to copyright. As a creator of original work (in my own modest way) I'm not a fan of people making money from the work of others without fair recompense to the originator. But some of the practices of media companies are simply fucked up.

My personal pet hate is being subjected to anti piracy messages when I'm at the cinema or watching a DVD I've bought. Listen up you fucking geniuses: if I've paid money to watch the fucking movie I'm not a fucking pirate so your fucking anti piracy message is a waste of fucking time and nothing short of insulting. JUST FUCKING STOP IT, OK?

And I've never understood the way they go after their most loyal fans. You literally can't buy the sort of rabid fandom that makes people want to promote music, TV shows and movies to all and sundry. Yet when people make fan tributes the copyright lawyers go after them like a pack of hyenas.

Their biggest target these days is YouTube. Partly because there actually is a lot of infringing material on there. Partly because it's owned by Google and Google's billions make them a prime target for lawsuits. And honestly, I think a big part of it is jealousy. None of these fucked-up companies has a clue on how to launch a successful online video site. It's way easier to sue a success story than succeed on your own.

By now the apologist are gearing up to leave comments saying how the media companies are in the right, they're protecting their property, people are stealing their content online. I don't fucking care. You know why? These companies are liars, hypocrites and thieves.

The poster child for aggressive legal action in the name of copyright protection these days is Viacom. They have a billion dollar lawsuit pending against YouTube (which they're going to lose - big time.) They go after people at the drop of a hat. And it doesn't seem to matter to them whether they're right or wrong.

You'd think if they were going to go after other people so aggressively for copyright infringement, they'd make sure they were squeaky clean themselves, right? Wrong. VH1, which is a Viaom channel, run a show called "Web Junk". In this show, they post online videos with what they think is witty commentary.

But they don't get permission to run these videos which is textbook copyright infringement (you don't have to assert copyright - simply creating something gives you copyright over it). Case in point is Christopher Knight. He details in a post on his blog how VH1 used a video he'd created on their Web Junk show. They didn't even ask permission, let alone pay for the right to use it.

Turns out Knight didn't mind. He was actually flattered that they thought his work was worth showing. He put a video up on YouTube showing his material being used on Vh1. And Viacom had the audacity to issue a takedown notice to YouTube. For copyright infringement. These people deserve to have a rabid chipmunk rectally inserted. In fact, these sick bastards probably already do that sort of thing for fun.

This bullshit has got to stop.

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