Yup. This is all about that video I made. This whole thing is wonderful and crazy, not to mention pretty historical for the internet. Check it out.
Here’s what happened, as explained by The Sydney Morning Herald: Lessig used snippets of “Lisztomania” from Phoenix’s 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in a lecture video that was posted online in 2010.
LL’s video was, of course, in defense of free-use and used my video as an example (my original video that once had millions of views and is now stuck in a reuploaded YT purgatory, but I’ll get to that). My little bad-quality joke of a video spawned a life of its own in numerous live-action remakes, which is incredible. And Lessig - a Harvard copywright lawyer - was using it in speeches as an example.
And then, much like what happened to me, _Lessig’s_ video too was taken down, by the record label copyright system.
Last June, Liberation Music, the label that released Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix in Australia, issued a demand that Lessig take down the copyrighted content or else face legal action.
(Phoenix isn’t even FROM Australia - but weirdly, that arm of their label was the same one that got me in trouble, too)
The demand resulted from an automated system that flagged the label’s copyrighted content on YouTube; in other words, no human review process occurred between the software detecting “Lisztomania” in Lessig’s video and the label threatening legal action. Lessig responded by filing a suit in the US District Court in Massachusetts asserting his fair use rights under U.S. and Australian law. (Ironically, the video, entitled “Open,” was about fair use.) The case was settled Wednesday with the ruling that Liberation Music must pay court costs and change its YouTube takedown request policy.
Let me re-paste the very important part of that paragraph again:
The case was settled Wednesday with the ruling that Liberation Music must pay court costs and change its YouTube takedown request policy.
This is incredible.
And it’s all because of the video I made that snowballed out of control, so to that I say, uh, YOU’RE WELCOME, INTERNET.
This is huge.
Nobody ever has the funds and the confidence to file a counter-claim on something as seemingly irrelevant as a fan-made YouTube video. It sounds stupid, sure - but it’s not about the dumb videos, it’s about the principle. And of course, as per YouTube’s rules, you are threatened by legalese that fighting a takedown will never hold up in court, and that you will be sued by the actual copyright holders. So no one has ever done it. Until the automated copyright flag decided to flag a lawyer who was an expert about this.
And he won. With demands of policy change on top of it all.
I was finally able make a new account and reupload my video, but it doesn’t even show up in YouTube’s ‘relevant’ search results, after all the time suspended for copyright violation (not just that account, but all emails and associated MAC addresses - yes, YT’s parent company Google is CREEPY); it doesn’t show up because the results page is full of live-action remakes of my video and other people’s reuploads of my video. It’s INSANE. !
I’m blown away by all this and so thankful for the awesome Lessig and Phoenix. This is all just so incredible.
I apologize for what I said/did/didn’t do. Not only do I regret the pain that it has caused, but I also am ashamed of my actions. What I said/did/didn’t do was ignorant and uncalled for. I have come to understand however, that what I said/did/didn’t do not only was directly hurtful to the people it offended but that by saying/doing/not doing that thing, I contributed to the systemic discrimination the people I offended have been experiencing for ages. By saying/doing/not doing that thing I, a public figure, have helped continue to normalize this behavior.
I could write pages of excuses, (because I am a celebrity and am completely full of myself) but the reality is that none of them matter. I am sorry and will do everything to educate myself about what I said/did/didn’t do. Instead of throwing money at the problem by giving to a related charity, I am going to really learn about my mistake. I will also throw money at the problem, but I’m not going to go on about it here because that would make this completely self-serving as opposed to a message to others who may say/do/not do the thing that it is not okay by any means.
Apologizing does not make me exceptional, it brings me back down to somewhere near acceptable and with time maybe I can be “ok”. Please do not congratulate me on being the only celebrity ever to not get this 1000% wrong.