back to article The perils of building a career on YouTube: Guitar teacher's channel nearly deleted after music publisher complains

YouTube broadcaster Gareth Evans, who has 770,000 subscribers for his guitar tutorial channel, had an unwelcome surprise on 28 August. He received a "copyright strike", meaning a copyright owner sent a "complete and valid legal request", according to YouTube's description, to take down a video. The killer question is this: " …

  1. heyrick Silver badge

    At least they had a potentially valid complaint this time.

    It's when a big corp (or their automated representative) fires off successful infringement claims against original compositions that you realise how horribly the system is broken, and how hard it tries to appease The Man by screwing over those with little in the way of power to do anything about it.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Or even someone totally unrelated.

      The TWiT network says that it regularly gets takedowns for copyright infringement on its talk shows (new coverage) from South American entities that claim copyright on TWiTs original work and either demonetize them / take the monetization for themselves or the videos get taken down and fighting the takedown can take weeks, which means the show is no longer relevant, by the time it is restored.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I've had problems with media companies adding creative commons stuff to content id and claiming it as their own because they used it in some of their own videos.

        Thankfully it did get sorted but not before my video wall demonstration and all profits given to this troll company.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't this a grey area?

    If a radio station broadcasts a performer covering a song, the station pays the publisher via a copyright levy. Youtube will claim that, on their platform, the performer is equivalent to the broadcaster, but then what is Youtube Music?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. simonlb

      Re: Isn't this a grey area?

      This YouTube video from Tom Scott is worth a watch as it covers it in depth.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Isn't this a grey area?

        That is a fantastic video. Thanks for that link.

      2. FlippingGerman

        Re: Isn't this a grey area?

        Was about to post this myself. Worth watching for everyone.

  3. alain williams Silver badge

    Capricious abuse of power

    The likes of google give themselves judicial like powers and then act in a way that can materially affect people. There is hardly any real oversight in the way that they use these powers, very often the decisions are done so as to cause them as little work as possible.

    They have global reach and so should be subject to court decisions in the countries where they are visible.

    1. Jim Mitchell

      Re: Capricious abuse of power

      Why should a platform like Youtube not have the right to remove any content posted by users that it wants to remove? It is their platform, not yours. You can argue about the execution of this right by Youtube, but forcing platforms to carry content they don't want to doesn't sound OK.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Capricious abuse of power

        YouTube are protected by law from being the ones getting sued, so it's not really their platform and they shouldn't have unrestricted power over what is posted. They can have that power if they also accept the responsibility that goes with it.

        1. genghis_uk

          Re: Capricious abuse of power

          The same law that protects YouTube from being sued over user generated content also protects them from being sued over content moderation.

          This is a private company site (although a very large one) so they have every right to moderate what they host. Without this protection can you imagine the type of videos you would have to wade through? The same protections apply to all sites so, for example, you cannot sue El Reg for moderating choices - would you agree that The Register can take down offensive posts? If so then why not YouTube?

          The American DMCA basically says that the host has to immediately remove content on receipt of a copyright infringement or face the consequences. I can imagine that YouTube, being an American company, takes this as the default so they take down first and ask questions later. The problem is that they are not open to the asking questions later bit.

      2. Beeblebrox

        Re: Capricious abuse of power

        "Why should a platform like Youtube not have the right to remove any content posted by users that it wants to remove?"

        ... exactly. Treat YouTube like any other means for generating publicity for your content, don't rely on it.

        Easier done from the beginning: host your content somewhere you control, link to from YouTube (probably entails uploading to them too).

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Capricious abuse of power

      When the interests of Google shareholders clash with those of users -- and especially users who do not pay for its services -- the shareholders will win every time.

      From Google's point of view, it is not cost-effective to give a crap about individual users. They know that there will always be more creators suckers who will step up and make free content for them to monetize.

    3. CrackedNoggin

      Re: Capricious abuse of power

      I would say the better longer term option is to use anti-trust to create more competition.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue

    "less successful" as in "zero is a smaller number than one", so a a bit of an understatement, non?

    ( to add a required, very much to the point, brexit-flavour, it's a bit of an understatement in line with "brexit negotiations have been a total success and we've decided that trading on WTO terms offers the best solution for Britain and for the Great British Public".)

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue

      The biggest problem with Google is, if you have a problem with Google, you can't contact them. You have to hope that enough of a stink is made and they contact you. It isn't just content creators, it is in all aspects of their web presence.

      At a previous employer, we were caught in a DoS attack originating in one of Google's data centers in California (according to an IP lookup, it was a Google owned IP).

      Phone Google for a quick response? 30 minutes bouncing around an automated phone system that basically says, refer to the relevant part of our website, before spitting you out and disconnecting. The problem? Google doesn't have a section of its website for dealing with being DoSed by them.

      Next step, the standard email accounts, abuse and, both return a standard message saying that all mails are automatically deleted and never read, now please f' off.

      Next stop Twitter and @ing Google. No response.

      In the end, it was quicker, easier and cheaper to contact our ISP and get that IP address blocked at the border (they also confirmed that it was Google), they confirmed the IP was originating at Google and they were pumping 1gpbs at our 10mbps line! The first month of DoS protection was free. At the end of the month, they asked if we wanted to extend it, at a couple of hundred Euros a month. Luckily, we were mid-way through an ISP change and we could switch over to the new ISP and new IP address.

      4 months later, out of curiosity, I checked the old line (we were supposed to have a 6 month parallel period, where we checked the new line and moved services over 1 by 1), just before the line was terminated. The Google server was still pumping 1gbps at the connection.

      They still hadn't contacted us and they hadn't even noticed that one of their servers had gone rogue!

      1. Rol

        Re: content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue

        I would be so mad at Google for making it impossible to contact them in an emergency, but I also appreciate that 10,000 people manning that emergency line 24/7 would not be enough to deal with all the crank calls.

        I know it sounds wrong, but if Google set up a premium line at £20 a call, then the nuisance calls would be minimal and the staffing costs covered. Genuine callers, with a real issue, could then be reimbursed for the cost of the call, and perhaps given a unique contact email address, that expires once the issue has been dealt with.

        The alternative would be to get all legal and sue Google for the continued loss of use of the IP address, and subsequent loss of earnings. That would wake the beast from its secluded volcano lair.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue

          I absolutely agree, I'd have been happy to pay £20 to raise a support ticket with premium support (even non-refundable). The problem with that is the risk that "premium" may mean outsourced to a low-budget script-following "help desk" service.

          A few years ago I had a problem trying to help a small volunteer organisation of very respectable elderly professionals. They had a Google Business account (now known as "G Suite legacy free edition") dating back to the days when a small business could get a 10 user account free (rather than ~£50p.a. per seat That enabled them to have email addresses @[their-domain].

          The service stopped working. After a couple of very frustrating weeks I eventually managed to establish communication with a real person at Google. They said the account had been suspended for an unspecified breach of T&C.

          It seemed highly improbable that the old gents would knowingly do anything that might be a breach but I investigated thoroughly and could find no shred of evidence of any possible cause (like malware on their PCs).

          After a couple more weeks of frustration even having established communication, Google conceded that they could provide no evidence of a problem (although not going so far as to admit that it was a cock-up) and restored the service.

          With permission, I then took the opportunity to check the accounts. All were very low usage and no evidence whatsoever of any breach of T&C. I rather suspect that the problem was "non-payment" and that Google had forgotten it was a "lifetime" free account.

          By then the group had been without a service for several weeks and had moved to another provider. The only remaining use for the Google account was to enable them to download copies of past emails. It would have been foolish to continue to use a provider who had proven themselves unreliable and near impossible to engage in useful dialogue to get support in the event of a problem.

          Bearing in mind that this was nominally a business account (although free) it raises a question as to whether they'd have received a better service if they had been paying customers. It also raises a wider question as to whether it is advisable to use Gmail (or any Google services) if there's a risk of unexplained termination with no means of contacting Google.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue

            dating back to the days when a small business could get a 10 user account free

            And get exactly the SLA it paid for.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue

        "The Google server was still pumping 1gbps at the connection.

        They still hadn't contacted us and they hadn't even noticed that one of their servers had gone rogue!"

        Did you ever look at what the data actually was? Clearly Google wanted you to have it. Could you not simply upgrade your ISP connection, collect all that valuable data and sell it on?

      3. hoola Silver badge

        Re: content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue

        What you have described is becoming standard practice now for many of these big outfits. You are completely powerless to do anything and get any sort of response from a human. How many times have you tried to sort something out in recent months:

        Phone: automated response telling you that they are not answering

        Online Chat: a wretched bot but it is not clear to start with that there is no intelligent life on the end.

        Email: Automated response saying that are experiencing large volumes of queries, then nothing.

        It is the new way of doing business. The customer is of no value other than a source of revenue.

        1. Rafael #872397

          Re: content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue

          "you call is very important to us, please listen to 45 minutes of advertising and nausea-inducing muzak until we disconnect"

        2. Flightmode

          Re: content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue

          At this stage, they probably no longer see us as customers, but more like "independent freelance content consumers" that are responsible ourselves for our experience using the platform that they facilitate.

    2. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue

      It's not required, not relevant to the point at all, please keep the politics for political articles.

      The article is about a music teacher getting a Y-T strike notice for showing sheet music on a how to video and the less than helpful attitude of Y-T in general

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue


      Just fuck off with the Brexit thing. How the fuck you managed to make a connection with Brexit and a freetard complaining about Youtube is beyond me.

      Elreg is a tech blog not a Brexit blog.

      Cheers… Ishy

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: content creators are less successful at drawing attention to the issue

        @Ishy: there is no need for that. I know your tolerance for... we well, most things is limited, but there is no need for ad hominem attacks like that.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Youtube is like any business, it's run for the benefit of its owners. It isn't unreasonable for it to be over-cautious when setting policy, it needs to protect itself. This guy is using it to promote his guitar lessons, for which he pays nothing. How much control can he really expect in return?

    He could, of course, rent some space in a cloud somewhere & run his own platform, according to his own rules. He would then be free to deal with copyright infringement claims directly. Could he make money doing so? I doubt it, but that's one of those compromises that businesses have to make, and they get what they pay for.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Youtube is like any business, it's run for the benefit of its owners. It isn't unreasonable for it to be over-cautious when setting policy, it needs to protect itself.

      There is protecting yourself and protecting yourself. It would seem that YouTube is more concerned about being sued by a copyright holder than protecting the individuals who are bringing the money in...

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        YouTube is more concerned about being sued by a copyright holder than protecting the individuals who are bringing the money in..

        they're probably more concerned about the users bringing the money in that are doing it legally

    2. big_D Silver badge

      The problem is, YouTube was designed from the beginning to ignore copyright infringement, so they never put anything in place, until they got too big and the cost of lawyers and fines outweighed putting in a system to allow for some feeble sort of takedown.

      This is typical of Big Tech, ignore the law, until it actually becomes more expensive than doing the right thing, by which time, they are at such scale, nothing really works, so they throw their hands up in the air and say, "oh, woe is me!" And you are stuck with some half-arsed system that doesn't help anybody, apart from Big Tech itself, because it saves them lawyer and fines money.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "for which he pays nothing."

      According to the article, YT take the lions share of the advertising payments. So he's paying them that simply by being there.

  6. xeroks

    playing with the big boys.

    copyright is a bugger.

    In this case the complaint is probably correct.

    I recall back in the day a free musicican's magazine called Making Music, which had a guitar lesson feature as part of an in depth look at the recording of a recent hit - Kylie's version of The Locomotion. They featured tab and the lyrics to the song. There would be a similar article next month, they promised.

    Next month, there was an EXTREMELY humble note to say sorry to the publisher and they would never do it again and thankyouverymuchfornotputtingusoutofbusiness sir.

    Funnily I don't recall subsequent editions ever doing anything similar.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: playing with the big boys.

      I dont think it was the publisher that shut them down , it was probably a terrorist band of musical affictionados concerned for the quality of modern music , pretending to be S,A&W

      Lets hope they go for Cowell next.

  7. IGotOut Silver badge


    ...this is correct.

    He is using other people's works to make money. He can put all the spin on it he wants, but rightly or wrongly, he is infringing copyright.

    If he was doing his own material and got slapped down, it would be a whole different matter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unfortunately....

      "Evans claimed that [...] the tabs were for his own arrangements of the songs, not copied from published tabs."

      This makes is a derivative work and is completely, explicitly allowed by the fair use clauses of copyright law.

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: Unfortunately....

        It's a grey area because he's listening to the originals and figuring it out then publishing the tabs and notation for how to play the same tune. The publishers don't like that because they will have licensed the right to sell official tabs to another publisher, or done it themselves.

        Calling it his own arrangement just means he doesn't go into as much detail as the original, might miss out some notes etc. Does that mean it's derivative and fair use? or just an inaccurate copy?

        And I say that as an amateur guitar player and user of such things myself.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Unfortunately....

          It's a grey area because... its the music industry, which has its own idea on copyright. And from various cases over years thinks that if you are inspired to do something as a result of listening to a song and actually say they you were inspired by said copyrighted song, they are entitled to royalties...

          See the same thing with Disney's actions against kindergarten kids drawings of Winni-the-Pooh etc.

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Unfortunately....

        "This makes is a derivative work and is completely, explicitly allowed by the fair use clauses of copyright law."

        That, of course, depends on where you are.

        1. The First Dave

          Re: Unfortunately....

          And it also depends on the accuracy of that statement, which is clearly rather debateable.

          1. the spectacularly refined chap Silver badge

            Re: Unfortunately....

            It's not even debatable. If you create a derivative work both the original rights holder and the modifier hold joint rights over the work.

            If that wasn't the case the likes of the GPL would be completely worthless. In law you only need to make minor-but-copyrightable changes for the entirety to be a derivative work. If the assertion was true it would make the result entirely the property of the editor. The fact that large parts are unchanged is from a legal standpoint an irrelevance.

            If you doubt that why do the likes of A-Z maps always quote the Ordnance Survey and Crown Copyright? They could save themselves a fortune if they didn't. Nothing of the original map exists in any tangible sense but the fact it has drawn on the original source means it is covered.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Unfortunately....

      The music industry has copyright sewn up so tightly that basically anything published after 1923 is off limits.

      I have a small collection of Victorian sheet music -- pop songs published in the 1830s and 40s. Most (all) of it is unmitigatedly awful but its quaint and might be interesting to an obscure academic. The best thing I can do with it is transcribe it and put it out on internet sites that specialize in sheet music. The publishing industry has the owners of these sites so spooked that you literally have to prove that the person -- or their representativies, heirs or what have you -- were dead before the 1920s. This becomes an increasing problem when you have newer music, say from the Edwardian era (there was, believe it or not, a "Croydon" school or pianistic technique prior to WW1 but like a lot of talent from that era it disappeared into the trenches never to be seen again -- however, its *possible* that someone might have survived and a relative have a copyright its off limits).

      Personally, I blame Disney for all this. Its more important that corporations make their money than our culture be preserved.

      (Incidentally, there really is no such thing as a truly original work. The great composers at least recognized this -- the originality is in the performance, not the notation.)

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Unfortunately....

        I thought it was a rolling 70 years?

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: Unfortunately....

          Disney corp. never dies so the copyright lasts forever.

          Culture Vampire?

        2. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Unfortunately....

          It is but what happens is the publisher can reissue the music, thus updating the copywrite.

          When the rule moved from 50 to 70 years there was a frantic rush to get copies out of libraries for things like Elgar and Sibelius before they "disappeared".

          If I remember correctly an amateur orchestra I played with at the time had to reprogramme much of a season because it suddenly became unaffordable. Sets of parts that we could get from the library for a few pounds suddenly went to hire only and had a huge PRS fee added.

          I don't dispute that composers, musicians and publishers need to get paid, it is just sometimes odd the way they go about it.

          There is the imslp website that is stuffed full of scanned scores/parts, often in copywrite that can be downloaded with nothing more than a disclaimer.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unfortunately....

      All music is derivative works, of derivative work, of a derivative work. Its just the same basic rythyms , harmonies, notes and progressions chopped up and reordered, originally obtained from reproducing sounds from the surrounding environment thousands of years ago.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Unfortunately....

        If you want to make that argument, you are also arguing that every book or newspaper article is derivative - they all use one of 26 letters just arranged in different ways. All computer programs are derivative, they use the language's defined syntax and the platform's defined API, just arranged in different ways.

      2. Pangasinan Philippines

        Re: Unfortunately...Andre Previn.

        I'm playing all the right notes . . . .But not necessarily in the right order!

        1. jonathan keith

          Re: Unfortunately...Andre Previn.

          Easily confused with the other great composer, conductor and pianist Andrew Preview.


  8. Snake Silver badge

    Social media

    The problem is getting involved with social media in the first place. The structures belong to someone else, a big company almost 100% of the time, and their rules are built to protect them....your issues are almost irrelevant, you only represent one of the products they seek to market. You are replaceable. Your media sourcing is ephemeral. Making you and your productions welcome and supported only goes as far as a complete lack of effort on their part will support; why put any effort into a "supplier" when billions of them are available, at the same costs (that being: free)?

    You will ALWAYS end up on the short end of the stick in any questions regarding rights, privileges or funds, the latter of which is strictly for their benefit, not yours.

    Simply stay away. You'll have a much more fulfilling life.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The big problem is...

    that @teamyoutube and other sites just say "violated the acceptable use policy" or some such nonsense, and do not say in particular what was violated. I.e. so that it can be fixed in the future. This is expletive behavior and why they earn so much hate.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: The big problem is...

      And they can't be bothered to actually hire enough people to provide any support, because that would affect their bottom line. Just ignore those pesky users, they will go away at some point.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The big problem is...

      "that @teamyoutube and other sites just say "violated the acceptable use policy" or some such nonsense, and do not say in particular what was violated."

      Likely because they don't know. It's all automated, probably the complainants request and certainly the "checking" and action taken by YT. It's all algorithms, tweaked 1000's of times and no one knows how they work anymore.

  10. myhandler

    FWIW: if you post a piece of classical music to YouTube, that you have *recreated using synthesisers* you will get a take down notice from Wendy Carlos' lawyers. The system is out of control.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >you will get a take down notice from Wendy Carlos' lawyers

      Do you have examples of this? there's shed loads - Cloudhop arrangements are actually better I think - and even tags most of them as 'Not Carlos' - he also built the Moogs from schematics.

      1. myhandler

        Happened to two people on a musician's synth forum, that they and I have been members of for years. Not some random comment off Farsebk. I could email one of the people now if you want?

  11. msknight

    The system is broken

    I've been on YouTube for about a decade and the long story short is that the system is broken. The copyright laws are different in different countries, and that's always going to be the way while the world is, as it is.

    The automatic take down system is a complete pain in the neck. I've had to fight a number of false positives and had my channel put at risk as a result.

    Some copyright owners get out the ban hammer, while others want a piece of the pie. (and I do get the option, these days, to auto-remove the offending piece.)

    It seems to me, that those generating their own arrangements and performances of music should be protected from the ban hammer. Yes, take a slice of the dosh, which is the way that it's been done for years... look at James Last and his arrangements of popular tunes and traditional music, from which he made a career spanning decades, and ... what was it... 150 albums gold worldwide?

    Those just posting original recordings... yes. ban them into oblivion.

    "Last is reported to have sold an estimated 200 million albums worldwide in his lifetime[5][6] (figures vary widely, for example British Hit Singles & Albums (2006) reports 100 million at that time[7]), of which 80 million were sold by 1973[8] - and won numerous awards including 200 gold and 14 platinum discs in Germany, the International MIDEM Prize at MIDEM in 1969,[9] and West Germany's highest civilian award, the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) in 1978." -

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The system is broken

      But it's up to them - if their claim is valid, they are entitled to take it down.

      You can't say "I'm infringing in a limited and specific way" and expect them to behave differently, unless you are the UK government!

      1. The Pi Man

        Re: The system is broken

        The problem with Google’s way of handling copyright strikes is that you have no comeback to argue that it isn’t in breach of copyright. You could write and publish a completely new song and if one of the big publishers doesn’t like it they can get it taken down. There’s little to no recourse. I currently have an issue with Google publishing incorrect information about something that is auto generated content on a search. I can’t get through to anyone to get it deleted. Their way of operating anonymously is becoming more and more of a problem.

      2. msknight

        Re: The system is broken

        But that's the point. People making their own arrangements has been done for decades. Are they entitled to take down something which someone else has performed? They could have stopped you from singing Happy Birthday if they wished. There's a moral line here.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    By coincidence, I posted five songs onto YouTube that I co-wrote back in the 1990s. Three of them came up with a copyright claim as soon as I posted them, naming some record label I've never heard of. The artist name and song titles matched, so it wasn't an algorithm error. I'm disputing the claims, as I never assigned my rights to the songs to any third party - let alone a record label I've never heard of. On further investigation the label seems to hoover up music from small labels and publishers, but how they think they own my songs I don't know, as I spoke to the co-writer and he's as bemused as me.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      That's the interesting one - as far as I am aware they don't need to prove ownership, they just claim it. So unless they happen to get seen doing so by someone who knows better... the theft works.

      1. cornetman Silver badge

        The problem there is no downside to the publishers for making a false claim.

        The issue would probably fix itself if there was some kind of comeback if the claimant had not done the minimum due diligence.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        And if they get away with it multiple times, they can then use those successful claims as evidence that they do own it. It's all very murky at the bottom.

    2. Helcat

      There's been commentary and complaint about this for a while. People have been copywrite struck when they had permission from the author/writer/composer because a third party was assuming rights over supposedly 'orphaned' works (with little to no checking involved). It's also hit people like yourself, much as you describe.

      Perhaps Y-T needs to require copywrite claims first be passed to the creator to see if they can be resolved (seems at the moment this isn't required although some copywrite holders do this anyway) and if no agreement is reached (including taking down the offending material), a neutral arbitrator should preside over the claim. Then Y-T can simply sit back and say 'we done our bit - we're good' and not be the greedy, evil villain in all this. I know: Who pays the costs? Well, the loser in the arbitration of course. May incentivise people to resolve the claim without arbitration.

      Then again, there's a lot of things Y-T should do to fix their platform, but they don't seem to care as long as the money's flowing in.

  13. mark l 2 Silver badge

    There is a video on Youtube about copyright and content ID and how the creator of the video had a copyright strike against his own works by a Asian TV company that had used a clip of his video in one of their own, and then used contentID to claim his video. He ended up having to go to court to sort it out as the Asian company refused to remove the copyright claim. Its an interesting watch

    I have had false contentID matches on my videos, and until the video has received over 1000 views you can't even dispute the claim, therefore allowing the false claimant to take your revenue for the first 1000 views. And as the person in this article mentions its almost impossible to actually speak to a real person either on the phone or over a live chat at Youtube to discuss such matters.

  14. colinb

    Claim is probably right but also nonsense

    "If you get to a point where the industry is looking at income it could have received"

    What monies are lost from a guitar tab tutorial? from companies that don't produce tab anyway.

    More likely to gain fans that will listen to the music on streaming services to play along.

    Rick Beato does brillant breakdown of songs on Youtube and gets silly takedowns all the time, the more enlightened publishers recognise the publicity benefits and do not strike the videos down.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe create (or pay someone to create) your own site with a reputable hosting company and then advertise (& link to) it from your social media account(s) ?

  16. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Stolen music

    I passed a musician a compilation CD, and apologised that it was mostly copyright theft.

    He said, "Don't worry son, I've stolen every lick I've every played".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stolen music

      And you both lied.

  17. PPCNI

    Google Support

    Going off on a tangent slightly but sticking with the 'companies owned by Google have very few employees in support, and it is practically impossible to speak with a human who can do anything apart form say 'computer says no' ' topic - it is the same with Google Ads. I have had a very very bad experience recently with them.

    A client was spending not insubstantial amounts of money with them but when an automated system decided that there was a specific problem with their website which went against the Chocolate Factory's TOS (there wasn't) traffic to the site was badly affected.

    It seems that unless you spend like £1 million a month, your business ain't worth jack-shit to them.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: Google Support

      They make £2 billion a month in profit. Individually, your business really ain't worth jack-shit to them.

  18. Martin M

    "how technology giants deal with smaller customers"

    If you provide your material to Google and they sell advertising space by it and give you a fraction of that, you are not a customer. You are a supplier. And that really explains all you need to know. Small suppliers to enormous buyers always tend to get a bit screwed.

    Doesn't make it right, of course.

  19. Androgynous Cow Herd

    Boy...that's an interesting one.

    So this guy creates his own TAB (Graphic showing where to put your fingers on the fingerboard) that somehow exactly matches where some other legal copyright holder says to put your fingers on the fingerboard... The actual copyright owner (the song publisher) has an agreement with the second entity.

    Aside from occasional chord inversions, there is usually only one or two practical ways to play a song on a guitar fingerboard. I don't think this is "Derivative" and more than me sitting down and hand copying the latest Neal Stephenson book in longhand would be "derivative". If this is his business/livlihood, best fix would be to license to TABs from the copyright holder, or just do away with the tabs and come up with a different format for displaying fingerboard positions.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Boy...that's an interesting one.

      You need to look up "voicings", particularily in relation to guitar based compositions. There are many ways of playing the same chords on a guitar, and they can sound dramatically different

    2. Jonjonz

      Re: Boy...that's an interesting one.

      Your point is spot on, but most content creators at this guy's level do not have the resources to mount a successful court test of this. The world's judicial systems are all stacked against the little guy.

  20. bob42

    Extra, Extra; Music publisher tries to stifel ability for new generation to learn to create music!

  21. Disk0

    How about

    Streaming platforms pay a “blanket” license fee to cover all reproduced content, not unlike e.g. radio stations and shops do, and basically charge that to the advertisers, who are the ones actually benefitting from all the content. The licensing fee could simply be calculated as a factor of the number of views, or logged time. Or, and here's a novel idea, sue the advertisers who profit from having their advert for plaid shirts pop up whenever someone mentions "the boss".

    1. Patched Out

      Re: How about

      In a similar vein, venues where live music is played also typically pay a blanket licensing fee to allow bands playing there to cover other artist's music. This would be the sensible approach, which means YouTube would never adapt it!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How about

        YouTube would probably love that approach. They'd be able to squeeze the copyright owners for a low licensing fee and forget all about the problem. It's rather the copyright owners who would hate it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How about

      The worse thing about the blanket fee approach is that organisations like PRS assume only major artists get airplay. So someone like Elton John or Noel Gallagher gets a big cut of the money that radio stations pay simply because they have a substantial number of plays on the few major stations that PRS use to calculate airplay. It means that certain artists (and I use that term in its broadest sense when it comes to has beens like John or talentless c*nts like Gallagher) get a big cut of royalties that aren't actiually representative of their actual airplay across all mediums in the modern age.

  22. Britt Johnston

    Automated Support

    "The whole system is automated, he said, and it seemed impossible to get a human to consider his case."

    This is Can't Reach A Person support (CRAP) and is one of the worst characteristics of technical companies. Wear a mask, or hold your nose if your workplace runs like this.

  23. JohnSmithDoe

    Very interesting read. But I have little sympathy for the guy in this story whose Youtube account was affected.

    He decided to build a career on a 3rd-party platform he has no control over whose terms & conditions he agreed to in advance.

    And he used copyrighted songs as a basis for creating his teaching videos.

    He benefited HUGELY from the work of others and then was distraught when it almost got shut down. C'mon!

    If I steal a car to drive my kids to school I still have to give it back when I get caught! Or, let's say I "borrow" my neighbor's car and I only do it when he is away and obviously not using it. And I always put gas in it when I return it. And I even got an oil change when I saw I had used it for 3,000 miles! :) It doesn't matter. I am still using his property without permission and that is a crime!

    1. sabroni Silver badge


      "He decided to build a career on a 3rd-party platform he has no control over whose terms & conditions he agreed to in advance."

      And he got the support he paid for.

  24. Danny 2 Silver badge


    I made a computer board in my teenage years, quite a good computer board that ended up in CERN and NASA, and my first employer patented it, part of my terms of employment. I get a £100 pa pension when I'm 65, which hopefully will buy a birthday beer since I won't qualify for a state pension. My sympathy for "creative" types is limited. You went into music to get shagged, and doubtless it worked. Cry me a river. The best I ever got was a girl saying, "So, basically you just make things go faster?"

    "Yes, but I also help people get made redundant due to automation!"

    'Cheer up, it's not the end of the world!' -my brilliant film review of Lars Von Triers "Melancholia" where the world ends. Spoiler alert, but not much of a spoiler, a planet crashes into Earth. You can't expect Bruce Willis to do much about that, he's an asteroids man at best. Kirsten Dunst gets her top off, so that's something.

    TL/DR - screw copyright, share.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Melancholia

      since I won't qualify for a state pension

      Why not? If you've been working outside the UK you can buy back up to 13 extra years remarkably cheaply. You could get your money back if you live even a year past retirement.

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Melancholia

        Thanks for the advice, I did not know that. If you want to pay now for that I'll pay you back then. "I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

        Truth is I'm not bovered, I don't expect to reach pension age. If I do then I'll invent something clever, like TikTok for pensioners.

  25. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    No Appeal

    I don't know why Penman thinks that only success channels incur the wrath of the industry. I used Scott Joplin's The Entertainer, taken from an original (1900ish?) piano roll as background music on a video and the copyright owners of the film The Sting put a strike against me. That, to my mind, is a false claim, they didn't compose the music and had nothing to do with the production of the piano roll. So, I appealed with an explanation, and got a blank response that they were pressing the claim. I wasn't willing to start an expensive legal battle over a video that will probably be viewed by almost no-one so that part of the video is now silent.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: No Appeal

      That's the tragedy, because your case was probably nailed down.

      Assuming of course that copyright in your neck of the woods remains for less than a century after the death of the child of the youngest person who heard the original in it's first century of being played.

    2. Robert Jenkins

      Re: No Appeal

      Does a truly false copyright infringement claim count as libel?

      It would be interesting if it happened to someone with money and legal ability to counterclaim against whoever claimed infringement, for defamation and loss of income.

      A successful case could make the copyright claimants a bit more cautious.

  26. Jonjonz

    Creating content on Youtube: the new share cropping.

  27. goldcd

    The real issue is that youtube/google just acts as a match-maker

    But most of the time, there isn't just one exact match for you.

    e.g. If you want to learn to play Smoke on the Water, and google connects you to a video explaining it, then a tiny bit of money flows and everybody is happy.

    If there was just a single video and it got pulled, then no money flows and nobody is happy - google would put effort into trying to keep that video up.

    Reality is there are maybe a dozen equally serviceable videos - and if one gets pulled, google seamlessly directs you to one that's up, and the same money still flows (just to another producer rather than the original one). Google just needs one video that keeps your eye-balls on the screen for 10 mins - the rest is just 'nice to have' (and an overhead to deal with). Take that to the logical conclusion and huge swathes of youtube could be deleted without any real impact to the consumers - balance is probably that it provides a bit of extra coverage (90% of videos probably add 10% more information) and it helps keep producers in their place - better to have 10 that are great than one that is excellent (and has you over a barrel, similar to some of the streamers on twitch)

  28. Ali 4

    "Evans feels that YouTube is broken". No, it's his business model which is broken.

  29. Anonymous Coward 99

    Education has a "fair use" exemption

    It's worth noting that, under US copyright law, there is a copyright exemption on educational commentary, and self-written tabs would fall under this.

    Another YouTube creator, Rick Beato, has run into problems in this area. The vast majority of his content is demonitised, and some is straight blocked. He's discussed this extensively, but the most relevant video is the one where he discusses his deposition in front of a senate committee about such use.

    Moving out a rung further, Leyland Sklar has been taken down for writing tutorials to his own bass parts on other peoples' songs (eg James Taylor). Guy Pratt not. You have to assume the artist/label and number of subscribers matters more than the principle.

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