Three weeks ago, SoundCloud sent me two “we took it down” notices for the song “Enchanted” on the Sampson – Carroll page. One message claimed SoundCloud’s Automatic Content Protection System detected content copyrighted to… Embracing the Glass. The other message noted the same copyright infringement, but stated someone “notified” them. In effect, they stated that I notified them.
Well, duh. As noted in the songs description – on that page – “Enchanted” was originally released by Embracing the Glass because that’s the name we were going by for the first few years. It wouldn’t have taken a whole lot of effort to figure out that the problem really wasn’t one. Instead, the “service’s” knee-jerk reaction made sure I had to jump through a couple of hoops, list every collaborating piece of evidence I could come up with, check off on several legal statements, and give them everything but my SSN in order to prove the two music duos are one and the same.
The next day, SoundCloud sent one message saying, “thank you for providing feedback – your upload has been released to your account”.
I was more than a trifle annoyed. The whole escapade of being put in front of a legal firing squad with itchy trigger fingers should never have happened – and could have been easily settled by SoundCloud with 46 seconds of investigation on its part. And this was all over a song that has been sitting on SC’s site for the past year in full view of the listening public.
Two weeks later, the same two messages arrived – this time regarding the Sampson – Carroll song “Great Lakes Chain Gang” originally released, as you’ve likely surmised, when we were called Embracing the Glass. A little quicker on the reactionary trigger this time, were the legal snoop hounds, as this song had only been sitting there for 11 months. I went through the same lengthy explanation, with a medium-heavy coating of sarcastic “WTF? you’re repeating the same mistake!” in my defensive argument. The next day, the same “thank you” arrived – with the conspicuous absence of any further remarks – and the song was restored to public view.
I chalked it up to a knee-jerk paranoia laziness that I usually only see in an American industry enforcer, instead of a company launched in Sweden and currently headquartered in Germany. “Guess that means you’re really part of the digital age now, Jeff”. Further evidence of the controlling spread of U.S. style capitalism.
Four days later, YouTube declared there was a dispute involving the music in the Sampson – Carroll video for “Point on Slope”, naming a specific song title and stating the problem occurs at the 1:19 mark. The only song I could find with that title is a hip-hop/rap number (and not a very good one, btw). VERY annoyed by this, as “Point on Slope” was played in its entirety by Sean, and I know he didn’t use any samples – never mind something from a song that has no sonic comparison. But I calmed down and politely explained all that to YouTube.
Within seconds – seconds! – of clicking the submit button, I received an email from YouTube. “One or more music publishing rights collecting societies has reviewed your dispute and released its copyright claim on your video”.
I freely admit my reaction was a mouth-wide-open slow shaking of my head.
Is this what copyright protection has devolved to; poorly written robot algorithms running content checks that are incapable of peering past the obvious? I’m well aware that copyright infringement happens on an hourly basis and that protecting copyright ownership is made more difficult by the variety of rights and legalese that exist through out this planet. I know too – because it didn’t take much research, and it’s impossible to ignore if one does any kind of reading about the entertainment industries – that SoundCloud and YouTube have registered a significant number of legitimate complaints against content uploaded to their respective servers. And that SoundCloud does a better job of preventing it from happening in the first place than YouTube does. But has the human involvement in the policing process completely disappeared?
I’m very interested in knowing if anyone else has experienced takedown notices for music that was obviously owned by you.