The future is here today: you can't play Bach on Facebook because Sony says they own his compositions

Seems to include pretty much all he needed to say to make his point…

Then there’s all the other paragraphs with all those links.


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Really shoddy reporting. It was Facebook, not YouTube, so Facebook’s algorithm, not YouTube Content ID. The notice indicates the sound recording, not the underlying composition, as the subject of the infringement claim.

Facebook’s very poor messaging makes it appear that Sony ID’d the “infringing content” themselves, which only compounds the confusion. But Doctorow should know better on all counts.

Hey. I’m James who made the recording. Couple of brief points - it was Facebook and not YouTube. They muted the video instantly because they said Sony owned 47 seconds of the performance. I opened a dispute and it was quickly restored. It was pretty painless but I thing the broader and more valuable point is this:
There is an underlying sense of ‘guilty until proven innocent’ In cases like this and it runs across many platforms (YouTube, Facebook, SoundCloud etc) all of whom have acted similarly with me (and many others) in the past. Of course it’s easy to open a dispute. But it takes time, it loses the immediacy of posting online and it creates extra work and hassle. And all of that work should really be borne by the record companies/platforms who enforce these bans automatically. The system needs an overhaul.
That said, if Facebook/Sony felt my performance was identical to Glenn Gould I’d take it as a compliment. But I still think they’re bullies and operate with total impunity. In effect they are untouchable and don’t seem to give a sh*t behind their bottom line.


It might meet RICO “That’s a nice little monetized youtube video you have, shame if something happened to it”


I haven’t bothered to put anything up on YouTube in years, but back when I did they took down one of my soundless speed drawing videos at the direction of Viacom because the title of it was “Help”, which coincided with The Beatles song of the same name.

Nothing about the video had anything to do with that song, The Beatles, or anything else that could be considered Viacom’s IP.

I got a strike against my account, was limited in what future videos I could post, and when I contested it, YouTube did fuck-all about it toward my favor.

I couldn’t reupload the video either, even when I tried giving it a different name, or adding public domain music to the background.

So I walked away; gave up on making videos.


Even if he successfully contests this it’s still a mark on his record. If Sony hits him with a couple more false takedown requests his channel will be suspended. It is probably already demonitized. Consequences for Sony for trashing this guy’s work: Absolutely nothing.


This I did not know. That is some bullshit.


The system will never improve because of this simple calculus:

Big media cartel issues a takedown for something posted on Youtube/Facebook. They do this literally thousands of times a day.

  1. The media company takes it down immediately. The uploader gets screwed, but legally they can’t do anything about it.
  2. The media company does not take it down because it doesn’t appear to be infringing. The media company sues them, drags them to Congress, etc…

From a corporate standpoint this is a no brainer. One side is large, litigious, and well connected politically. They’ve written laws for their own benefit that were then enacted like the DMCA. The other side has no legal power.


This is what finally prompted you to join the BBS?

ETA: I aspire to the pedant badge myself, so my comment is made with warmth and friendliness.


Well you could just solve it with a rousing friendly game of Musical Chairs … but if you don’t hold the rights to the music you might both get arrested. :laughing:

Whether the problem was with Facebook (which also censors certain music) or YouTube, the problems are endemic. Some years ago I posted an excerpt of my own performance of the Mozart Concerto in D minor (K. 466), which featured my own rather audacious cadenza. I had the permission of the orchestra in question. It took a while to get YouTube to let me upload it, as they challenged “copyright.” Eventually, however, they relented.

A happy ending? Not quite. A year or so later, I discovered that YouTube now attributed the performance to Wilhelm Kempff (with the Berlin Philharmonic under Von Karajan)! My numerous efforts to communicate went for naught! I eventually posted a disclaimer (which thus far has not been taken down): Go figure!


Sadly, yes.

I’m not proud.


@Mark2, @someguy




Content ID also doesn’t give a shit about Fair Use, either; I tried to post an extremely short clip out of Terminator 2: Judgement Day ("… Cops!" “how many?” “um, all of them”) to illustrate a joke, and it was taken out once for the video, and then a second time for the audio by a different company that had nothing to do with the studio, distributor, or production company. I said fuck it, deleted it, and moved on.
Seriously. a 20 second snippet out of the middle of a nearly 20 year old movie, and it’s reacted to like that? F that noise.


Been listening to Bach all morning on youtube and facebook?

This is the same industry that sent out mass copyright violation notices based on file names.


Back at you Sony.


People should take Sony and Google to court over the theft of their content. This is worse than mere copyright violation, because the owners actually lose their own work because of this. Courts should crack down hard on this.

But who in their right mind is going to sue Sony and Google? And their can be no justice as long as a regular person can’t sue them over this.

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In order to win the case you have to prove that the mega corp was acting in bad faith. It’s basically impossible. Even if you did the damages would probably not cover your legal bills.