YouTube taking down Machinima using copyrighted music

LATEST UPDATE: Feb 28th 2009 - If you’ve been a victim of the take-downs, the Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to hear from you.

I don’t have many details on this, but Obilith reports that YouTube have started taking down Machinima using commercial music:

“Another bad news is Youtube that is taking down some of my machinimas for copyrighted reasons. First it was “Why Do Birds” and now it’s “Something Stupid”. I guess both the Carpenters and the Sinatras needed money for the cryochamber and they might have thought I was stealing from them.”

Further investigation reveals that this is a widespread mass takedown. It’s badly damaging the Sims music video community amongst others. That really sucks. I know some people aren’t too fond of Sims music videos, but they’re as valid a form of expression as any other, and the best ones are stunningly impressive. I’d hate to see “The Highwayman” removed from YouTube, for example.

Apparently a similar thing is happening in the world of Anime Music Videos. It looks like this is the result of an automated scanning process - Russell Boyd says

“One of mine has even been pulled right after the upload, so it’s an automatic process. Another couple have dropped off at random periods, probably the time it takes for the fingerprinting software to scan the archives.”

  1. Whose stuff has been taken down?

This has been going on for a few weeks now, and it’s ENORMOUSLY widespread. People who’ve had their movies pulled include:

  • Obilith (top World of Warcraft filmmaker)

  • Trace Henderson aka Lainy Voom (top Second Life filmmaker producing truly stunning stuff)

  • Russell Boyd (Director of the feature-length “Faith Hope and Charity”)

  • JayDee (creator of possibly the most successful Sims 2 movie ever, approaching 10 million views. )

  • Warhawke (another very popular Sims 2 moviemaker)

  • Wagner James Au (journalist and “embedded” SL blogger)

  • James Thorpe (well-known Moviestorm creator)

  • I don’t know the name of the creator, but the first-ever Little Big Planet Machinima has been taken down just a couple of weeks after release.

  • Sasha Rudie aka moo Money (Second Life / World of Warcraft filmmaker and journalist)

  • Selserene (World of Warcraft filmmaker, creator of the popular “In for a Penny” series)

  • Dxvid (longtime Machinima creator in multiple engines, founder of Machinima Premiere and the Online Machinima Film Festival).

  • Phil “Overman” Rice, creator of possibly the most successful Machinima piece ever, Male Restroom Etiquette.

(List constantly being updated)

This is potentially tragic; a case of genuine artistic creation being censored. Sure, many of these creators will upload their films elsewhere, but some won’t, links won’t update, and so on - this is art being lost, possibly forever.

  1. More information

Z-Studios forum post

Sims99 forum thread - apparently one of many.

Several Warcraft Movies threads: here, here

Obilith’s original post

Halo movies reposted with altered music: here and here