YouTube Hits The “Mute” Button

noah | January 15, 2009 4:15 am
If you press play on the above video and are confused by its lack of audio, don’t be confused: The clip has had its audio—which was originally a mish-mash of versions of “Walk” by Pantera, Avenged Sevenfold, and Disturbed—stripped by the video-sharing site YouTube. The muted clip is now captioned by the below advisory on the site:

This is a new development in YouTube’s seemingly endless fight over music copyrights, what with the site being a frequent conduit for streamed music that may not have been cleared by artists and/or their labels. In response to the hue and cry that ensued when people realized that finding music on the Internet was getting a little bit tougher, YouTube let people know that the mute button was actually a way to help users retain at least some of their creative output:

Previously, when a music label or other rights owner issued a copyright claim to block audio, the video was automatically taken down. Uploaders had two choices: dispute the claim (in the case of fair use, for example) or use our AudioSwap tool to replace the track with one from our library of pre-cleared music. Now we’ve added an additional choice. Instead of automatically removing the video from YouTube, we give users the option to modify the video by removing the music subject to the copyright claim and post the new version, and many of them are taking that option.

Our content management tools have revolutionized the ways in which users and content owners are distributing, marketing, and making money from video online. As we continue to build out this system, we are working to find the right balance between encouraging creativity and free expression and respecting the rights of copyright holders and the law.

Most of the videos that this has happened with so far seem to have used music distributed by Warner Music Group, which is currently tussling with YouTube over just how much money it should get for videos streamed on the site. What this is going to mean for the tribute-video world is still up in the air.

ser Choice and Music Licensing [YouTube Blog]

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