If a Bird Chirps in Your YouTube Video, Are You Committing Copyright Infringement?

A harmless British hippie shot a video about something boring like making a salad from wild greens, and then uploaded it to YouTube. Shortly after, he was informed by YouTube that he was infringing on the copyrights of Rumblefish. The problem is, there's no music in the clip. At all.

According to Slashdot and the video creator eeplox, he tried to contest the complaint, and Rumblefish double checked. Then they agreed with YouTube, saying the video contained a "musical composition" they held the rights to." But if you watch the clip, there are some mundane ramblings about chard and dandelion, and a few birds chirping here or there. There's not even the faintest trace of music coming from somewhere else.

Rumblefish and YouTube decided to plant ads on eeplox's video in exchange for leaving it up. So eeplox turned to Slashdot and shared his story. Amazingly, Rumblefish looked back into the issue and realized that they had made a mistake.


Obviously we should have no issue with audio scanning technology which checks for infringement, but when a company seems to be very blatantly trying to squeeze money out of videos they have no rights to, that makes them just as bad as anyone else. And what's the consequence for them? How many other people have they done this to? Sounds pretty shady to me. [YouTube via Slashdot]

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Step 1: create a slight genetic mutation of a certain songbird.

Step 2: release it into the wild to mate wiht other songbirds

Step 3: find any hint of the bird's song in any video, movie, music, etc and sue them

Step 3: PROFIT!

As crazy as this sounds, it's not far from truth. I read a story where a company owns a patent on a genetically engineered version of a soy bean. If that soybean seed makes its way into a farmer's field, even by natural means (which will inevitably happen if their neighboring farms use it) they can sue that farmer to either pay them or stop growing crops. BRILLIANT!

And they say Apple is a patent troll...