Artists Cry Foul as YouTube and Big Brother Fight

Indy artists struggle with YouTube rights issue

High schoolers everywhere beware. Do not post a recording of yourself singing your favorite Christmas carol on YouTube. Big Brother might get mad at you. Just ask Juliet Weybret.

The Lodi, Calif. high school sophomore, who dreams of becoming a rock star when she grows up, had her hopes dashed, sort of, when she recorded a video of herself playing the piano and singing “Winter Wonderland.” She told our friends at The New York Times that shortly after she posted it on YouTube, big brother came knocking. Or I guess technically they came writing.

YouTube removed her video because of "a third-party notification by the Warner Music Group,” which owns the copyright to the Christmas carol, The New York Times reported.

Weybret's case is not an isolated issue. Hundreds of aspiring artists across the world have seen their work pulled down from the San Bruno-based company. The problem revolves around a dispute between Warner Music and YouTube on how much Warner should be paid for its copyrighted material.

The problem has grown beyond amateur performers as well.The site has also blocked the videos of some mainstream artists in countries, such as England, because it was unable to reach a licensing agreement with the music's owners.

“Thousands of videos disappeared,” Fred von Lohmann, a staff lawyer for the Internet civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has asked affected YouTube users to contact it, told The New York Times. “Either they turned off the audio, or they pulled the video.”

A spokesman for Warner Music said that the company shares in YouTube users frustration over videos being removed but"YouTube generates revenues from content posted by fans, which typically requires licenses from rights holders." Check out the full New York Times article for more on the issue.

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