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Google's New Scheme To Avoid Unlicensed Music 213

Posted by samzenpus
from the walk-the-thin-line dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Complaints about copyright infringement on YouTube keep Google busy. If you have any doubts, just look at the Viacom copyright suit. But the problems aren't just about uploaded videos, but sometimes the music accompanying the videos. A patent application shows that Google has worked on a system to automatically identify infringing music by comparing a digital signature of a soundtrack to signatures of existing music. Users who upload videos could opt to completely remove the video, swap the soundtrack for something approved, or to mute the video. Of course, there doesn't seem to be a provision if you're using existing music with permission."
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Google's New Scheme To Avoid Unlicensed Music

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  • Fair use? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:12PM (#32834384)
    Really? I thought collages were fair use; how is it not fair use to combine music with an original video?
    • Re:Fair use? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:15PM (#32834394)

      Really? I thought collages were fair use; how is it not fair use to combine music with an original video?

      Sections of music, yes, not an entire song.

      • Re:Fair use? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:35PM (#32834528) Homepage Journal

        Sections of music, yes, not an entire song.

        That's why you'll seldom hear an entire record played on talk radio. The syndicators don't want to pay license fees.

        But the simplest solution is to use music from the enormous amount of music that's licensed under Creative Commons.

        Or does your creativity require you to use "Eye of the Tiger" for every single video of your sports team?

        • Nah... (Score:4, Funny)

          by msauve (701917) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:52PM (#32834622)

          does your creativity require you to use "Eye of the Tiger" for every single video of your sports team?

          Creativity is rotating through Eye of the Tiger, We Are the Champions, Rock and Roll, part 2 and We Will Rock You.

          • Creativity is rotating through Eye of the Tiger, We Are the Champions, Rock and Roll, part 2 and We Will Rock You.

            I'm envisioning a day when crowds at sporting events sing one of these, then at the end of the game are barred from leaving the stadium until they cough up a fee...

        • Re:Fair use? (Score:5, Informative)

          by achbed (97139) * <sd@@@achbed...org> on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:42PM (#32834912) Homepage Journal

          Sections of music, yes, not an entire song.

          That's why you'll seldom hear an entire record played on talk radio. The syndicators don't want to pay license fees.

          That is actually not true. There is a separate payment structure for short clips used in a blog or talk radio format as opposed to a full-song radio playback of the same songs. There are still rights payments for even short clips, but it is a heck of a lot cheaper (by a factor of 10 or more depending on revenue and profits of the licensing organization).

          The problem with this entire scheme is that there seems to be no way to say "I've paid the required fees not let me use the dang song". This kills even legal use of music. Not to mention that there is also no talk about "I'm the author dammit" option.

          • Re:Fair use? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @11:11PM (#32835502)

            I'm happy to hear these complaints. People will stop using copyrighted music, and the companies trying to suck blood from a stone will go broke with that much less exposure.

            Perhaps it's time to make a big push for ONLY public domain music to be used?

          • This kills even legal use of music.

            Unfortunately yes. Perhaps a way around this will be provided later.
            More to the point from Google's perspective: it would kill the "unauthorized uploads" and other astroturfing or marketing tricks that Viacom indulged in and then used to sue Google.

          • by rwv (1636355)

            The problem with this entire scheme is that there seems to be no way to say "I've paid the required fees not let me use the dang song". This kills even legal use of music. Not to mention that there is also no talk about "I'm the author dammit" option.

            Perhaps Google wants to push YouTube content creators towards Creative Commons avenues? A few years ago I was able to pull a number of really good songs into the soundtrack of a documentary film that I uploaded to my Google Video account. Certainly any content filters wouldn't have any problems with audio that comes from the "Attribution/Share-Alike" world.

            Along those same lines, it'd be *really* awesome if Google could automatically detect music that's Creative Commons "Non-commercial" licensed and mak

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          ...the simplest solution is to use music from the enormous amount of music that's licensed under Creative Commons...
          Or does your creativity require you to use "Eye of the Tiger" for every single video of your sports team?

          it's not always about creativity, it's about what associations and ideas using popular materials brings to your work.

          if I record a video of myself running up the stairs, or take video of me punching a guy and freeze framing it right before fists connect, the connection I am reaching for might still be vague, adding "Eye of the Tiger" will instantly make my audience think of the Rocky franchise. If that is the connection I wish my audience to make, then yes, creativity does require the use of that particula

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's a thing called "sync rights" - it's why you need to have permission / a contract to use music in TV / film.

      Beside the point, however - even if it *was* fair use (which it isn't) the MAFIAAs prefer to pretend that such a right doesn't exist, at least until they bribe enough pols to actually make it vanish.

    • Re:Fair use? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sortius_nod (1080919) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:23PM (#32834456) Homepage

      It seems that it's not even fair use if you have express permission from the artist. My fiancée has had DMCA takedown notices from recording companies even after having express permission to use music on her blog from the artists themselves. The blog is a music blog reviewing bands, somehow using short clips of music attached to a positive review is seen as copyright infringement.

      I don't see how this is not fair use. Then again, record companies seem to love to twist the DMCA to mean anything they want. This stupid act is a waste of time and money, it protects no one and persecutes people doing the right thing. I have no doubt that these laws were developed to remove power from artists and fans.

      • Work made for hire (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:28PM (#32834486) Homepage Journal

        My fiancée has had DMCA takedown notices from recording companies even after having express permission to use music on her blog from the artists themselves.

        Whether those are valid depends on whether the artist had assigned the sound recording copyrights to the label in a contract. A composer or recording artist can't license rights that he had already sold to someone else.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Redlazer (786403)
          Really? You don't think they have people just trolling and looking? Or perhaps more likely, some flawed, hacked together piece of software that attempts to do it automatically, with fingerprinting, or even worse, by filename?

          Fair use rules need to be expanded to work with the digital world. Adding a whole song to a video of your team (of whatever) playing a sport will in no way impact the original piece of work, it is very clearly a derivative, and should fall wholly and completely under fair use terms.

          • Perjury (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tepples (727027)

            it is far more likely Viacom (or whoever) merely submitted a batch of DMCA's through an automated process that wrongfully flagged the same fair use (in this case, permitted) case.

            OCILLA takedown notices are made under penalty of perjury. That'd be helpful if the FBI actually cared about copyright perjury.

          • by Draek (916851)

            Really? You don't think they have people just trolling and looking? Or perhaps more likely, some flawed, hacked together piece of software that attempts to do it automatically, with fingerprinting, or even worse, by filename?

            I do. I also believe, however, that they've hired lawyers good enough to make sure they own everything from their artists up to and including their own name, and that they've hired lobbyists good enough to make sure they can find a reason to sue an unborn child if they wanted to.

            Never underestimate the sheer capacity for evil of multinational conglomerates.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @10:17PM (#32835128)

              I do. I also believe, however, that they've hired lawyers good enough to make sure they own everything from their artists up to and including their own name, and that they've hired lobbyists good enough to make sure they can find a reason to sue an unborn child if they wanted to.

              Never underestimate the sheer capacity for evil of multinational conglomerates.

              Finally the Republican plan is revealed. They intend to get the corporations to sue every unborn child. This will then lead to injunctions against abortions. A clever scheme, brilliant in its intricacies.

              • The problem with your theory is that the corporations and the trial lawyers are all Democrats (check out who they give political donations to).
        • your average artist, raised in an internet-dependent world, will begin to weigh the costs and benefits of locking his music down

          1. to the point of public absence, for the promise of reaping cash from recording purchases, versus

          2. letting his music go anywhere, for free, to the point of maximum exposure, but at the cost of no recording revenue. however, with more popularity because of more exposure, he'll fill more warm butts in concert halls

          it's all about exposure. which the internet gives you for free. thi

          • by tepples (727027)

            exposure. which the internet gives you for free.

            Google AdWords ads are not free. Nor can one pick up Internet radio in a car, bus, or train without a smartphone plan, which can cost upwards of $600/year more than a dumbphone plan. Nor can the Internet give exposure among demographics that are less likely to subscribe to high-speed Internet access.

            • thank you for bringing up radio, which IS EXACTLY THE SAME BUSINESS MODEL: give it away for free, for the sake of exposure. exposure=$ to be cashed in later

              i didn't mention advertising, adwords is not important

              just put your music out there, someone will find it. simple as that: there are hundreds of people who posted youtube videos who are not advertising anything and reaping tons of exposure... and cash. recent slashdot story:

              http://idle.slashdot.org/story/10/06/30/1343209/David-After-Dentist-Made-150k-For [slashdot.org]

              • by grapeape (137008)

                Not really...there is no payola on the internet

                • the business model of radio and broadcast tv is a valid concept. payola is a subset of that business model, not the whole business model

                  you give it away for free, you get lots of exposure, you turn that exposure into cash

                  worked for broadcast television, worked for radio, and works for the internet

                  there is this notion that media without copyright or restrictions is some sort of hippie anti-business communism. when in truth, free media is a perfectly valid capitalist construct: it's just advertising for later

      • by Weezul (52464)

        Artists retain almost no rights over their own music unless they're working with magnatune or similar.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This link: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107 specifies what is considered fair use. Using a recording in a personal video and publishing it online is not considered fair use according to law. HoweverIt may be considered a derivative work as covered in section: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#103

      • Using a recording in a personal video and publishing it online is not considered fair use according to law.

        I disagree. I think that, depending on the specific circumstances involved, it could be a fair use, though it wouldn't necessarily be.

        Would you mind providing specific language indicating that your claim is correct. The statute you linked to just provides a test for determining if a use is fair or not; it doesn't specifically say what you claim it says.

        HoweverIt may be considered a derivative work as c

      • by langelgjm (860756)

        This link: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107 [copyright.gov] specifies what is considered fair use.

        It gives some guidelines, and four factors that are to be considered. Neither are exhaustive; just because a given situation isn't explicitly spelled out in 17 USC Sec. 107 doesn't mean it isn't fair use. Fair use precedent is slippery precisely because it depends on the merits of individual cases, which are very hard to codify.

    • Easy. Just make a video playing a song, with the artist and song title in plain text showing constantly on the video track. That's not fair use by any sane definition.

    • Here is a good video about Youtube's copyright violation detection system: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoX-YihV_ew [youtube.com]
  • by nordee (104555) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:16PM (#32834404)

    This is what Audible Magic does. Exactly.

    http://audiblemagic.com/index.asp [audiblemagic.com]

    So google is doing it again?

    • by Peach Rings (1782482) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:40PM (#32834558) Homepage

      Google has been doing this for years, it's a non-story. That's why you see "the soundtrack of this video has been silenced due to a copyright claim from x" all over the place.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mattventura (1408229)
      Maybe they're trying to make a filter that can't be bypassed easily. You can usually just shift the music up or down a note to slip it past the filter, and while audiophiles and the music-obsessed will complain about this, it's barely noticeable to the average viewer if done properly.
      • by AHuxley (892839)
        A wider set of % speed up and slow down tests on uploading?
        Speed by eg 7% and they flag it, 8 % and your safe?
    • So google is doing it again?

      I wonder if Google has larger plans - there's talk about a Google "cloud" music service. A perfect addition to GOOG411 or Google Voice would be "buy this song" where you dial in when a song you like is on the radio and it figures out what it is and adds it to your assets or playlist.

  • Is this new? (Score:5, Informative)

    by raving griff (1157645) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:17PM (#32834416)
    Have they not been doing this already for certain artists that have opped into it? I know that Youtube has thrown me an error when attempting to upload a video with licensed music in it before and gave me the option of uploading with a disabled audio track. In fact, this system seems to have been rolled out in 2007. [eff.org]
    • Re:Is this new? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by EdIII (1114411) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:19PM (#32834780)

      The system may not be new, but the policies described most certainly are. What is proposed from the article is "presumption of guilt". Ignoring for the moment the awesomely infuriating and wholly unethical statement of "presumption of guilt", there will be some serious problems for such a system once live if these new policies are put into effect.

      Personally, I deal with hundreds, sometimes over a thousand, of these notices per day. What is absolutely batshit crazy is that we don't know who the hell these people are and what their music is. Google's (YouTube) system has made thousands upon thousands of mistakes already with just the system I manage. All of the content that is being uploaded has fully licensed music in it. Fully Licensed. We have disputed it a couple dozen times and attached proof. We have yet to hear ANYTHING from Google or YouTube. Nothing. Completely Ignored. We already gave up a long time ago.

      My impression is that if you were to walk into YouTube's offices there would be hundreds of phones ringing, emails appearing on desktops, and no human beings anywhere. Like some post apocalyptic movie scene where all human flesh dissolved and the world was left turning without us. A completely automated system running happily on it's own. Like SkyNet, except mentally challenged.

      Now if they really do move to this policy where our only options are to swap music or delete the video we might just have to close up shop. I am sure their music selections are going to suck something awful and be wholly unsuitable for us. You know that and.... we actually paid for our fucking music we won't be able to use.

      • by statusbar (314703)

        Is there a reason why you have to have YouTube host it?

        Why not amazon s3 or some others cloud/edge service?

      • by jadin (65295)

        My impression is that if you were to walk into YouTube's offices there would be hundreds of phones ringing, emails appearing on desktops, and no human beings anywhere. Like some post apocalyptic movie scene where all human flesh dissolved and the world was left turning without us. A completely automated system running happily on it's own. Like SkyNet, except mentally challenged.

        This made me think of Philip K Dick's Autofac.

  • New? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by mirix (1649853)
    I was under the impression they already had this for some time now, at least for certain labels/artists.

    Doesn't it say below the video (on occasion) < $SONG_NAME - buy it now at $STORE >?
    Obviously the detection is functional if that works.
  • Claim fair-use (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It seems that you can resolve copyright issues by claiming fair-use. I came across this post a few days at rcgroups [rcgroups.com]. Scroll down to post #5 for the procedure.

  • by areusche (1297613) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:41PM (#32834562)

    I have a bunch of really old student student news shows up on my personal account. The opening used at best 15 seconds of some random pop song du jour. The audio on the video is now completely muted because of god forbid 15 seconds of fair use music.

    It's not even worth the effort to edit and upload the videos. Youtube is no longer useful for what its intended purpose was.

  • Not New (Score:5, Informative)

    by b1ng0 (7449) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @08:52PM (#32834626)
    This is known as a perceptual hash. We have a perceptual audio hash in pHash [phash.org], my open source software project that will tell you how similar two media files are to each other. It also features an indexing system to find the best matches from a sample audio clip, a la Shazam. These algorithms are not new by any means, although this patent goes a bit further than simply matching audio samples.
    • by B3ryllium (571199)

      If you have the talent, you should write a filter to generate an inverse waveform that subtracts the allegedly infringing music but leaves everything else intact. :)

  • No only Google: you can do it on your own PC!

    The Picard Tagger [musicbrainz.org] from MusicBrainz can generate an audio fingerprint (PUID) from all files in a folder and then fetch the correspondent metadata from the community CC licensed music database.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      When I tried that, it not only couldn't identify most of my music, but mislabeled so much of it that it was worse than nothing.

      Not only would it usually get the album wrong (no, I don't buy compilations or "best of", so please don't suggest them either), but I would like to know what kind of demented algorithm that can mistake Genitorturers for Rihanna.

      • They have plenty of PUID collisions, it may be that. Never happened to me, though.

        As for giving you the compilation I agree that it should ask when it got the same track in multiple albums.

  • There also needs to be a fair use option. There are cases where one is exercising fair use while using a recording. Also, if the software is too eager to make a match, it may have false negatives for parodies.
  • by mbone (558574) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:05PM (#32834706)

    Google has gone positively copyright absolutist - not just in YouTube (which, of course, grew up on a steady diet of infringement), but also in Adwords and maybe Adsense.

    Adwords now disallows ads with phrases like "music videos" or "Internet TV [americafree.tv]," under the theory that any site advertising such must be guilty of, not just infringement, but "hacking and cracking." As their standard of proof is "guilty until proven innocent," arguing with them is fairly frustrating...

    • Under the theory that any site advertising such must be guilty of, not just infringement, but "hacking and cracking."

      Are you sure that's their theory?

      I don't think they need to assume anything about all sites. It merely requires them to know that historically sites using those words have been bad enough that offering those words is not worth the trouble (in a financial sense), ie the risk is such that it outweighs the reward.

      You might be disappointed that you can't prove otherwise for your specific cas

  • by Nemilar (173603) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:12PM (#32834738) Homepage

    I completely "get it" that the entertainment companies need to protect their copyrighted material. That's their product, and it's how they make money; fair enough that they don't want people exploiting it.

    But here's an example of them going too far: The other day I was watching clips from The West Wing on Youtube. I'm not sure how exactly I got there, but regardless, it was one of my favorite shows back in the day, even though the West Wing franchise never got a dime from me either through product purchases or ads. But after seeing a couple of clips, I was reminded of how much I liked the show, and started to consider purchasing the DVD set -- until I clicked on a clip that had no sound. Then I saw that great "this video contains audio not approved by..." on the top of the screen.

    Needless to say, that killed the viewing experience right there. I think when the entertainment companies revisit the sheer dollars and cents, they might see that it's beneficial to leave a lot of this copyrighted material up there -- it might generate a few sales.

    • by glwtta (532858)
      That's their product, and it's how they make money; fair enough that they don't want people exploiting it.

      Except in most cases the product is created by artists, but for some reason "owned" by the people who print CDs; doesn't actually seem all that fair.
  • shut it down (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blueworm (425290) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:17PM (#32834766) Homepage

    Google should say, "Because it is too difficult in the United States, the land of freedom, to offer a public venue for the sharing of creative works and the preservation of culture, we have opted to shut down youtube entirely. We sincerely hope that such services can return in a time less plagued by corruption and greed."

    • No, they shouldn't. That's exactly what the RIAA wants. They want to monopolize all the money being made from music.

      What they should *really* do is to compare all of the RIAAs songs with one another to point out exactly how unoriginal they are (especially if they compare them to old songs where the lyrics arrangement, if not the recording rights, should be in the public domain). After all, there's not much that's truly original and Hollywood was founded by people evading Edison's patent enforcers.

      Given t

  • This has potential, and the guys at google probably know it too.

    If they are able to identify whether a song is under copyright, then they can probably identify the song proper. They could soon be deploying some sort of search system that takes some music as input ad gives you its name.

  • pitch adjustment (Score:5, Informative)

    by tlacuache (768218) on Wednesday July 07, 2010 @09:42PM (#32834920)
    From my experience, adjusting the pitch of the audio by +4% (without altering its duration) is enough to fool Google's algorithm without being noticeable/distracting, unless you're playing the original song and the altered song side-by-side.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mandrel (765308)

      From my experience, adjusting the pitch of the audio by +4% (without altering its duration) is enough to fool Google's algorithm without being noticeable/distracting, unless you're playing the original song and the altered song side-by-side.

      Yes, 4% faster is already what 24fps material becomes when played on 25/50fps TV systems. Only people with perfect pitch can easily detect the difference, and the TV stations love it because they can fit in 4% more ads. Perhaps Google can detect a simple speed-up, but not when the audio is DSPed to shift the pitch but not the duration like you suggest.

      Also, I have seen a music video on YouTube from an unofficial source that reversed the picture left-right. This, perhaps in combination with a pitch shift,

  • I've got a video up right now (over 21,000 views) consisting of a series of photos of an antique car that I'm restoring accompanied by a complete U2 song. Total run time is over 3 minutes. There is a notation under a copyright information button that states...

    Your video, Xxxxxxxx, may include content that is owned or licensed by these content owners:
    Content owner: UMG Type: Audio content

    What should I do?
    No action is required on your part. Your video is still available worldwide. In some cases ads may
    • by Cwix (1671282)

      It sounds like UMG is going to collect ad revenue from your video instead of making you take it down. I didnt know youtube did that. I could be wrong too.

  • Why major record labels are so against free advertising is beyond me.
    Fuck them, let's all use creative commons music in our videos, there's a lot of great stuff available.
    Let's give them their way and see how they like it when independent artists start taking a piece of their pie.

    Careful what you wish for big media.

  • Studios are well-known for using temporary music in upcoming movie trailers, sometimes from sources they don't control.

    The day will come when some big-movie trailer comes along and gets uploaded to YouTube by a studio, only to play to resounding silence. Then it'll be, "Dear Google, please remove this feature."

  • I think there are a number of systems already in circulation that do this, so let's see who will hit Google first..

  • I used my video camera to film a circus performance. The video was disabled because the sound from the loudspeakers was on my video and that sound was copyrighted music.
    At the same time, the same music title was spread around youtube in full glory with accompanying original video clip in dozens of copies and was not blocked. Why is my analog recording blocked and the digital 1:1 copies are not?

    Faire use, my ass!

  • It would seem like a good system to help copyright holders be aware of usage. If it flagged videos for review by the holder, then left it to them to request take-down, that would seem to re-enforce Google's existing safe harbor protection, and would give artists the opportunity to not be douche bags. Of course, even with this, if you wanted to block something from being uploaded to youtube, like perhaps a political speech, you could just walk around with a boombox blaring Metallica's greatest hits in the

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