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“Open Goldberg Variations – BWV 988 – 02 – Variatio 1 a 1” Youtube Upload: False Claims and Disputes Report

June 4, 2013

Source Type: Sound Recording
Source: “Open Goldberg Variations – BWV 988 – 02 – Variatio 1 a 1 ”
Music by J.S. Bach, 1741
Recording/Performance on Piano by Kimiko Ishizaka
Released as part of the Open Goldberg Variations Project and funded on Kickstarter

Notes on Copyright Status:

Bach’s music, the Open Goldberg Variations, are in the public domain due to having been written in 1741, making them too old to be copyrighted in the U.S.

Kimiko Ishizaka’s recording of her performance of the Goldberg Variations is in the public domain because she released it into the public domain using the Creative Commons Zero Waiver on May 28th, 2012.

Download it for free at:

False Copyright Claims on This Recording:

Well, this is a new one. No one copyright claimant has even been listed, and Youtube did not (at least within the last few minutes since I uploaded it) send me an email notification of the claim. Yet there still is a claim. I noticed the false claim first when I chose the Creative Commons Attribution License option on the video upload and was not allowed to do so because of a copyright claim.

Here is what the claim looks like:

“Open Goldberg Variations – BWV 988 – 02 – Variatio 1 a 1

Your video may include the following copyrighted content:

“Goldberg Variations BWV 988: Variation 1 – Allegro moderato”, musical composition administered by:
One or more music publishing rights collecting societies”

If I may editorialize a bit here, I must say that it seems ridiculous that multiple societies can claim to own the same thing on Youtube and Youtube doesn’t find this odd, that no one at Youtube noticed. Perhaps this isn’t unusual in the digital rights world, I don’t know, or perhaps Youtube is just so automated that no human ever even looked into it.

Lacking anyone specific to contact, I have no choice but to file a dispute directly within Youtube and hope for the best.

Information on My Attempts to Contest the Claim (to be updated when appropriate):

9/16/2012: Lacking any contact information for any of the companies or agencies that might be making false copyright claims on this video, I turned directly to the Youtube dispute process, as I had no other options.

I typed out a detailed explanation in the dispute notes as to why the recording could not be owned by any of the agencies who might be claiming it and submitted the dispute.

Literally within 1-3 seconds I got an email saying the claims on my video had been released.


So this marks the first success story of the Youtube Public Domain Resource! It is always possible that some other company may attempt to claim a copyright on this video later. We will deal with that and update things here accordingly if and/or when it does. Hopefully, though, that is the end of problems associated with uploading this particular track.

Final Thoughts:
I think it is more or less safe to say that if you upload this track and you get the same vague copyright claim, simply dispute it and list it as a public domain work, likely with no notes or explanation necessary, and the claim will automatically be released. This isn’t legal advice or any such thing, but if my experience is any indication of future issues, this track should be very easy to use freely (as it was intended!) on Youtube.

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