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An Update on the Open Goldberg Variations Uploads

October 11, 2013

This blog/project began over one year ago, in September of 2012. The original uploads of the Open Goldberg Variations project, to test for false copyright claims, were made from September to November, I believe, of that year. Since that time I’ve been a bit negligent in updating this blog, though the information on each upload was always included and updated in each video description.

Today, October 10th, 2013, I finally finished posting all the updates from last year here on the blog. I also have a couple of additional notes. One other thing I should’ve done over a year ago was post a page exclusively dedicated to the contact information/email addresses of those companies that frequently make false copyright claims on Youtube (likely by accident) on various recordings of music. That page is finished and can be found on the tab “Contact Info for Frequent Youtube Copyright Claimants.” Now, if you have a problem with a false claim on one of your videos and aren’t sure how to contact the claimant listed, you can check here and hopefully find an email address you can use to get in touch with someone. It should be noted, though, that I rarely received replies quickly when I used them. I also updated the Introduction/About page to make it shorter and simpler.

The next thing that needs to be mentioned is a big change over at the Open Goldberg Variations Project.  In an attempt to curb false claims on the Open Goldberg Variations used in Youtube videos, the Open Goldberg team themselves got involved and entered the recordings under their own name into Youtube’s Content ID System. This correct (well…sort of correct, since they aren’t REALLY meant to be copyrighted recordings at all) set of claims should not be disputed, since the actual, original artist will benefit from any ad revenue generated by use of the music.

I confess that my feelings about this are a bit mixed. On the one hand, I appreciate why they did this, and I’m happy that it will directly benefit artist Kimiko Ishizaka and the project’s aim to make even more open source Bach recordings available. There are some downsides, though. For one, Youtube’s selection of Creative Commons licenses to apply to videos was already slim, with the single choice between the “Standard Youtube License” and the Creative Commons By Attribution License (CC-BY). If a video is found to contain third party content, and that claim is acknowledged, using the CC-BY license is no longer an option, which is a shame, as I’d hoped my uploads of the music would make it even easier for other Youtube users to make use of the songs, and that same problem applies to any derivative works and etc. as well. That brings up another problem with this move: it’s sort of misleading, as the Content ID system, if not explicitly, then definitely implies copyright claims. Though I love that the actual artist is given attribution in this case, it does kind of put a damper on the status of the work as public domain via the Creative Commons Zero Waiver (CC0), instead appearing like just another copyrighted recording. I suppose that’s unavoidable, and their reason for this move is very understandable, but it still seems like a shame to me that there isn’t an option to highlight the public domain status of the recordings somehow.

One other problem I’m expecting is that doing this, while good for giving more exposure to Kimiko Ishizaka, won’t have the (presumably) intended effect of negating false claims. In my experience, it’s entirely possible for multiple claims for unrelated sources to appear on the same material. In my uploading “experiments” here on this blog and the related Youtube channel, it was not uncommon to get a claim listed as “multiple publishing or music rights collection societies,” or to have multiple single claims from different sources, such as one from GoDigital MG, one from Sony Music Entertainment, etc. etc. I wish that somehow the Open Goldberg recordings claims would cancel out the false ones but I doubt this will happen. I went back to acknowledge all of the legitimate claims from Open Goldberg on all the videos today, and I noticed that on track 2, Variatio 1 a 1, there was the legitimate claim from “AdRev for Rightsholder – Kimiko Ishizaka” and also a false one attributed to…no one. That’s right, there was a claim on the video in which the claimant space was just blank. I’m not sure if this was an error or a trick from someone unscrupulous. If it was an actual claim, then that’s another unfortunate side-effect of Open Goldberg’s use of the Content ID System…when there are claims, there doesn’t seem to be a way to pick and choose which claims to acknowledge and which to dispute, so in order to acknowledge the legitimate Open Goldberg claim, I had to acknowledge the claim from the invisible “phantom” entity as well. I’m just grateful that in the many months since I checked on the Youtube channel, only the legitimate claims and the “phantom” claim are the only new ones to have appeared.

In the nearly one year since I made the initial uploads, I’ve noticed one other little oddity: as I was checking the videos today, I noticed that track 16, Variatio 15 a 1, was missing. It was just gone entirely. It’s possible that I simply forgot to upload it last year, but I believe I was pretty thorough. It would seem that the only other, and perhaps most likely, explanation is that it was flagged as containing copyrighted material from some company, the company had the video taken down, and Youtube, as has become the norm, stopped bothering to email me notifications of such things. I’m really not sure. At any rate, I uploaded it this evening and the only claim that appeared was the legitimate one for Open Goldberg, so I suppose all’s well that ends well.

That should be about it for now as far as updates go. As this remains just a side-project of mine, I’m not sure when I’ll update it again, but as I originally planned it will likely just be whenever I’m inclined to use public domain material in a video and I want to test it first. Hopefully, despite the sporadic updates, someone out there will find it helpful.

Before I sign off, I’d like to mention a couple of relevant things: The people who brought you the “Open Goldberg Variations” have another project currently being funded via Kickstarter. It’s the same principle as the Open Goldberg Variations, but this time Kimiko Ishizaka will be recording another set of Bach compositions, the Well-Tempered Clavier. The project has already exceeded its funding goal but there’s still much time left, so please support it! A similar project, by Aaron Dunn (founder of Musopen), called “Set Chopin Free” has also exceeded its funding goal on Kickstarter but there are still nine days left as of this writing, so please support it and help him release a set of public domain recordings of the music of Chopin!

One last thing: this is just a bit of a personal promotion, but if you’re here you may appreciate it for the Free Culture value: I finally released my first book, a short story titled “Roadkill,” on October 1st, 2013. A year in the making, this story is an odd little fantasy about four ghostly animal friends and their epic quest for a midnight snack. The reason I mentioned it having Free Culture value is that, much like the Open Goldberg Variations, it has been released directly into the public domain via CC0, so feel free to share it, remix it, re-write it, adapt it into other mediums, or whatever. This page on my personal blog, the Vertigo of Freedom, contains links to where you can either buy it as a print or eBook edition, or else download various eBook editions for free. I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time,

Leo

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