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Why This Blog Exists

I’ve written a very lengthy, two-part introduction explaining why this blog exists. But because it’s very long, here’s the short/TL;DR version.

I have used Youtube for many years. During that time I’ve uploaded many videos. Beginning around 2009, I discovered the Internet Archive and began using public domain content as source material for parts of my videos.

However, Youtube’s Content ID System has always been wildly unreliable. It has also been taken advantage of. Uploading public domain content can be flagged with a false copyright claim for either of these reasons. What do I mean by this? On the one hand, the system can simply make an error and flag as copyrighted something that isn’t. On the other hand, an unscrupulous person or corporation can register public domain works within Youtube’s system and then use of that public domain content (public domain meaning it is without copyright and the common property of everyone) will be flagged as being copyrighted by that person or corporation. Why is this bad? Well, for one thing, it often places ads on the videos, and ads are annoying. Another reason is that these ads, and views of the videos, can actually generate money for the claimant, meaning that someone else will be fraudulently making money off of your Youtube upload of public domain content. That’s not fair.

Youtube allows users to dispute copyright claims on videos, but often disputes are rejected just as automatically as claims are made, risking a strike on the users’ account if further disputes are pursued. Youtube did improve on this process somewhat early in 2013, forcing claimants to eventually have to file a DMCA takedown notice, but much of the system still disadvantages legitimate users. One such disadvantage is that Youtube never provides direct contact information for copyright claimants, so a user can’t resolve a dispute one-on-one via email or telephone.

That’s where this blog comes in. On my PublicDomainSource Youtube channel, I upload public domain materials, report on the false copyright claims made on them, and do my best to dispute them. Then I report on the results of the dispute. So far, I’ve uploaded all tracks from the Open Goldberg Variations Project by pianist Kimiko Ishizaka, a recording of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations dedicated to the public domain via the Creative Commons Zero Waiver (CC0). All uploads but one resulted in false copyright claims, so you can see that this is a big, common problem.

In addition to my copyright dispute reports, I’ve also created a page including the often hard-to-find contact information for many of the common Youtube copyright claimants, like Sony Music Entertainment (SME) and Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), among others. I hope this information serves you well.

If you would like to see my other blog, with information on other Free Culture advocacy issues and my CC0/public domain fiction, check out The Vertigo of Freedom. You can also follow me on Twitter @LeoKirke. Please send me an email at PublicDomainSource[at] if you have additional information for this blog that you think would benefit others, your own Youtube copyright claims story you’d like to share, or if you have questions. Please note that no guarantees are made on any of the information provided here and nothing should be interpreted as legal advice; I am not a lawyer, just a very frustrated Youtube user.

All the best,

Leo Kirke

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