Won’t get fooled again, hard rock fans react to Warner/Universal takedowns


“Thanks UMG!” by metallicat511.

There are rock fans and then there are the Living Room Rock Gods. The LRRG is a community of multi-instrumentalists who use their home studios, webcams, and YouTube accounts to collaboratively create recordings of their favorite songs.


“Evanescence – The Only One (split screen project)” by wisa89, vnct, scbene, MusicByJC, edusims, EricSes

In some cases, the recordings produced by the LRRG are executed so accurately as to be registered as a positive match by YouTube/Google’s automated Content ID system. As with many of the communities using YouTube to share their work, the LRRG has been hit very hard by the recent deluge of brainless copyright claims by major media corporations. Zodiakironfist, founder of the LRRG, has already received six takedown notices for his home recordings.

Sad but true, few musicians have spoken out in defense of their fans.

Metallica, still unforgiven for their role in the Napster shutdown, encouraged their fans to upload covers back in September but said nothing when their label began taking them down. Notably, the damage extends to their own Official Music Videos playlist which has all but faded to black.

TRIBUTE is not THEFT

Unlike other fan communities that packed up and moved, the Living Room Rock Gods got angry and organized. They are now posting to a new blog titled, Tribute Is Not Theft and recording testimonial videos explaining their position.

Pook speaks for many of his fellow Rock Gods when he writes,

Please consider what these record companies are claiming copyright infringement on:
US playing OUR INSTRUMENTS…
using OUR CAMERAS…
in OUR HOMES…
sharing OUR SKILLS and OUR TECHNIQUE
with OUR FRIENDS…
We are not against Copyright Law
…we’re against the abuse of it

In its latest post, the EFF echoes many of the same sentiments expressed by the LRRG when it calls for a return to human-vetted copyright evaluation:

The best thing for Warner to do is to go back to how it treated videos before. The Content ID system should be set to flag possible infringing works and then Warner should have a human review those works before they are taken down.

To a piece of software, RushZappa2112′s one-man cover of ‘YYZ’ might appear startlingly similar to the original 1981 recording but to any human observer it is clearly the work of a dedicated fan.

Tribute is not theft. Where are the musicians to defend their fans?

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4 Responses to “Won’t get fooled again, hard rock fans react to Warner/Universal takedowns”

  1. confused with the copyright thing Says:

    So not to be a douchebag (as put by the LRRG site), but under us copyright law, aren’t artists still required to pay royalties to the music publishers for these songs?

    Bad matching technology, greedy music corporations, conservative Google, the rampant unlicensed distribution of recorded music on YouTube, that ASCAP or BMI should be ordering the takedown and not UMG all notwithstanding, these videos may still be illegal.

    Or if LRRG is not making money, do the publishing rights not apply? Or out of left field, if YouTube/Google is the one making the money on LRRG’s performances (which they are), are they just protecting themselves from having to pay the royalties?

  2. Kevin Says:

    That’s an interesting question and one that we would probably need an IP lawyer to help clarify.

    As I see it, the LRRG community is practicing an expression of popular music participation that long predates the existing industry stakeholders and regulatory agencies. If their videos are unlawful, it is our law that needs revision, not their community.

    Searching for information on how ASCAP/BMI manage performance rights, I came across this article from the Christian Science Monitor about small venues that can no longer afford to hold open-mic nights because of publisher fees:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0109/p14s01-almp.html

    What do you think?

  3. PookLowEnd Says:

    Our side of the story is our videos are not performances, since many of us are not looking to score a record deal, or make revenue from it — we’re merely music fans playing in our rooms and showing it off to our friends. We see it as if you were playing in your room and a WMG representative would knock on your door and ask you to stop it, or pay royalites because your neighbors can hear you.

    Also, our videos serve as teaching tools. I’ve learned a lot since I’ve started posting videos in YouTube (not only new songs, but technique-wise as well), and others have learned from me. It’s not the conventional teaching way, I know, but where does it say you have to speak to teach?

    Finally, we also see our videos as tribute to our favorite artists, which if Im not mistaken, is also covered by the ‘Fair Use’ clause.

    One more thing… the ‘douchebag comments’ in the site are reserved for people who comment on our videos as if they were geddy lee themselves, or just attacking our playing just for the hell of it, not those who have an honest opinion about what we’re trying to do, regardless weather it’s for us or against us. Thank you for reading this article and taking the LRRG site for a spin, and taking interest in this issue.

  4. confused with the copyright thing Says:

    I think the world is better off with more people free to play the music they want to play. I’m just looking for some clarity on what exactly needs to change to make this happen. Definitely, keep on rocking.

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