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Man Licenses His Video Footage To Sony, Sony Issues Copyright Claim Against Him ( 190

An anonymous reader writes: Mitch Martinez creates high-resolution stock video footage, and then licenses it out to people who need footage to go along with their creative projects. He has written an article at PetaPixel explaining his bizarre interaction with Sony Music Entertainment, and the hassle they put him through to fix it. Martinez licensed one of his videos to Epic Records, and they used it as background for a music video on YouTube. Less than two months later, his original video on YouTube was hit with a copyright claim from Sony. After figuring out that Epic Records was a subsidiary to Sony, he disputed the copyright claim — which is usually the end of it. But after reviewing the videos, Sony rejected it, saying their claim was still valid. Martinez then tried to contact the person at Epic Records to whom he issued the license. None of his emails got a response. Then he had to get in touch with Epic's legal department. After a lengthy series of emails, voicemails, and phone calls, he finally got somebody to admit it was his video. It still took a few more calls to work out the details, but the company finally released the copyright claim. Martinez concludes by offering some tips on how to resolve such claims.
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Man Licenses His Video Footage To Sony, Sony Issues Copyright Claim Against Him

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2015 @02:20AM (#50801115)
    The TPP isn't even approved by Congress yet. Crap like this happening will be a cakewalk in comparison to what things will be like if and when Congress approves it. Call and/or write your congressperson now, tell them to vote against it!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2015 @02:54AM (#50801199)

      Ahem. TPP is already "too big to fail." Your congress person knows that, and they'll pay you lip service and then ignore you when the vote comes. It will pass, and there's nothing you can do to stop it.

      What's really happening in this "vote"? Hint: It's a political power-renegotiation between legislative and executive branches that goes a little something like this:

      Congress: "Give in to our demands, or we'll torpedo your legacy."
      POTUS: "You wouldn't really do that. Half of you would lose your seats next term."
      Congress: "Well you've seen the voting trend over the past 20 years. We're out in 2-3 cycles anyway, so we've got nothing to lose, and you know it. What'll you give us not to pull the trigger?"
      POTUS: "Shit, okay, what do you want?"

    • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @10:25AM (#50802629)

      Gosh, I just can't believe that Sony would ever do something wrong or underhanded or malicious or evil.

  • by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @02:25AM (#50801129) Homepage
    Don't do business with Sony or any of its subsidiary companies?
    • by shione ( 666388 )

      Or alternatively, include in the license fee an amount to allow for going to court with the company for their stupidity.

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      It's kind of unfortunate but I have a long memory. Sony makes some interesting products but I won't own one. No, I was never bitten by the rootkit crap but I know a lot of people who were and was here for the outrage. I said then, and I repeat, I will not knowingly pay for another Sony product or one of their derivatives and that includes media. I don't usually boycott much of anything but fuck Sony. I'll go without.

      • by Threni ( 635302 )

        I know how you feel but all these companies are exactly the same; the same lawyers, managers etc float between them and so it's sheer luck that this or that company causes a problem in whatever territory at whatever point in time. I did remember the incidents you refer to at the point I ordered my Sony phone, but it was that or the Nexus (I've had build quality issues with them) or a HTC (usb socket failed 13 months in and they charged me to get it fixed), samsung (terrible android support for previous pho

        • by PRMan ( 959735 )
          We each can only vote with our dollars. If everyone did it, they would certainly notice. You can be part of the solution or part of the problem...
      • I will not knowingly pay for another Sony product or one of their derivatives and that includes media. I don't usually boycott much of anything but fuck Sony. I'll go without.

        With Sony that means that you can not watch or listen to any entertainment of any kind, and just about any kind of medical imaging as well, especially if it is printed, Sony has it's roots that deep.

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @05:48AM (#50801515)

      That's right up there with pick a different job. I you're in the business of licensing media to others then you will end up in this stupid situation. The only safe move is no to play, but then that move also means you don't get to eat.

    • by pr0t0 ( 216378 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @08:10AM (#50801855)

      This. So much this.

      More than a few years ago, Sony put rootkits on some of their music CD's. It was abhorrently wrong, they knew it, they did it anyway. That was the last straw for me. It came after SOE released Everquest II incomplete and broken. It came after proprietary audio formats (strong push against MP3) and proprietary media. It was during a time of suing grandmothers for music downloading. It was during a time of Sony's clear (ongoing?) campaign against its customers and fans.

      Since that time, I have not purchased Sony music, will not buy Sony consumer electronics, and won't even see a Sony pictures movie. I boycott ALL Sony related products and services, and have for the last ten years. People need to wake up and exercise the only power they have by voting with their wallets. We have to keep these companies terrified that such missteps will lead to their ruin, or else sleep in the bed we made without complaint.

      FYI - Here's a pretty comprehensive list of Sony's subsidiaries: []

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @02:31AM (#50801143) Journal
    I did not see it in the snippets of his license agreement, but I think that people should put something in such as: "if licensee claims ownership of the work in any form (including DMCA take-down notices) and fails to remove such claim within 24 hours of being notified at , this license shall terminate immediately and licensee shall lose all rights granted by this agreement."

    Sony's lawyer didn't immediately back down because Sony might have taken an exclusive license.
    • I would include a clause stating the original license fee increases 100x and is due 5 days from issuance of any fraudulent copyright claim instead.

    • Sony's lawyer didn't immediately back down because Sony might have taken an exclusive license.

      They would have benefitted from also taking Martinez's advice (FTFA):

      2.) Have your licensing documentation organized and easily searchable.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2015 @03:01AM (#50801209)

      Sony's lawyer didn't immediately back down because he was completely ignorant and thus assumed his company was in the right.

      Also, he explains in TFA that he did have such a clause in his terms of use with them and they did in fact lose those rights due to failing to remove the claim within the more generous 48hrs he gave them.

      The only reason they're still allowed to use the video is because they accepted a secondary deal that explicitly credits him and his website on their video, even if it took them days to get that done.

      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @06:25AM (#50801583) Journal
        The real question is whether he got the $150,000 for wilful copyright infringement form Sony, that Sony lobbied to have put into law.
        • by PRMan ( 959735 )
          Exactly. I would have gone for the $150,000.
        • Correction: $150,000 per YouTube view after the bogus copyright claim from Sony.
        • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

          The real question is whether he got the $150,000 for wilful copyright infringement

          You could read the fine article. The "or else" he gave them was that they'd have to take down the music video they'd used it in, losing its huge hit count. In marketing value that would probably have cost them far more than $150,000, and he had the right to demand it. He was being a nice guy by giving them the option to advertise his site on their video instead.

    • Sony's lawyer didn't immediately back down because Sony might have taken an exclusive license.

      That is no excuse.

      If he didn't have the information, he should have waited until he did.

      And the original copyright holder is just too nice. He should have charged Sony the amount Sony would have charged him for copyright infringement.

    • if licensee claims ownership of the work in any form

      Your clause wouldn't work since it was Epic's parent company that made the ownership claim. You would need to put something nice and broad in there about parent companies, partners, or affiliates. I'm sure a lawyer would know exactly how to close that loophole.

  • Why do you still do business and buy things from a company known to be hostile to their customer base both in legal and technical terms?
  • Couldn't he have sent a 'demand letter' (?) via certified mail, requesting that they either cease and desist, provide documentation of their ownership of the copyright, or accept the validity of their contract and his ownership of the copyright and give him due credit? It seems that phone calls and email, while civil, made him waste his time, while a physical letter (or a phone call from an attorney/paralegal on his side) would be something like a ticket to have their legal department give it priority.

  • Sony sues itself too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @05:08AM (#50801457)

    Sony is a massively complex company, such that they have sued themselves over DMCA issues before. Literally one division has no idea what another is doing.

    Samsung's rise in the 80s and 90s was fueled in part by a mission to destroy Sony. That was their driving goal, and they have in fact succeeded with that mission and then some. Part because Samsung is that good, but also because Sony literally invents ways to shoot themselves in the head.

    • Sounds interesting, can you provide some links on Sony suing themselves?

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        The one instance that comes up most often is the RIAA (of which Sony has a signifiant controlling interest) suing, which was operated by Sony Technology and Business unit.

        The RIAA also went after manufacturers that "encouraged" music piracy activites with their products, such as portable music players, CD burners, etc. Sony of course also makes CD burners.

  • Why is it that authorities assume that the copyright claim is always valid? In fact, it’s often not, with these companies conducting drag net campaigns.

    • Because music industry thugs can make life hell for Google if they don't cooperate. Right now, Google makes a ton of money from content hosted by the music industry. If they didn't take the music industry's side by default every time, then the music industry could take off all of their content which would cause a huge loss of revenue for Google. In addition to that, the music industry may be able to hold Google liable for every video that infringed on their content to the tune of $150,000 per view of eac
      • by jandrese ( 485 )
        Seems like Google makes a ton of money for the music industry too. Pulling all of the content just brings us back to the late 90s when everybody just sent bootleg MP3s everywhere because there was no legitimate alternative.
  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Monday October 26, 2015 @10:30AM (#50802671) Homepage Journal

    Youtube just took down two of my videos claiming they violate someone else's copyright. But they are animated films that I made in film school.

    I can only imagine that maybe the music used is copyright, but the film is my work. And I don't have the freaking first clue how to fight this since the films were uploaded to youtube many years ago under a different account I don't have the password for.

    As a result, I can't even login to READ the notice of why the films were removed. All I've got is the email notification that they were.

    • Hmmm... You got an e-mail telling you they were taken down. You don't know he password. I believe that you can ask for a password reset on Youtube and you'll receive an e-mail to reset your password - at the same e-mail address you received the takedown notice from.
  • So dont' do business with Sony Epc or any of the other companies Sony owns.

    There, problem solved.

  • As I recall, under the DMCA, the copyright owner is entitled to damages for this type of abuse.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein