If you haven’t seen the remixes of Lazy Town’s We Are Number One, you probably haven’t been much on the Internet lately. It got so popular that DHX Media, the copyright holders of Lazy Town, released the audio files for people to make even better remixes… but with a crux: They instantly get monetization through Youtube’s automatic copyright claim system, the moment the video is uploaded.
I woke up early one morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. I wasn’t feeling up to doing anything useful just yet, it was only 5am, so I decided to play around with some audio editing. I quickly stumbled upon a technique where I could turn a voice into one of a megalomaniac robot. I had seen a few days prior that the actor who plays Robbie Rotten in Lazy Town had gotten permission to release the audio files for We Are Number One, and I decided to apply my sound editing to it and jump on the WANO bandwagon.
2 hours later, my video was ready to be uploaded. It took about 30 minutes to upload and as soon as it was out, I felt my phone vibrate. An email letting me know one of my videos had been claimed for copyright infringement. I checked, and sure enough, it was We Are Number One but Robbie has been replaced by an evil robot clone. DHX Media claimed it right away, but they didn’t restrict it. They just took all the money from it.
I thought this must be a mistake, perhaps the melody was what got it caught. I countered the claim, explaining how it fills all the criteria for Fair Use under DMCA and that it was a parody, not a copy of the original. Today, 5 days later, I got their response: Nope, it belongs to us!
I have spoken to other content creators with WANO videos, and they have an identical story to tell.
This means that DHX released the audio files with the express intention to cash in on this phenomenon and despite each uploader not receiving much, together all those millions of views will generate a pretty penny for them.
THEY are stealing OUR work, contrary to the DMCA. It’s OUR intellectual property.
So, I was looking at my options to get Youtube involved to mediate this obvious infringement on my rights, and there’s exactly one: Submit an appeal to reject the rejected dispute, mediated by the CLAIMANT. DHX gets to decide if it’s theirs or not. And there’s a big warning sign above the link stating that if THEY decide THEY own it, I’M getting a copyright strike on MY channel… and then they get to decide if the video stays with them getting the money, or if it’s taken down.
Broken doesn’t even begin to describe the process Youtube uses. This is a clear case of Fair Use, as it fills the criterias:
- It is a parody
- It is sufficiently modified to not be mistaken for the original
- It does not impact the sales of the original negatively
And that’s not even counting the fact that DHX already said “Go ahead, use this material as you wish”. That is written permission!
So screw you Youtube and screw you DHX. I am disputing this claim and we’ll see where it ends up. It’s late, I’m tired, but at the moment of writing, I’m thinking it’s worth it to take it to court, if they keep on stealing people’s property like this. Put a stop to this practice once and for all. I ain’t got no money, so I ain’t got nothing to lose.
Let’s see what the sane, logical and collected me thinks in the morning…