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  • rainy

    Germans Unable to Watch Dashboard Cam Videos of Chelyabinsk Meteor

    Adam Holland, February 20, 2013

    Abstract: Did you see the videos of the Russian meteor explosion?
    The videos breaking YouTube's view records?

    If you live in Germany, maybe you couldn't.

    It turns out that most, if not all, of the videos of the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk recently, all of which were captured on the ubiquitous Russian dashboard cameras, are blocked in Germany.



    (A huge hat-tip to Ars Technica for bringing this to light.)

    Too funny!
    If you thought that the guy whose woodland stroll videos (with ambient noise soundtrack) were taken down on music copyright grounds was the last word in automated YouTube takedown silliness, prepare to have your assumptions challenged.


    It turns out that most, if not all, of the videos of the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk recently, all of which were captured on the ubiquitous Russian dashboard cameras, are blocked in Germany.

    Why?
    Because the cameras record sound as well, and many of the cars have the radio on. Here's an example.
    This background music appears to be triggering automatic takedown processes within YouTube.
    The assumption being made by the software is that the German music rights association, GEMA, controls access to these songs, since they are listed as the ones with a claim.
    The error/blocked message reads
    "“Sorry, this video, which includes music from [Sony Music Entertainment], is not available in Germany because GEMA has not granted the publishing rights thereto.”"
    Bizarrely, and somewhat ironically, it appears that no attempt has been made to find out if this is true.
    Google has elected not to investigate further, and GEMA has decided to see this as a potential weapon in its ongoing efforts to charge some licensing fees extract some rents /capture some surplus value from YouTube and Google. GEMA doesn't care for the way it is portrayed in Google's "this video is blocked" messaging that accompanies these and other videos. Here's the German Journalist's Union on the topic. (translation)

    So, in summary,
    Music on in the background of a dashboard camera video prevents German citizens from watching video of the largest meteor event since 1908's Tunguska explosion.
    I'm sure that faint snippet of music is substituting in their minds for the real thing.

    US citizens, it may not be working as well as it could or should, but never take fair use for granted.

     


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