Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Editing Tricks for Amateur Vacation Video #113

China 2001:  Xi'an - Terra Cotta Warriors

This video highlights a problem with posting your videos online.  The original soundtrack is missing!  Music, location audio, and my very witty narration are gone.  They are replaced with royalty-free music from YouTube's collection.

What happened?  YouTube detected a bit of copyrighted music.  Most artists would simply require YouTube to insert advertising, but The Eagles require that the entire movie be disabled.  In fact, The Eagles and others have an ongoing legal battle with YouTube over copyright issues.   (If you want to catch the flavor of the original edit, try playing Witchy Woman on your iPod while this video plays?)

Moviemakers, including amateurs like us, are subject to copyright laws.  With rare exceptions under "fair use" we should have explicit permission from the artists before publicly displaying movies that incorporate the work of others.

Most of my work was originally created for a "living room" audience.  So I've tried to be careful about which movies I place on the Internet.  The educational nature of this blog allows some latitude as fair use, but there are still pangs of conscience.  When a blog post displays video with copyrighted music, I always insert an explanatory paragraph (see below).

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The video consists of three parts:  an embarrassing scene at a restaurant where we thought the finger bowl was full of dipping sauce; the Terra Cotta Warriors archaeological site; and lunch at the hand-made noodle restaurant.  If you could hear the original soundtrack, you might like it.  The YouTube versions sadly lacking.

Lessons Learned:
Try to use royalty-free music for your soundtracks.  I have a growing library of SmartSound music that can be used over and over with no additional payments.  (Disclosure:  SmartSound is not a sponsor, I am simply a user of their products.)

All of the China trip vignettes are already loaded onto YouTube.  They may be viewed on one of my YouTube channels: HENBCtravel
I have three other channels that might be of interest:  HENBCvideo (miscellaneous videos that try to look professional, with particular respect for copyrights), RAGEAIR (advertises the licensing availability of my newsworthy videos), and this YouTube Channel of Shame (an odd collection of stuff, not respectful of others’ copyrights).

Music Copyright Considerations:
This original audience for this video was friends and family who would view the DVD in my living room.  That DVD contains identifiable music that is regrettably used without permission.  
Today, with digital distribution, artists' rights deserve more attention.  Since this video is intended for non-profit illustration and educational purposes only, I believe that valid arguments can be made for its "Fair Use" in this situation.  Please understand that I do not encourage improper use of copyrighted material.

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