There are times when defending your legal rights can do more harm than good. I think I saw a prime example of that this week between a creative YouTube video that was blowing up the Internet, and a company that asserted its legal copyright claim to shut it down.
A YouTube video was put out around December 30, 2011 from someone named kdynamic, where he took a recorded interview from MoBoogie in 2007 where artist Bassnectar explained the concept of Dubstep in music. The presentation was set up in Prezi, and the audio from the interview was overlayed on the presentation, and it was a thing of beauty. I don’t even like Dubstep music, but I found the presentation helped explain it in a way that I would have otherwise not cared about one little bit. The visuals, along with the audio were fascinating, and held the viewers attention in a way that separately they would not. I sent it to some of my teaching friends as an example of combining lecture with video in ways that hold their students’ attention.
When I viewed it earlier this week, it had already been viewed over 180,000 times, and websites all over the music scene were linking to it, or embedding the video on their site. The creator of the video acknowledged the artist (Bassnectar) and basically asked for forgiveness for doing this without permission first. It seems from some of the other things that I saw from Bassnectar, was that he was cool with the video, but admitted that he’s changed some of his thoughts on the music style (what it means and how it is laid out) since the interview.
The original interviewer, MoBoogie, however, was not as forgiving. Apparently, MoBoogie sent a letter demanding the removal of the video because they owned the copyright for the original interview. kdynamic attempted to keep the video up with the presentation being overdubbed by generic non-copyrighted music, but MoBoogie didn’t even want that out there, so the whole thing came down. In the music world, it made MoBoogie look like a jerk.
In reality, (or at least my version of it) MoBoogie blew a golden opportunity here. Anyone that has a website or blog knows that once content hits its one-day-old birthday, it is out-of-date. Old news. Cast off into the depths of oblivion with the occasional view from a random Google search. Here was an opportunity to get nearly 200,000 eyes back on one of their old stories. Instead, MoBoogie took the hatchet approach and cut off their own hand in the process.
It is clear that kdynamic was wrong and in copyright violation. It is clear that MoBoogie had the right to shut down the video. But being right, doesn’t always mean that you’re doing the right thing for yourself. I think that MoBoogie would have put itself in a much better position to ask kdynamic to place a link to MoBoogie’s original interview and mentioned that there were additional interviews of Bassnectar there. They could have done so in a way that would have told kdynamic not to do this again without permission, but still be able to ride the coat tails of this viral video all the way back to their website (perhaps even getting additional ad revenues as a result.) Instead, they came down hard and fast, and essentially blew a golden opportunity.
If MoBoogie was smart (and it doesn’t look like they are), I would suggest that they hunt down the person that did this Prezi presentation and hire him as a contract worker to do more of these presentations on some of their other interviews. I imagine that instead of doing something smart like that, they are instead hunting down others to quash with their legal rights. Apparently, being in the right, is better than being smart and seeing the opportunities that are out there.