Antonio Vivaldi, RIP 1741. Someone tell YouTube about this.

Apparently YouTube thinks Vivaldi lived for 200 years or more. I just posted a 2012 violin/piano performance of the Four Seasons and YouTube said I was violating a copyright.

I’d say their audio scanner is a little too loose. The last time this happened, they were complaining about Loch Lomond.

Genuine question, because I’ve forgotten the answer: can specific performances of public domain works be copyrighted?

I thought so and I Googled up this:

It’s the performance that is copyrighted, not the piece of music.

Yes, at least in the US. The copyright office uses a P in a circle (“Protected”) to differentiate from C, Copyright of the work. At least that was the way it was in the 1980’s when I worked with this stuff (the law made this possible starting in 1976); maybe it’s changed now.

Not a factor here, though, since the specific live performance I recorded was not available anyplace else, so the audio could not be compared 1:1 for a match. This was not a case of my ripping off a commercial CD into a YouTube file, or posting a MP3 from a copyrighted source.

The disturbing thing to me is if YouTube sends me a copyright complaint from a contemporary royalty outfit, how do I know it is legitimate or not? If they do so badly for 1741 music, how can I trust other claims?

So I always tell them to shove it for obvious mistakes (and I win, they back down) but I am reluctant to challenge claims in other cases.

ETA: I’m not sure (P) stands for Protected or Performance.

Yes. Gilbert and Sullivan’s earliest recordings are public domain (as are all their works) but the modern performances are protected.

Whose live performance was it?

Your link doesn’t work for me; it just redirects to YouTube’s main page.

A local performer who hired me to record it.

Then try this:


It is indeed bizarre that YouTube would be giving you grief over that.

My only WAG is that perhaps Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is such a popular piece that people have been using it as background music for their videos, but one or more of the recordings they have been using have been copyrighted (and perhaps the copyright holders have complained), so as a result YouTube has become hyper-vigilant about people posting this particular piece…?

If YT received a DMCA notice, they’re doing what the law requires of them. Here’s what you need to do:

One problem with that page is that it makes no mention at all of Fair Use. It talks only about having the rights, and does not touch on the fact that using material belonging to someone else is quite permissible if the amount and the purpose fall within the Fair Use provisions of Title 17.

And therein lies a problem with using software to identify this stuff: all it does is look for the material, but can’t place it in context to determine whether the material is being used in a way that is permitted under Fair Use.

For example, if Jon Stewart uploaded one of his Daily Show news criticism segments to YouTube before it aired on TV, it would probably be flagged as a copyright violation for containing clips from Fox News, CNN, NBC, etc. But because those clips are being used for the purposes of commentary and criticism, they fall well within the Fair Use guidelines.

They didn’t. If it were actual DMCA notices, they wouldn’t be handing them out so freely, as you can get in a lot of legal trouble for frivolously handing them out. YouTube created a bunch of tools to help copyright owners fight this stuff, and does not as a rule investigate when the software says it’s wrong, although they could without legal problems. They leave it up to the users, and it always takes so long that you might as well not bother, unless your videos get high traffic–then it resolves in a week.

This is why most people who get popular producing Internet content that comments on other content, which should be fair use, all eventually move away from YouTube to or Springboard.

It’s stuff like this that makes me incredulous when the SOPA supporters were claiming Google was a piracy haven. They bend over backwards for content providers.

And, yes, my advice to the OP is to put up the video on a more reasonable host. You can even create a YouTube video that consists entirely of a link to the other video provider–that’s what two of my favorite reviewers, SFDebris and ConfusedMathew, do.

I am betting you were hit by a claim by " Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society" they are copyright trolls, please fight their claim.

I don’t think YT is handing out DCMA notices to me. And even if I don’t challenge them, they say that my video isn’t blocked, but some ads may appear. That’s something I can tolerate.

He died??? Where do I send flowers?

Vienna. I suggest plastic flowers; they last longer.

No one would hand out DMCA notices recklessly, misguidedly or dishonestly. That would never happen.

Yeah, I got a laugh out of that crap too. They could get into a lot of trouble, but they rarely do (I’ve only heard of a couple of instances) and take a calculated gamble that they won’t. The firms that the media houses contract with to issue DMCA notices toss them out irresponsibly, totally ignoring any potential for negative consequences.

Considering recent zombie related problems you could see how they might be wary of some new untested areas of copyright law involving the claims of the undead.

Well, that ought to be enough: get him to sign a release, and offer this to YouTube.

I have this problem often with a local photocopying store (heh, nearly said “Xerox Shop.”) If I bring in artwork to be copied, they are a lot happier if I can show them an artist’s release.

I got this email from YouTube after I disputed their claim: “One or more music publishing rights collecting societies has reviewed your dispute and released its copyright claim on your video…”