Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sony, your copyright lawyers need to meet with your marketing folks.

Some kids posted to YouTube a video of themselves dancing a choreographed dance routine to Adam's first single, For Your Entertainment. The song sounds like it's playing on a boombox in the studio where they're dancing, i.e. the quality of the sound in the video is not particularly good. Adam saw the video, tweeted that he loved it and linked to it. (Tens of thousands of people watched the video over the course of 24 hours.)

As soon as I saw Adam's tweet, I was curious about the copyright implications. Did this tweet from Adam constitute a license to use the recording? The use of the recording was clearly prima facie copyright infringement, but it seemed to me like it was also such good marketing for the song that the better business practice would be to let the video be. But no. Sony demanded the video be removed from YouTube.

I realize that Sony needs to police its copyright rights, but if I were Sony, I'd let those kids know they need a license and then grant them that license for $1 to use the song in this manner. And if Sony were really smart, they'd sponsor an online dance competition and dole out $1 licenses left and right.

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