A Copyright Story in 5 Acts


A “content creator” created a (drone) video showing some nice landscape. Nothing bad or wrong so far. The video was uploaded to Instagram at first, I guess. That’s at least where I noticed the story that’s causing mixed feelings:

First Act

In his/her Instagram story, the “creator” complained about the video being blocked by Instagram due to a copyright infringement.

Second Act

In the subsequent story, the “creator” still seeming angry mentioned the account of some copyright-free music page pointing out that only electronic music will be used going forward, even though it won’t fit the nature video (for which some piano music was chosen stolen).

Third Act

Third Story: The video has been uploaded to Youtube. “Hopefully, it won’t be blocked there as well.”

Oh wow. Seriously? I checked out the channel and watched the video: a one-minute drone flight through a forest. Calming piano music (by Ludovico Einaudi). The video even had a link to the Youtube video the music was taken from. Interesting.

Fourth Act

The initial three stories have been deleted. In the meantime, I’d sent a message to the “creator” suggesting royalty-free piano music (and maybe asking for a bit more respect of copyright). I didn’t receive any response. Was the deletion of the stories the response? We’ll never know.

Fifth Act

After the first stories have been gone, the fourth one points out that pitch and speed of the music have been altered in order to prevent algorithms from detecting the copyright infringement.

The End

Oh boy! What’s gone wrong with people? Where has respect for the work of others gone? Why don’t even (some) people doing creative work respect the creative work others have created, even though in another field? How can someone be so brazen to even distort the original work just to not be detected?

I mean, the entire digital (social media) world changed a lot over the last couple of years, so did the creative bubble within them. In recent years, there were a lot of discussions about upload filters, and they will come now. Looking at the story above, I totally understand why.

I really thought we would know better by now. I really thought schools would educate kids and people about what can be used or under which circumstances (or what would be a copyright infringement). There have been many cases by now. File sharing tools can automatically report copyright infringements, people get prosecuted. And still…

I used to be a content creator myself. You could still download and use some of my photography from a stock photo platform, even though I did not upload any new content for almost 5 years. There were times where the list of unauthorized and unlicensed usages of my work was longer than the list of downloads or voucher copies I received. Back in those days, I was quite happy the platform took care of that and made people get proper licenses.

Nowadays, there are many, many awesome and generous people doing amazing creative work they offer for free, sometimes the creator only has to be credited (thus, make sure to check the license terms).

Are you a filmmaker in need of music for your work? You might want to take a look here:

Or are you in need of some photography for your projects? They might have something for you:

Others do creative work for a living, and they deserve to be paid for their work – or at least asked whether they’re fine with you using their work. They might agree if you just tell them what it’s all about. You might be surprised.

So, people, please be fair and respectful for all those who share their creativity with all of us, whether they want you to pay a license fee or not. Don’t be brazen. Don’t be evil.

P.S.: While writing this text, I listened to the music by Ludovico Einaudi. Having discovered his music is the good thing of all this. And, I stopped following the “creator” of the video from the story above. Don’t support theft of intellectual property. Better share and feature all the awesome and generous that are out there.