Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 19th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2015 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

More on copyright abuse

22 February 2013

I wrote about copyright abuse in a column just days ago but I wasn't talking about the type of abuse that concerns the RIAA/MPAA and, closer to home, RIANZ.

No, I was talking about the abuse of copyright that keeps these people hunting down their own customers and dragging them through the courts.

It was no surprise therefore, to read this story on Arstechnica where it is reported that the German industry rights group GEMA has forced YouTube to block a whole bunch of videos on copyright grounds.

What's wrong with those videos?

Are they bootlegged or illegally uploaded music videos or movies?

No they're not -- they're videos of the massive meteorite that scorched across the skies of Russia last weekend.

So how does that work?

How can anyone own copyright on a meteorite?

Well (of course), nobody does own copyright on the meteorite -- but apparently many of the vids were taken by the ubiquitous dashboard cameras that are fitted to so many Russian cars and, as a result, there's a background music track from the audio systems also fitted to those vehicles.

GEMA has bitched and moaned to YouTube that, since they are authorised to collect royalty payments for *any* and *all* music broadcast or streamed to German residents, the website must pay them half a cent each time those videos are viewed from a German IP number.

What the hell are they smoking over at GEMA?

I long ago gave up using any form of music (even royalty free stuff) in my YouTube vids because of complaints from my German subscribers. They pointed out that the vids with any kind of music were blocked in that country -- because GEMA couldn't collect the necessary royalties.

Yes, that's right -- GEMA is demanding royalties on royalty-free music. How does that work?

Apparently, even if you write and perform your own music and put it on YouTube, GEMA will demand that YouTube pay them a royalty whenever a German resident watches that video.

Will *you*, the owner of the copyright, ever see a cent of that money?

Of course not.

So isn't that fraud and theft on the part of GEMA?

Of course it is.

That's why I claim that we need to stamp out copyright abuse.

Like it or not, the biggest abusers are the various rights organisations which purport to be working on the side of good and right but who are actually defrauding the very artists they claim to represent.

Need more evidence?

The latest "Skynet" prosecution resulted in the offender being made to pay over $700 for downloading some Elton John and Coldplay tracks. Included in that $700 or so was a $7 fee equivalent to the value of the tracks downloaded. Will Elton John or Coldplay ever see a cent of that money?

Cue Tui's ad.

Again... more copyright abuse, fraud and theft.

As I've said before, it's time to review the true purpose of copyright law and restore its actual basic raison d'etre.

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say on this...

PERMALINK to this column

Oh, and don't forget today's sci/tech news headlines

Rank This Aardvark Page


Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines


Apart from the kind support of the sponsor, Aardvark Daily is largely a labour of love that involves many hours of hard work each month. If you appreciate the content you find here (or even if you don't) then please visit the sponsor and also feel free to gift me a donation using the button above.

Remember, this is purely a gift, you'll get nothing other than a warm fuzzy feeling in return.


Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam


The Missile Man The Missile Man book

Previous Columns

Why you should not fear nuclear war
Some interesting information from Chernobyl must have people wondering if a global thermonuclear war would be as fatal to the future mankind as we've been lead to believe...

A define lack of testicular fortitude
Just hours after our "hard nosed negotiators" started patting themselves on the back over the results they achieved in respect to the TPPA, giant cracks are opening...

It's 1998 all over again
Aardvark readers are smarter than average and also tend to take a greater interest in politics and current affairs...

Is there a new online battle looming?
Most people appreciate that advertising is just a fact of life on the Net these days...

All Yr Wndwz 7 R bLnG 2 ME!!!
The folk at Microsoft probably signed a collective "oh dear" (actually, it was probably a lot less family-friendly than that) this morning...

Volkswagen scandal kills the diesel option?
I have always had trouble reconciling the claims that noisy, smelly, smoky diesel engines are somehow less polluting than their comparatively quiet, odourless, visually clean petrol equivalent...

Martians are probably slimy
Interesting news on the space front -- NASA is now convinced that they have spotted liquid water (or signs thereof) on the surface of Mars...

EVs for government?
There is increasing pressure for the government to start using EVs in its massive fleet of vehicles...

The lithium battery problem worsens
Lithium is a highly reactive element and its affinity to combine with other elements, releasing energy along the way, has made it a very effective component of modern lightweight, high power-density batteries...

Pay attention, it's important!
One of the biggest news stories this week was the way that a US drug company purchased the rights for a particular treatment and then jacked up the price by 5,000%...

Can we fix it?
Over the past few weeks I've been tossing around a lot of ideas for creating new, engaging, educational, entertaining YouTube content and here's another...