No Copyright Infringement Intended

“No copyright infringement intended.” This has to be the stupidest misuse of a legal term in existence and you will find it all over YouTube; I know I have, usually accompanied by a blather of “fair use” verbiage. When an entire album of music or a DVD of somebody’s concert is uploaded to YouTube, it’s not “fair use,” it is a copyright violation. No one on YouTube has the right to upload that stuff, but there is a profusion of material that’s there for the taking. And by taking, I mean downloading without paying a cent for the music or DVD. WTF, YouTube?

Probably the most depressing aspect of all this is the dimwits who do this and think they are protecting themselves from something by posting all that legalese that they likely cut and pasted from Wikipedia, which adds several levels of irony on top of all this. Nevertheless, this is piracy, folks. This is what it looks like: innocuous, harmless, well-intended. Just because the true copyright holders don’t pursue legal action doesn’t mean that the uploading of the material is legal. This echoes the old corporate saw about “it’s only illegal if you get caught.” No harm, no foul, right?

I can appreciate fans of musical groups wanting to share the music they love — heck, I’ve even done some really horrible cover tunes that I wouldn’t blame the songwriters for wanting to have taken down. But when someone takes a video, album, or DVD performance and illegally reproduces it, that’s stealing — no exceptions unless the copyright holder gives permission. To rationalize that the musician “has already made their money on it” is to unjustifiably insert oneself into determining at just what point said musician has made enough money that their rights to their own work no longer apply. No one on YouTube, or anywhere else, has that right.

Because there will always be a contingent of people out there who are too lazy and cheap to be bothered to do the right thing, the attempts to legislate against this will continue. SOPA, anyone? Unfortunately, the copyright holders are just as much to blame for this problem because if they don’t bother to defend their copyrights against illegal use, they weaken the power of copyright for all the rest of us. If what goes on on YouTube becomes acceptable, what copyright protection is there really? YouTube and those other social media outlets have to take responsibility for what they engender and enforce their own EULA and TOS agreements. If they don’t, then it is all just so much “fair use” blather.

*To add to this topic, in the November 8 article about my less-than-serious name change for the Redskins, I used a photo gleaned from a 1966 Sports Illustrated issue, properly attributing the photo to its photographer.  Of course, I did not pay for its use, but at what point can you illustrate a specific aspect of a topic without having to pay for it just to have the conversation?  I would be interested in the viewpoint from Sports Illustrated on this and if it would result in a cease-and-desist notice.

Hail to the… *psst, what’s their name again?*

I really do not want to keep writing sports-centric pieces, but the inclination for cracking wise got the better of me and I decided to scribble a little nonsense about the NFL team in the sights of the PC crowd: the Washington Redskins.

The owner, Dan Snyder, a not-so-great owner by most accounts, has vowed never to change the name even though many assert that the name is a racial insult perpetrated by the original owner, renowned racist George Preston Marshall. Slowly but surely, the drive to change the name among the general public has grown, but this is the world of high-finance sports and there will have to be a lot more voting with the wallet before any changes are seriously considered.

I have always maintained that if I was the owner of the team, I would change the name, but I would keep the basic design centered around the sweet spear insignia the Redskins wore from 1965-69.

photo by Walter Iooss, Jr., Sports Illustrated

photo by Walter Iooss, Jr., Sports Illustrated

However, the name would have to be good — excellent, in fact — and I would not call the team the “Washington Warriors”. Yuck!

My oh-so-very-clever idea for the team name would be to call them the “Washington Engines”, playing to the PC crowd by changing the name, explaining that the name has to do with Washington being the “engine” that drives the country or some other malarkey, while also playing to the racist crowd who didn’t find anything wrong with the native denigration. Racist, you ask? Just keep saying the name. Phonetics, thou art a harsh weapon of wit!

Now that I think about it, since “Engines” would be more appropriate for a city like Detroit, the franchises could switch locations and the Lions would move to Washington, except the spelling of their name would be changed to “Lyin’s” to make it a better fit to match the character of their new hometown.

Yeah, so I won’t be buying the team anytime soon.