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Friday, June 20, 2014

Our New Music Video Is A Parody... I Mean Satire... Whichever Is Legal


Let It Go: A Penny Pinching Parody

Yeah. We went there.

We even tried to monetize our "Let It Go" parody video, but apparently that's, um... illegal. Even though everyone else in the world seems to be getting away with it.

But are they really?

Even though it seems like all those video parodies on YouTube of the inexplicably popular song "Let It Go," from Disney's Frozen, are generating money, they're actually not... well, at least not for the user.

Legally, you can't monetize satire. Satire is when you take something copyrighted like a song or a movie or a book and rework it to make fun of or critique something else. Our new video, "Let It Go: A Penny Pinching Parody," is technically satire because we're taking an established song and making fun of our penny pinching lifestyle. In fact most of the "Let It Go" videos on YouTube are probably considered more satire.

Parody, on the other hand, is when you take something copyrighted and use it to make fun of the thing itself. You could call a parody "critique," and therefore consider it fair use under copyright law, which allows for the use of copyrighted material "for critique and review." In court, you might be able to get away with an argument for parody, but not so much with satire, especially if you're trying to make money off it. (Wikipedia has a great article explaining all of this in Layman's terms, if you're curious.)

But it's deceptive when you see all these bloody parodies on YouTube with millions of views and advertisements. It looks like the creators of the video are getting rich. But they're not.

Guess who is though.

YouTube.

That's right. Even though a parody video can fall under fair use, YouTube doesn't want to take the chance of getting wrapped up in a law suit, so they forbid the monetization of parodies. However, once a video starts generating a certain number of hits, YouTube automatically begins placing ads on your content. YouTube then delivers a portion of that revenue to its advertising partners, but it keeps a massive chunk. YOU, on the other hand, don't get a cent!

A December 2013 article from Advertising Age indicated that YouTube is expected to record $5.6 billion in gross revenue this year. That's a 51% increase from 2012, and a large part of it has to do with the growing increase of parodies. YouTube has got to be making a planet-sized load of cash off "Let It Go" alone!

Five point six billion dollars.

If you let each word slowly roll off your tongue enough times you can actually hear the sound of your entire body groaning in disgust.

"How can they get away with this?" you ask.

The simple pessimistic answer is: YouTube is owned by Google, which pretty much has more "I do what I wunna" power than the President. If an artist sues them for allowing videos of their copyrighted work on the internet, Google, with its universe encompassing control, will just erase their very existence from the space time space continuum. Ctrl + Alt + Delete.

There's not much an ant can do against a boot.

Anyway, enjoy the video!

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. That's what we do, Dawnita. Spread some LOLs :) Thanks for watching!

      Delete
  2. It's illegal in your case because you used copyrighted background music, the recording is copyrighted. Had you made it yourself, you could then use monetize the video. Just FYI.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's illegal in your case because you used copyrighted background music, the recording is copyrighted. Had you made it yourself, you could then use monetize the video. Just FYI.

    ReplyDelete