• Jay EuDaly

Algorithmic Insanity

Once again, YouTube has outdone itself.


Yet again, one of my teaching videos has been blocked.


This has happened before - several times. I have learned through trial-and-error that there are certain artists/bands that do not allow any use of their recordings, period. Jimi Hendrix, Sting, Prince, and this present example, The Beatles, come to mind.


In my opinion, the artists that refuse to allow any use of their recordings are setting themselves up to fade into obscurity. If I am not allowed to use a recording of the Beatles for educational purposes in a teaching video, I will find some other band/artist who will allow me to use them as an example of whatever it is I'm teaching, and my students will not be exposed to the Beatles' music. I'm already running into kids who don't know anything about the Beatles.


The Beatles (through Universal Music Group) have caused YouTube to block my teaching video in spite of the fact that copyright law and licensing fees DO NOT APPLY when the work is used for educational purposes - which it most definitely is in this video. It's clear that YouTube's algorithms can't tell the difference between Infringement and Fair Use.

  • Fair Use: (in US copyright law) the doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder (emphasis mine). (https://www.lexico.com/definition/fair_use)

I've blogged about this issue before (The Big Scam: Rick Beato's YouTube Rant) so I won't go into it here.


However, this latest episode has taken the insanity to a new level:


I've been redesigning the product sales pages for MasterGuitarSchool.com.


The old pages were pretty basic; the new pages have a lot more content, including video clips from the various lessons and promotions.


I've been downloading my own teaching videos from Master Guitar School's YouTube channel and cutting out little clips to use for information and free content on the sales pages.


So I downloaded the 2nd video from the pre-launch content for Unit 4: 7th Chords.


The part of the video I was wanting to use was a demonstration of songs that use 7th chords. I would show how to play the song or part of the song, and then play a short clip of the original recording of the song itself for comparison. This works for most tunes.


However, when I uploaded the new video, it was blocked because of the Beatles song, "Something."

The thing is, the original video from which I obtained the clip, which I downloaded from my own YouTube channel, WAS NOT BLOCKED!


So the exact same clip, is not blocked in one instance and is blocked in another instance, ON THE SAME CHANNEL!


Furthermore, when I made the original video, "Michelle" by the Beatles caused it to be blocked so I cut out the original recording and just kept my teaching of the song, which is what I wound up doing with "Something" in the 2nd video.


So on the first video, "Michelle" caused the video to be blocked but "Something" didn't.


That's why there's no recording of the original after my teaching demonstration of it. For other songs I taught in the video I was able to use the original recordings for educational purposes without incident.


So, thank you, Beatles. I am done with using your songs as examples of anything. And that's a damn shame because the Beatles were amazing. If they don't change their tight-fisted ways, within a couple more generations they will be forgotten. Their control issues will sabotage their legacy.


Rather I should say,

I am done with using Beatles songs as examples of anything other than YouTube's algorithmic insanity.

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