Monday, April 20, 2015

An Open Letter to You Tube and Viacom

In 2009 I created and uploaded a video called “Hey, Baby!” to You Tube. It’s just a series of short shots of me around the house smiling at the camera. That’s it. I didn’t use content created by another party, nor did I use music created by any other party. In fact, my video didn’t contain any kind of music at all. The last time I checked, my video had up around 5.8 million views. Which is just incredible. And so unexpected.

People made their own versions of the video, and some of them even used my video and added music and other things. That was done without my permission, but that’s OK. That’s the nature of viral videos on the Internet.

Because the video became so popular, TV shows started showing it in viral video themed programs. Some of them asked for permission, but most of them didn’t.

Tosh.0 was one such case. This show used my video a lot as a punchline to jokes. I didn’t mind it too much. They didn’t ask for permission to use it nor did they compensate me for it. They linked to my channel, but they spelled my channel incorrectly.

A couple of weeks ago You Tube took my video down citing copyright infringement on a complaint from Viacom. They were waving a big ass finger in front of my face, saying I shouldn’t upload content created by other people, threatening me with the closure of my channel if I had another copyright strike. And I’m like, what the fuck are they talking about?

Hey, Baby is owned 100% by ME, and no one else. I think what happened is this: Tosh.0 used my video without permission and compensation. Tosh.0 is owned by Viacom and now Viacom thinks my video belongs to them. Screwed up right?

This is not the first time it happened. ABS-CBN here in the Philippines used my video as well in one of their programs. Later, they tried to claim ownership of my video on You Tube. So for a while there was a notice that this video was owned by them.

Of course I went berserk. I filed a counter copyright infringement notice and got in touch with the Viacom contact person “Brad” cited in the copyright strike notice. I was angry, but I tried to keep it in control. Times like this logic over anger wins out. But I gotta admit, there’s nothing more infuriating than a big media corporation trying to grab something you own, threatening legal action.

A week or so later, my video is back online, without any note or even an apology from You Tube OR Viacom. Figures.

First, a word with You Tube: You Tube…. I spent years creating original content for my Komikero channel, working hard on each video. Do you understand this? YEARS. Couldn’t one employee spend one God damned minute verifying if some greedy media corporation actually have grounds to cite me for infringement? ONE GOD DAMNED FUCKING MINUTE.

Viacom… couldn’t you have “Brad” have less of a copyright infringement trigger finger and ask him to actually LOOK at the video and see if it’s actually owned by them? When you create viral video shows like Tosh.0, you are going to be using content NOT CREATED BY YOU. And as in my case, you most likely DIDN’T EVEN ASK FOR PERMISSION. How many copyright infringement strikes have you given original content creators on You Tube just because their videos appeared on shows that you own?

Arghh… I wish I could…. but I’ll just move on.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Half Kidding

For those who actually read my last post, which was my April Fool’s thing for this year… you might be interested to know that I was only half kidding. I do feel that way about social media, about Twitter and mostly Facebook. Except for approving a few tags, I actually haven’t posted anything myself in my profile for the past 14 days. Not that anyone would notice.

Besides I’ve got a lot of things going on offline lately which I just find crushing and it’s really wearing on me. April has been the most difficult month so far yet for this year, second only to May last year when my mom passed away. Things really just went downhill after Komiket. In a way things have been going downhill for quite a while. It only accelerated after Komiket. I feel so worn out. I need to swim in a beach, or maybe even just a pool. Hang out on a lounge chair watching the sun go down with an ice cold green apple soda in my hand. I would kill for that right now.

I wish April was over. Once April is over and things we’re expecting fall into place, I think it will get better from there. But right now it’s still right in the thick of the month and the end of the tunnel is still so far away.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Final Update (April Fool’s)

As you may have probably noticed, I really don’t post much on this blog anymore. Most people who have been active as bloggers have shifted to Twitter and Facebook to update their friends. In my case though, I haven’t been posting THAT much to Twitter and Facebook already. I don’t know, I guess I’m just getting tired of the Internet. You go online and you just see lies everywhere. It’s gotten so bad that you just don’t know what the truth is anymore. I’m just sick of it. I go on Facebook and all I see are rants, people complaining out loud to everyone and anyone except the people who really need to hear it, people passing off hoaxes as the truth (without even knowing it), people posting their dirty dishes (as if it’s a cool God damn thing to do), people having knee jerk reactions to news before thinking things out, people being jerks, people being homophobes, people being sexist, people being overly preachy… as I said I’m sick of it.

Many times I wish I could just unplug this damned thing. I think the time has finally come to do it. The only time I’ll be going online from now on will be to check my email for work related stuff, and that’s it.

I won’t go all drama queen and lament all this on Facebook before saying I will now be closing my account (like many people do). In fact, I won’t be closing my account at all. My FB and Twitter will still be there. This blog will still be here. But I won’t be.

Sorry to disappoint the few people who still read this blog and those who follow me on my online haunts. You know my email naman, so just drop be a line there and whenever I find myself online, I’ll try to respond. It might take a while.