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Rumblefish Submits YouTube Copyright Claim on Birds Singing

Posted by: , 13:51 EST, Wed February 29, 2012

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Licensing firm Rumblefish claims copyright on a YouTube video that only features the ambient sound of birds singing

Highlighting the notorious unfair nature of YouTube copyright claims, music licensing firm Rumblefish has claimed copyright on a YouTube video whose only "music" is that of birds singing in the background.

When YouTube users eeplox, a vegan, uploaded a video of himself collecting plants to make a wild salad, the last thing he expected would be for a copyright claim on his video's soundtrack, as the soundtrack in question consisted of only eeplox talking, and the ambient sounds of nature, including some birds that might have sung a few songs.

Unfortunately, the bird songs somehow triggered YouTube's copyright detection engine, and the video was flagged as possibly using infringing content licensed by Rumblefish. But even at this point, Rumblefish had the right to overrule the automated detection, and re-flag the video as "okay", except they didn't, and accepted the copyright claim. While the video was not taken down, ads were put on it, with revenue shared between Google and Rumblefish. 

When eeplox submitted a dispute for the take-down, putting forward the only argument possible, one that should have only consisted of one word: "wtf", Rumblefish reviewed the claim again, and once again decided that they have licensing rights to birds singing.

It wasn't until eeplox posted on Slashdot and on Google's YouTube help forum, and the media attention his story received, that Rumblefish eventually conceded that they did not have a valid copyright claim on eeplox's video.

Rumblefish's CEO has since apologised for the mistake, blaming it on a simple mistake, although did not offer explanation as to why the same mistake was made twice, first when the video was flagged, and a second time when a dispute was filed.

Here's the video in full, listen carefully to see if you can tell which copyrighted songs the birds might have been singing:


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