Music Publisher Silences Scores of Videos in Spat with YouTube

Of all of the sources of baseless and ill-conceived takedowns in the Hall Of Shame, one stands well above than the rest: Warner Music Group.

In January 2009, after a behind-the-scenes spat with YouTube over advertising revenue, WMG began (mis)using YouTube's Content ID (i.e., audio fingerprinting) tools to remove lots of videos that were clearly fair uses, sight unseen.

Among the victims: Several homemade "literal video" mashups of famous music videos. One fan's acapella tribute to the film music of John Williams, which had received over six million views. A teenager singing "Winter Wonderland" for her friends.

These works are precisely the kind of creative re-uses the fair use doctrine was designed to facilitate. But that didn't prevent them from becoming collateral damage in WMG's negotiations with YouTube.