Copyright vs. Copy Respect

People often contact me to let me know that a video that I created has been “stolen” or “ripped off” by someone. This page represents my long standing position on the issue.

All of my content is released as Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives. This means that if you are going to post my content I prefer that you post it in its entirety (not edited or mixed into another work), and provide attribution in the form of a link. I view this in terms of respect, not legality. Donations are what keep us afloat (we do not rely on advertising), so those who care about our work should make sure that people find their way to our website at some point.

No one can own an idea.

The entire concept of intellectual property is flawed and holds us back as a species.

In that context, my stance on the “No Derivatives” condition is more nuanced than the license implies. I do not like it when my content is edited in ways that distorts the original meaning, or associates it with ideas and or personalities which I strongly oppose. Releasing under “No Derivatives” is the only way reserve the option to address abuse. So far I have never exercised that option through any official channel (I prefer to apply social pressure instead).

“But they didn’t give you credit for the video! They removed your credits and pretended it was their own” Yeah, that’s kind of disrespectful, but throwing a fit about it would be counterproductive.

My goal is, and has always been, to tip the narrative by any means necessary. Sometimes that means not getting credit.

IMPORTANT: You do NOT have the right to take a “Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives” work and place copyright protections on it. This is one area where I do take a hardline approach. Several times I have had people take the audio from my videos, mix it into their music, and then add that music to Youtube’s content ID system. The result: my content got flagged (and claimed) for containing my own voice! Not cool.

This license does not prevent you from using it in a commercial context (such as radio or television). However sometimes companies will demand to see written permission before you are allowed to monetize. This page constitutes written permission and is all that I am willing to provide in most cases. Do not contact me for personalized documentation for Youtube copyright reviews. It wouldn’t do any good anyway. Copyright enforcement on Youtube is highly political. I speak from experience.

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