A little after 9 p.m. tonight I received the following e-mail from YouTube:
Dear Kwerky,And sure enough, the clip is back up.
In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we've completed
processing your counter-notification dated x/xx/xx regarding your video
This content has been restored and your account will not be penalized.
The YouTube Team
Very special thanks to Fred von Lohmann and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for their terrific assistance in this matter! Folks, I cannot begin to describe how impressed I have become with the Electronic Frontier Foundation because of this. Theirs has been the kind of service that is so rare to witness nowadays that when you do see it, it practically comes as a shock. There's no telling how much grief and headache that Fred and his crew have prevented not just for me, but for a lot of other people also. And if you find that you are capable of doing so, I would really like to suggest making a contribution to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This is one organization that really does merit a tremendous amount of respect for the work that it does.
There is more that I'm feeling led to say about this, but that'll have to wait to be appended to this post or on a new one tomorrow. But I wanted to go ahead and let it be known that the situation is now, apparently and very thankfully, resolved.
EDIT 9:33 a.m. EST:
There is something that I feel compelled to say now that this situation is apparently resolved for good. Something that I've been yearning to scream almost since this whole thing started...
At no point have I ever seen this, or even desired to see this, as a "get Viacom" thing. And I seriously regret that some people saw this incident as an opportunity to lash out at that company for sake of spite or profit or whatever.
Doubt it not: there's been a huge amount of frustration on this end for the past two weeks. But it's been such great irony that I've had to laugh about it too.
I've got nothing against Viacom. And I wish that nobody else would have anything against Viacom, either. Life's way too short to spend even a moment of it wanting to hurt others.
Believe me, I know from firsthand experience: bitterness will only reap regret.
Big companies are made up of people, too. Yeah, I know that a lot of big companies have screwed plenty of things up. But that's only because collective might magnifies the flaws that are already in every human being on the planet. And despite that apparent strength in numbers, you have to make yourself realize that it's not some corporate leviathan that you're in disagreement with, but the people within it... and it's altogether possible that you and they are more alike than you realize.
Ya see, we've made it all too easy to hate "them". It’s a hard thing to hate an individual person. But make that person a Viacom executive, or a Democrat or Republican, or a Protestant or Catholic, or a Muslim or Jew, or whatever, by de-humanizing them and sticking them behind some mass façade... and it becomes not just easy to hate them but it's practically expected that we try to destroy them!
I don't hate Viacom, no matter what's happened in the past few weeks. And I hope that nobody else does either, for this or for any other reason. So if you do, please stop.
Man has spent six thousand years struggling with law and how to comprehend it. We still haven't got it down pat. And then things like the Internet and digital media come and muck it up even more. I sincerely believe that's what happened here: Viacom and I converged on untrotted soil, in a way that to the best of my knowledge had never happened before. Fortunately, we got out (and once again I would like to thank Fred von Lohmann and the Electronic Frontier Foundation for their assistance with this situation).
In a way, I'm sort of glad that this happened. Just as I'm glad that I ran for school board even though I didn't win a seat. This Viacom/YouTube deal is something that I learned a lot from, and came out a better person for it. It's made me much more aware of things like copyright law and the DMCA (and the myriad of problems with that legislation). I think it's safe to say that from this incident I learned quite a lot about my personal strengths and weaknesses. It was a growth event.
And along the way, I got to meet and come to know a lot of good people.
Even the bad... or just the plain crazy... things that happen to you in life, you can find something good to take from them. If you want that.
It doesn't look like this is going to wind up in any kind of litigation, and for that I am thankful. If I can die someday without having sued or been sued, then I will die happy. This ends just as I had hoped it would: with the clip back up and, I like to think, with Viacom and me getting to shake hands and move on and wishing each other well. I'll certainly harbor no hard feelings toward Viacom for the past two weeks.
And I hope that Viacom doesn't think that this means that I want them to stop using my commercial on VH1. I just want to be able to let not only my friends see it but my children and grandchildren someday, which might be after the Web Junk 2.0 site has gone defunct.
Sometime in the next few days I'm going to "collect" the various news stories that appeared online about this thing and post them here, if nothing else than for my own convenience. But also for future reference in case anybody else wants to study what happened with this issue (including arguments that were made against my case... and there were plenty). Along with some other pertinent documentation, such as the DMCA counter-notification claim that I filed, which I would welcome others to study and scrutinize and if they feel so led, to criticize (hey, it was my first one :-).