Many of you remember a little over a year ago when YouTube yanked the clip I had posted of VH1's Web Junk 2.0 that made use of my my first school board commercial.
Well, this morning I got another "Video Disabled" e-mail from YouTube.
This time, it's about Forcery, the parody of Misery - about George Lucas being held captive by an overly-obsessed Star Wars fan - that we shot in 2004. Forcery was released in 2005 and I posted it on YouTube the following year, so it's already been on YouTube for about three years now.
If you've seen Forcery, then you know that when Lucas (played by lifelong friend Chad Austin) is driving back to California after writing the script for Star Wars Episode III, he turns on the radio and finds himself listening to the classic song "A Horse with No Name" by America. And the song plays on through when he loses control of his car and crashes in the blizzard, only to be later rescued by his "number one fan" Frannie (Melody Hallman Daniel).
Well, somebody has a problem with "A Horse with No Name" being in Forcery and this morning the following e-mail arrived from YouTube...
Dear kwerky,Here are some of the reasons why I find this removal to be particularly silly...
A copyright owner has claimed it owns some or all of the audio content in your video FORCERY - Part 1 of 7. The audio content identified in your video is A Horse with No Name by America. We regret to inform you that your video has been blocked from playback due to a music rights issue.
Replace Your Audio with AudioSwap
Don't worry, we have plenty of music available for your use. Please visit our AudioSwap library to learn how you can easily replace the audio in your video with any track from our growing library of fully licensed songs.
If you think there's been a mistake, or you have other questions, please visit the Copyright Notice page in your account.
The YouTube Content Identification Team
1. No one made any money from Forcery. I certainly have not. You have to be a little nuts to make a movie for the first time, not knowing what you are doing and "learning along the way", realizing fully well that you can not see a dime of profit from it. Forcery was a labor of love, and we all had a wonderful experience making it and if I had to go through it again knowing that it couldn't make money, I absolutely would. If anything I lost a few thousand dollars.
2. The complete song of "A Horse with No Name" isn't fully employed by the film, and the vast majority of the time that it's playing, George Lucas is speaking on his cellphone to his producer Rick McCallum. The song has faded into the background and then comes blaring back for dramatic effect when Lucas has his "I've got a very bad feeling about this!" moment. It's not like anyone can make any quality MP3 rip of the song from this clip.
3. As with every song and bit of music that is used in Forcery, I gave attribution for "A Horse with No Name" to musicians (they being the band America) in the end credits. That is something that I have done from the beginning and have always done. It is not at all like I used the song and pretended that I whipped it out of my hat.
4. Forcery could be categorized as a "Star Wars fan film". And the vast majority of fan films - from any milieu out there - use copyrighted elements of some form, be it music or something else. If Forcery has to get yanked because of this, then I would imagine that most other fan films on YouTube and elsewhere are likewise in jeopardy.
5. Come to think of it, the same can be said for most of the other stuff on YouTube as well. Including all of those cute video "mash-ups" using puppies, the Sesame Street Muppets, etc.
So is the rest of Forcery going to also be pulled from YouTube because I used a bunch of Slim Whitman songs?
I'm inclined to laugh about it though 'cuz there's some irony given the timing of this development. And just last night on the phone Chad and I were talking about Forcery and now, well... I guess he's going to have to put up with being in the limelight a little bit more for his terrific portrayal of George Lucas.
Right now I'm mulling it over about what should be done about this. But in the meantime, you can still watch Forcery if you like, in a variety of sizes of Quicktime video. I'll be the first to admit that it's a bit rough around the edges, but a lot of people have called it "hilarious", "whacked" and "like a Troma film but with less violence". So if you feel so led to watch it, enjoy! :-)