INDmusic has responded to anger from composers, YouTube video content creators, developers and users after a spate of copyright claims was made by the firm on a number of game videos.
The firm, which claims to be YouTube’s largest music network, collects money on behalf of its clients and administers their rights on the video sharing website. As a result of recent changes to YouTube’s Content ID system and a recent deal with digital music distribution firm TuneCore to help monetise videos, the company’s own automated service has been identifying potential infringements, sparking numerous invalid and legitimate claims.
Speaking to Develop, INDmusic CEO Brandon Martinez has said they are not "evil trolls", and said video game composers had an obligation to report licences or commissioned work to their publishers, otherwise INDMusic and TuneCore wouldn’t be able to work efficiently on their clients’ behalf.
Explaining the situation and how it emerged, Martinez said: "TuneCore is a distributor and publisher for independent musicians around the world. Their job is to find and collect money on behalf of these musicians that they would not otherwise receive. INDmusic helps with that on YouTube in regards to the artists’ master rights.
"We handle rights management for unsigned and independent artists and labels, as well as help them grow their audience on YouTube. These copyright claims are an automated system that identifies anyone who is using any sound recording under our control.
"Unfortunately, with YouTube’s new claims policy, this means hundreds of gaming channels, many with invalid claims and even more with legitimate claims."
He added: "We are not evil trolls, despite what you read on Twitter. We are a company that prides ourselves in our relationships with our Partners in the music industry, independent artists/labels and major labels alike. The video game composers whose music is being identified in many of these videos have an obligation to report licensed/commissioned work to their publishers. If they don’t, how are they supposed to work efficiently on the artists’ behalf? If the publishers don’t know what’s going, they certainly can’t report it to us.
"Also, money is not being stolen from content creators. Once a dispute is placed on a video, the money is in limbo until the dispute is resolved. And artists have been made well aware on how to have their channel whitelisted so as not to receive claims on their own content."
Martinez also claimed the company and TrueCore, which it recently signed an agreement with, had made ample effort to contact composers affected, but some of its calls had gone ignored.
"TuneCore made ample effort to reach out to all of their artists, but especially publishing customers to make them aware of any and all changes," he said. "Several e-mails were sent out, as well as blog posts, and other forms of social media outreach. Unfortunately, many artists ignored this information. TuneCore and INDmusic have been incredibly active in since re-educating via Twitter and e-mail on how these issues can be rectified."
Musicians keen to reach out to INDmusic and TuneCore are advised to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any issues that may have arised from the copyright claims. Martinez was keen to note however that, in some cases, even if a claim has been made, "that does not mean the video will receive a strike or even be removed. It simply means the artist is now earning their share of the revenue".
When asked if the firm would perhaps like to make an apology for the recent automated copyright claims, Martinez replied: "We are doing our job, as we successfully have for the past two years, on behalf of our artists. I will gladly accept an apology from everyone who personally called me a c**t or told me to jump into a shallow pool filled with sharks and to swallow my own dick."