Warner Music Mutes MP Angus’ Radio Documentary On Youtube

In recent years, Warner Music has become infamous for “muting” the sound on hundreds of YouTube videos that include music over which they hold copyright. While takedowns of full copies of songs is their prerogative, the effect of muting user-generated content that may have a snippet of a song as background for a non-commercial work is precisely why the Canadian government introduced the so-called YouTube exception into Bill C-32.

This weekend, Warner Music’s policy hit an unlikely target – NDP MP Charlie Angus. Angus reports that he tried to post one of his old CBC radio documentaries on Carrie Chenier, the first woman underground miner in the uranium mines of Elliot Lake, on Youtube. She discusses work as a single mother as well as the fight for compensation for the cancer victims in the uranium industry.  At least that’s what Angus says the discusses.  Since there is apparently some Warner Music owned audio in the background, the entire video has been muted so that it cannot be heard.   It is these kinds of situations – non-commercial new uses of works that do not have a substantial adverse impact on the underlying work – that make the UGC provision in Bill C-32 a positive step forward that users and creators.


  1. Umm…
    Gee reading this post it’s almost as if C-32 is a good thing and I should support. However, I’m pretty that this is the opposite of the true situation. One of the many reasons why I think your ‘praise the few good things in it’ approach is misguided. The digital locks provision will be so bad that all of the other provisions are therefore irrelevant and not worth praising, because if you convince people that those other provisions are good then maybe they’ll support the bill and then locked up digital hell will come along for the ride. Do you think those people who end up supporting the bill based on your selective praise, will appreciate the service you did them when the bill is in place and digital locks become absolutely ubiquitous and no one can legally use the rights you’re pointing out here any longer because of all the locks that are put on everything BECAUSE they trump everything else in the bill? No I don’t think they will thank you; I think they will feel that Michael Geist misled them into the dark by not speaking enough truth to power and trying to split the difference.

    There is nothing good about C-32 because there is an overriding DRM clause that allows any company to put the kibosh on any of the other rights in the bill simply by placing a digital lock on the file. No more rights for you. Therefore every clause is rendered moot and non-operative in our culture going forward, and that is why posts like this are incredibly, incredibly misleading about this bill and play right into Conservative (and American hands).

    It’s just a sneaky frickin’ bill and we shouldn’t let them get away with it by giving them points for fake, DRM-trumped ‘rights’ which are actually nothing of the kind.

  2. Except, isn’t YouTube a for-profit, commercial company owned by Google , which has made a science of reaping enormous profits from the use of “free” content?

    I agree, we need to find a solution so Charlie can affordably distribute his art; but let’s not ignore the biggest, most powerful and least accomodating players on the board.

    Perhaps YouTube needs to step up and offer a financial solution to Warner if it wants to contiinue to score the big advertsing dollars.

  3. So, here I am agreeing with John again… sort-of 0_o
    I have to admit there are infringing works on YouTube. Just yesterday I found my 8 year old daughter watching a feature length Disney movie someone had uploaded in 8 parts (we had a talk). As much as I am a proponent of fair use, this I think is obviously outside the ‘user-generated’ envelope.

    Now the flip side is the example of Charlie’s video or the ubiquitous ‘toddler dancing to Prince music’ where there is little or no damage to the artist. One could even argue that there are positive promotion aspects, until such artist’s throw a fit and become their own worst managers.

    So yes Degen, I agree YouTube making page count advertising profit over full length movie uploads is wrong and should be more curtailed or possibly compensated from that revenue generation. A blanket smearing of all content as infringing by the content owners on the other hand is short sighted and unproductive.

    Again a complex issue without a simple answer.

  4. THE simple answer: abolish copyright. This medieval relic is nothing but a monopoly and censorship tool.

    Nap. 🙂

  5. @Crockett
    Well put. However, I would point out that damage is subjective, in that damage could be monetary or in reputation, and the degree of damage is open to interpretation. For instance, an artist that has consistently argued for tighter restrictions around copyright and downloading may consider their reputation to be harmed if they don’t demand muting, in particular if their work is the only thing to be heard on the sound track to the video (for instance, it was dubbed in later). Or, for instance, that same baby was dancing to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” (I use that as an example as I seem to remember the frontman for the group being active on the copyright front).

    Now, perhaps it is me, but I got a giggle out of being Charlie “Mr iPod levy” Angus’ video… just the nasty side of me coming out.

  6. The Mad Hatter says:

    Or Maybe We Should Just Dump C-32
    And restart the copyright legislation discussion with an independent peer reviewed study of what is in the best interests of Canada and Canadians? Oh wait, the CRIA wouldn’t like that idea…


  7. 😉
    lol Napalm, I see you are goading Degen again. Maybe you should try something new like .. “All artists should work for free as their talent’s are a result of the genetic gene pool of the general public”

  8. Funny, don’t in many cases Youtube provide a link to being able to buy the track from itunes or where ever the copyright holder wants?

    This happened to me when I posted something with a short music clip in it. Which is a win-win in my opinion (My video stayed up and the rights holder gained an option to sell their music if anyone liked the song in my video).

    Degen once again thinking Youtube is nothing more than stealing from content creators. When in fact, it’s now the biggest promoter of music in the world. With the potential power far greater than radio ever was. Giving artist direct access to their potential customer base.

  9. Disney… hmm….
    Copyright can be a good thing, like medicine, but like any medicine too much can be lethal. Too much copyright can be as bad as too little and that’s what Disney and other media companies have been pushing, creeping the length of time for copyrighted works higher and higher. The public are starting to react to the infinite copyright that they are trying to steer governments towards. (And make no mistake that they are– the history of copyright extensions shows that quite plainly)

    From what I understand, copyright was originally created to protect individuals with ideas against wealthy companies who could crush them with teams of lawyers. I’m sure you can find on Google quite a few inventors who were screwed over by companies (FM, I think, was one) Over time companies have co-opted the defense against them into a weapon against individuals. In addition, for some reason companies are being treated like individuals for copyright benefits but not as individuals for copyright penalties. If the recording industry (the big monolithic ones) were penalized for copyright violations in the same way they wish to penalize individuals then they would owe billions.
    It’s this two faced, greedy behavior that more and more people are becoming aware of that is helping in the general public’s growing scorn of copyright. I wouldn’t trust any sort of ‘fairness’ coming from the CRIA (and I dislike this use of a ‘front man’ to misdirect public opinion from the real powers behind them). Ever. They will push and push and push for more power unless the public pushes back.
    Don’t get me wrong–people like free stuff and too much ‘free’ copying can be bad–but the companies are certainly far from being saints themselves. With everything I know they they pull and what they’ve done to copyright I possess a degree of fear to attempt anything creative. That is the worst thing of all.

  10. @Crockett: “lol Napalm, I see you are goading Degen again”

    Well, it is my pleasure that every time he posts something “radical extremist”, I do the same in the opposite direction. Keeps the balance 🙂


  11. Degen said:

    Except, isn’t YouTube a for-profit, commercial company owned by Google , which has made a science of reaping enormous profits from the use of “free” content?

    Kinda like this?–geist-record-industry-faces-liability-over-infringement;_Canadian_recording_industry_set_for_six_billion_penalties?

    And people wonder why I don’t buy music any more and only download CC Licensed music.

    Youtube should work with sites like and other CC licensed music sites and feature them as sources for free music for people videos. I bet you you’d see a huge drop in free promotions for commercial music in peoples videos.

  12. what is the piece of music, what’s the context of use ? how long is the piece …let’s all light the torches and grab the pitchforks before we actually know what’s going on …typical of this page.

  13. WHY???
    Why are we letting big companies make the rules? We should:

    1-Serve our files from our own computers, or at least contract with hosting companies that do not bend over at the whim of American corporations.

    2-If a takedown request comes in, say NO, or contract with hosts that will say NO, not until I get an order from a CANADIAN court.

    It is our patriotic duty, which we owe to our ancesters, and to our children, to defend our freedoms at all costs.

  14. The Napalm History Channel
    Once upon a time there was this gentleman Noah Webster, known as the father of the American copyright system.

    Noah created a dictionary and although he borrowed liberally from the British dictionaries of his time, once he had published his own, he wanted to protect it so fellow Americans couldn’t borrow from it anymore.

    It was only so handy that his cousin Daniel was a senator at that time and could sponsor his proposed “copyright bill”. The first major statutory revision of U.S. copyright law, the 1831 Act, was the result of an act of corruption, mostly known these days as “intensive lobbying”.

    All hail copyright!!!!

    Nap “Je Me Souviens”

  15. The Napalm Cartoon Channel

    This also shows how copyright encourages creators to produce more. Without it, we wouldn’t have them still making Betty Boop cartoons. Oh wait, they stopped doing that 60 years ago…. Never mind….


  16. Now that Charlie has also been on the receiving end of the copyright law, I’ll trust him to have a more balanced view than other members of the committee.


  17. Charlie unmuted
    Well Charlie Angus’ Youtube posting has been unmuted.
    This is an example of notice and takedown working properly. YouTube temporarily muted it when it discovered that the clip was using someone else’s content, namely, Warner Music Group’s music. The poster (Charlie Angus) was notified that there was a claim against his clip at which point he could have filed a simple online objection saying that he disputed the muting, the rights holder was notified and it was unmuted. It would have happened even faster had his first action been to file a dispute rather than go to Mr Geist. All is well: the rights holder and poster were protected, and no one had to go to court. And rights holders can continue to get paid (although no one is getting paid for this particular use), because the YouTube system in the States allows that. In Canada, unfortunately, the UGC exception to Bill C-32 will allow YouTube to exploit works without compensating rights holders. (BTW, I assume Charlie cleared use of the clip with the CBC or had the right to reuse the doc in this manner in his original CBC deal.) And in Canada, because there is no notice and takedown process, any dispute, no matter how trivial, will require filing a court action — which harms everyone.

  18. CreatorRights says:

    much ado about nothing?
    Seems like an overreaction here, no? Angus tried to upload something to youtube, their software caught copyrighted audio, and the track was muted temporarily until sorted out(clips used to be blocked or taken down!). Then he (or whoever admins his channel) clearly made a simple ‘dispute’ request, and the audio was unlocked. Isn’t this the system working as it should? But I guess beating up on labels is the MO here…

    I’d be more concerned that Angus is uploading something actually owned by the CBC, violating their original agreement!

  19. Simple Work Aorund
    1. Upload to YouTube.
    2. Download FLV using Download Helper plugin for Firefox.
    3. Post on your own website/blog.
    4. Screw Warner Bros.!