My comment on COLC-2021-0009-0001

There is an open call for commentary on some pendidng legislation. Here is what I submitted:

As an independent musician, I often run into many problems with automated copyright enforcement online. Quite often I’ll upload a music video to YouTube containing only my own original work, but then I get a copyright strike because the drum beat or some incidental noise happened to match something on a major label track. The recourse for this is to appeal the copyright strike, and YouTube almost always finds in favor of the record label, as they have huge amounts of money and I do not.

Similar issues are faced by individual photographers who take photographs of well-known landmarks, being issued takedown notices because their photograph happened to closely match a similar photo owned by Getty Images or the like. For that matter, Getty Images often assumes they own photos that independent journalists put on their articles, when those photographs were taken specifically for the article.

There are also many content creators who create videos which include thorough academic analyses of copyrighted work, completely within the bounds of fair use, but algorithmic copyright detection filters do not understand any nuance when it comes to the difference between analysis and outright copying. In one particularly ironic case, Adam Neely made a video in defense of Warner Media regarding a copyright dispute over a song, and then Warner Media flagged that video – for the part of it which wasn’t even owned by Warner!

The copyright system is also often abused to prevent discussion of important issues, and copyright reporting mechanisms are often used as an end-run around anti-SLAPP measures.

Algorithmic copyright matching needs to come with extreme human oversight. While an algorithmic match can and should be used to inform people about potential infringement, it should never be used as an automated means of preventing access to a work, legal or otherwise.

If you care at all about the garbage clusterfuck that is the US copyright system, please share your comments in advance of the public consultation by February 8, 2022.


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