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Orchard Music YouTube Copyright Scam
  • Does anybody have any experience dealing with the Orchard Music people? They claimed a public domain song is under their copyright in one of my videos. Apparently this is an ongoing thing since 2011 or so. I don't make much on ads anyhow, so I'm thinking of moving all my stuff to vimeo altogether.

    Here's a video from somebody else who's trying to fight it. Is there a class action lawsuit or something?

  • 11 Replies sorted by
  • I've had this about 10 times. The trouble is you have negotiate with the alleged content owner. Sony BMG are good and responsive. Worst case has been a month to sort stuff out.

  • Even if it is public domain, you may not have all the relevant rights. But mainly you will encounter ppl who just claim everything. I get for sure twenty bogus claims per year, and we own all our stuff.

  • vimeo is heading the same way

  • Update: Orchard Music let the copyright claim expire (passed a month). Next day (today) another Sony subsidiary, Horus Music, put in another copyright claim on the same video.

    All this time I'm losing ad revenue because YouTube doesn't let users monetize videos in dispute. As far as I understand it, filing a fake copyright claim is considered perjury in the US. It's irritating in the least. For a public domain song/performance!

  • They eventually stopped with DMCA requests after I stated pretty much what I said in the previous comment. They didn't retract the last complaint, but rather let it expire after about a month and stopped filing them after that. This is what I said in the dispute:

    The only audio in this video is "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard: the song is Public Domain and is therefore free to use. Horus Music does not own "Long Tall Sally."

    I formally request that Horus Music, Sony, and all Sony subsidiaries stop claiming copyright on any content in my videos.

    By filing repeated false claims, Horus music and it's parent companies (i.e. Sony) are harassing me and committing perjury, a felony under United States law (which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years) by filing DMCA requests through which they falsely claim they own the content.


    The problem is that companies like these want to put monetized ads on videos they have absolutely no copyright control over. Google/YouTube lets them do it if the owner of the video loses or doesn't appeal the copyright dispute. They do it to many people: basically a shotgun approach.

    I hope my insight might be able to help other people dealing with the same or similar issues.

    [For reference/clarification, this is the definition of public domain from Google: Works in the public domain are those whose intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, or are inapplicable.]

  • I'm curious as to how long tall Sally landed in the public domain. Can you explain the process?

  • It's very simple--just dispute the claim (assuming you own the material!), and watch it sink slowly into the setting sun. Worst case scenario (from personal experience) 14 months for a piece by Bach. And Bach is all public domain--doh! I think 22 companies claimed it, at one point 8 at one time, and none of them owned it. YouTube should penalize the serial offenders, make them donate to old age home for musicians, if there was one haha.

    I might add, that even if something is public domain, that doesn't always mean you have the right to broadcast it.

  • @DrDave - Isn't the definition of public domain that anyone can use it however they want?

  • As I understand it, there are three rights involved with music -- the publishing rights for the written song, the rights to the particular performance and recording, and something called 'sync rights' which is the right to use it in a video, basically. You have to have all three to use a piece in the video.

    It's a little more complicated since there can be 'fair use', but anyone can still threaten to sue you if you claim fair use (though they won't necessarily do it, but the threat is often enough to intimidate people).

  • I am not a copyright expert...far from it, but the way I understood it the law changed in 78 and long tall sally was specifically mentioned as one that would not move into the public domain.

    https://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/2013/pre-1976 The Best Things in Life are NOT Free

    Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years – an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1956 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2013, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2052.1 And no published works will enter our public domain until 2019. (The law in the EU is different – thousands of works from authors who died in 1942 are entering their public domain on January 1.) Even more shockingly, the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that Congress can take back works from the public domain. Could Shakespeare, Plato, or Mozart be pulled back into copyright? The Supreme Court gave no reason to think that they could not be.

  • @4CardsMan Let's say, hypothetically, that you own the autograph score of work by Beethoven. Well, the music is in some abstract sense in the public domain, but the score is private property, which is a totally different matter. And let's further suggest that while on display, whilst loaned to a local museum, someone snaps a photo. Well, the photo may or may not be a "mechanical facsimile". And let's say that you wrote a few notes in the margin, well, obviously those can't be reproduced, and if the facsimile is altered to remove the marginalia it is no longer "mechanical." And so on.