Update 8: Seth Godin chimes in: “It’s just about billable hours.”
Update 6: Digg community adds story — vote it up!
Update 5: Contentinople: Is Embedding a YouTube Video Infringement?
May the momentum grow!
Update 2: Techdirt just picked up my story. They ask the question, “Is It Copyright Infringement To Embed An Infringing YouTube Video On Your Blog?” Being “wrongly accused” also reminds me of Dennis G, a Lifecasters.TV lifecaster I produce. I’m facing the possibility of legal action for content I never uploaded, while Dennis faces up to 64 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. When do we start to ask questions?
Update 1: It just occurred to me that the lawyer cited below e-mailed me directly — and not through my web site. How did he obtain my e-mail address? It only says that it was provided by someone within Michael McDonald’s organization — I am very disappointed
My YouTube Profile: ronaldl79
A “cease and desist” e-mail from an unlikely source … read on …
Here’s yet another example of the music industry and its counsel wrongly accusing a citizen for posting unauthorized material to YouTube. It’s also another example of how “out of touch” the industry and its counsel are with regard to technology and its appropriate uses. It’s also a showcase of their ignorance and failure to “do their homework”.
You might be wondering, “Why do you care about this?” Good question, and here’s the answer: I’ve now been chosen as the next victim to be bullied by the industry and its technologically incompetent counsel.
To add insult to injury, the counsel represents Michael McDonald — a world-class human being and humanitarian, and someone I’ve known for almost 10 years. To say I am flabbergasted is an understatement.
On 7/3/07, Gilbert, Gary wrote:
Dear Mr. Lewis,
I am counsel to Mr.,. Michael McDonald and his affiliated entities. In such capacity, I have been made aware of a posting by you on YouTube of Mr. McDonald’s musical performances.
This email shall constitute formal notice to you that your use of Mr. McDonald’s performances are unauthorized and in violation of his rights. Demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and desist use of Mr. McDonald’s performances in any manner whatsoever. In the event that you fail or refuse to comply with such demand, I shall recommend to my client that he pursue any and all applicable remedies against you, at law, in equity, or otherwise.
This email is without prejudice to the exercise by my client of any and all rights, defenses, and remedies, at law, in equity, or otherwise, all of which rights, defenses and remedies are expressly reserved.
Very Truly Yours,
Gary L. Gilbert
of Baker and Hostetler
Prior to sending such messages, you should first investigate the source for videos posted to YouTube, rather than rely on third-party sources for confirmation of the offending material. Secondly, you should provide a list of the offending material in question. Thirdly, I have never posted any video material of Michael McDonald’s public performances.
I await your reply; However, given how sickened I am by yet another example of false identification by law firms representing record labels and artists, I intend to bring much light to this issue via my web site.
So, which videos are in question? Well, there are dozens of video performances — both live and recorded — which features Michael McDonald and/or the Doobie Brothers on YouTube. Specifically, because I linked and embedded two recent videos on YouTube via my web site, I automatically qualify — in the counsel’s eyes — as the perpetrator for material they’ve deemed as inappropriate.
If Gary were competent enough — again, technologically, he would have taken the time to learn who actually posted the material in question and allowed the videos to be linked and viewed publicly. But, no, he didn’t bother — did he? So, here’s how simple it is to find out the source of a video on YouTube:
(Click image above for larger view of results)
The “offending” videos are clearly seen in the capture above. “backpackdave” doesn’t appear anything like “ronaldlewis”, “ronaldl79″ or “wysiwyg79″, does it?
And, so, because I’m so pissed off by the ignorance of McDonald’s counsel — and furthermore, bothered that no one in the McDonald camp would call me to confirm if I were the source of these videos, I will in turn be the bigger bully and do my best to embarrass the counsel as a favor in return for their incompetence in this matter.
So, the final straw has been broken. I am sick and tired — I won’t stand down and move on from this. If my actions ruin the friendship between Michael McDonald and I, then so be it. I, for one, find the actions by his counsel inexcusable. I’ve had nothing but genuine love and respect for McDonald, but it appears — at least legally, and maybe not on his accord, that there isn’t much for me.