★ Going Ape

Well, I uploaded to YouTube the video of myself, my girl­friend and her God-daugh­ter ‘going ape’. The status of the video is described as ‘match­ing third party con­tent’. In oth­er words, YouTube has detec­ted that I’ve used the Raiders theme, but the video is still avail­able. Apparently, it could be removed at any time by Sony — or else a little advert will appear in the lower third. Hopefully, the lat­ter.

★ Copyright Violation and Facebook

This week, we’ve had a young vis­it­or from Germany. We took her to the Go Ape! attrac­tion at Leeds Castle on Sunday. Being that kind of per­son, I filmed some of the swinging about, added a soundtrack using music I’d pur­chased form iTunes, and tried to upload the video to Facebook. The music in ques­tion is the Raiders March, com­posed by John Williams for Raiders of the Lost Ark. When the upload had fin­ished, I received this email from Facebook:


We have removed your video entitled (no title) uploaded at 3:10pm November 6th, 2009. We did this because it appears to con­tain copy­righted mater­i­al owned by a third party, such as a video clip or back­ground audio. If you believe this mater­i­al was removed by mis­take, you may file a counter notice of alleged infringe­ment by fol­low­ing the link below.

Please note that if you re-upload this video without fil­ing a counter notice, or if you upload anoth­er video that infringes on the rights of a third party, we may remove the con­tent. This could cause your access to the Facebook Video applic­a­tion, or your Facebook account itself, to be dis­abled.

To file a counter notice:
File a Counter Notification

For any oth­er ques­tions, view our Help page.

The Facebook Team

I don’t neces­sar­ily dis­agree with the leg­al inter­pret­a­tion of copy­right law here. Facebook is a US-based com­mer­cial com­pany and, as far as I’m aware, if Facebook takes any interest in edit­or­i­al con­trol of its con­tent (I recall it once cen­sored a group of breast-feed­ing moth­ers on grounds of decency) then it loses the des­ig­na­tion ‘safe har­bour’ and becomes a tar­get for law suits from those who think their copy­right has been infringed. Thus, it should police its con­tent pro­act­ively.

However, I added the Raider March to my video with a clear con­science. I had bought the music (not for the first time). I knew that view­ers of the video would not mis­take the music for some­thing I’d com­posed myself. I did not think that its use would in any way dimin­ish the earn­ings of the movie stu­dio that owns the Raiders brand. And I did not con­sider that upload­ing the video to Facebook con­sti­tuted a form of pub­lic­a­tion because the audi­ence com­prises a small audi­ence of friends, any one of whom I might lend a book, DVD or CD. (I was spe­cif­ic about this by indic­at­ing ‘my friends only’.)

As I say, I don’t neces­sar­ily dis­agree with Facebook’s leg­al stance here. I signed up for their ser­vice and (ahem) read the licence agree­ment. But it’s anoth­er remind­er that Facebook — while cre­at­ing the illu­sion of a social exper­i­ence — has a meas­ure of con­trol over the way I inter­act with my friends that doesn’t really cor­res­pond with the com­plete sov­er­eignty I exer­cise in ‘meat space’.

★ The Small World of the Mouse

Michael Stephen Fuchs

I just received an email from Michael Fuchs — thrill­er writer and author of The Manuscript and Pandora’s Sisters — telling me that my com­ments mech­an­ism sucks. Here’s what he tried to post:

That’s really a very funny coin­cid­ence. I checked in just now due to acute bore­dom at work. And would you believe it? Our house mouse turned up just on Friday. I got a single-line e-mail mes­sage from Anna, the text of which was that we have a mouse; and the sub-text of which was that I was in trouble.

There have been a couple of sight­ings — he’s a dar­ing little bug­ger, com­ing out in day­light, and Anna even admires him grudgingly. She’s named him Marcus. I was sit­ting at my work­sta­tion yes­ter­day when I real­ised he was dead at my line of sight — on top of a framed pic­ture of Anna’s fam­ily, on top of Anna’s dress­er.

I fed him some chocol­ate. I texted Anna: ‘Marcus is a cutie pie!’.

Anna was not thrilled by either of these actions on my part.

I too picked up a ‘live cap­ture’ mouse trap at Home Base. It recom­men­ded pea­nut but­ter as bait, which we didn’t have, so Anna tried jelly. (Seemed intu­it­ive enough.) However, when we got up this morn­ing, either Marcus out­smar­ted us (I’d briefly ima­gined him remov­ing the whole back cap where the food goes) — or he doesn’t like jelly.

I already know he likes chocol­ate; but I’ll cer­tainly bear Muesli in mind if he con­tin­ues to elude us.

I intend to release him in the church­yard round the corner. While I’m not sure he has just the right tem­per­ment for it, per­haps he will liven things up there — as a churchmouse.

Now, off to for­ward this to Anna, ostens­ibly to show her it’s not just us, but I already know she’ll merely take it as me defend­ing A) the non-leth­al trap and B) the exist­ence of Marcus in gen­er­al …