Brandon Strader

OCR monetizing mixes on YouTube

350 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, Neblix said:

I'll never understand why people just sit on the internet trash talking other places on the internet. :roll:

So that they may evade the other place's ban-hammer.

Works better in theory than practice.

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39 minutes ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

So that they may evade the other place's ban-hammer.

Works better in theory than practice.

Challenge accepted.

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8 hours ago, Brandon Strader said:

 

Will the music that is monetized be licensed, and royalties given to the copyright owners. And will we be able to opt out of monetization with our collective works, including entire albums. Would any amount of response across OCR, Facebook, heck even theshizz, have any impact whatsoever in changing the outcome of this situation. 

I'm  going to bed. Will check this and hopefully countless more answers in the P.M.

No answers.....come on. This is important. I can guarantee you that whether my mixes stay on the site or projects continue hinges on the answer to the 2nd question. I refuse to let people who don't respect me profit from my work, illegally I might add.

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In short, OCR management are going to do what they decide they need to in order for the site's continued existence and improvement within the bounds of the website's terms, regardless of the feelings, criticism, or different views on what is fair or unfair, morally right or wrong, etc. by the community.

If that were true, then as Dave said, we would have monetized all the videos and not asked for the community's opinion on the matter. Why the assumption of bad faith? What has anyone done to merit thinking the worst? 

Brandon no doubt has me on ignore but someone can again tell him that the entirety of the site's library will not be licensed, nor will remixers be paid, with exceptions like MM25.

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There will be no licensing or payment of royalties to anyone.

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I don't have you ignored @zircon and up to now I have been impressed and respected your responses especially when I've gone all in, and while not legally licensing the music is problematic (I might have been able to overlook some of the other issues if this was done legally), the other questions right now are of much higher importance

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1 hour ago, Brandon Strader said:

No answers.....come on. This is important. I can guarantee you that whether my mixes stay on the site or projects continue hinges on the answer to the 2nd question. I refuse to let people who don't respect me profit from my work. 

I wouldn't recommend trying to speak to legality without first examining fair use law.

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3 hours ago, zircon said:

If that were true, then as Dave said, we would have monetized all the videos and not asked for the community's opinion on the matter. Why the assumption of bad faith? What has anyone done to merit thinking the worst? 

Brandon no doubt has me on ignore but someone can again tell him that the entirety of the site's library will not be licensed, nor will remixers be paid, with exceptions like MM25.

No bad faith here, I was just repeating what I thought OCR had decided. Namely that YouTube monetization is going to happen because it needs to happen in order to keep the site running and improving. I also observed that many people are for the decision, and many are against, but the decision to monetize seems to have not changed. Thus, why I observed: "regardless of the feelings, criticism, or different views on what is fair or unfair, morally right or wrong, etc. by the community." I was just making an observation, not a judgment. You guys do what you gotta do, regardless of what I feel. And more power to you.

But you seem to be implying that OCR may not go through with YouTube monetization, depending on community opinion?

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57 minutes ago, Kenogu Labz said:

I wouldn't recommend trying to speak to legality without first examining fair use law.

They're literally not licensing the music owned by copyright holders. If that's not illegal, I don't know what is. And they've said what OCR has done all along has been illegal according to them, so why nonchalantly stack more illegal offenses on top of that? Either way I'm not interested in any particular user's interpretation of the law. I've asked my questions and I've said what the result of the answers to those questions would be. 

Being exploited and being dishonest with us, they're also trying to do that to the copyright holders, none of it is right.

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I don't know if there will be any kind of opt-out for monetization of videos. It hasn't been discussed. Dave can speak to it more since it's ultimately his call.

Re: legality, again if you want to take a hardline stance, not only has OCR been "illegal" by making fan arrangements from day 1 (1999), but every arrangement you (Brandon) have made is also "illegal", meaning you infringed copyright as well, along with every other remixer on this site, on YouTube, and SoundCloud, ever, regardless of monetization, regardless of whether they were distributed free, downloadable, streaming,e tc., unless the works were explicitly licensed (and I can guarantee of all published fan arrangements on YouTube, less than 1% are licensed.) That interpretation of "illegal" is - imo - unproductive as a result. 

A more productive conversation is ethical vs. unethical, and why people feel that way.

  • Most of us would probably agree that outright selling (charging money for) an unlicensed game arrangement and pocketing the money for yourself is unethical. People have been doing this for years on Bandcamp, btw. 
  • Most of us would probably agree that making a fan arrangement and distributing it for free is probably not unethical. This is what OCR has been doing since 1999. It's also what the vast majority of fan artists do. They make fan works and give them away.

The spectrum in between that is what we're talking about. OCR has generated revenue from ads for a long time. Nobody seemed to think this was unethical, especially given that the money was (and still is) used to pay for operational costs, those being things like the dedicated server, software, mirrors / bandwidth, and promotion (such as OCR t-shirts, or promotional album giveaways.) So before even addressing YouTube specifically maybe it's a good idea to think about whether one thinks its ethical, or not, for OCR as an organization to distribute work for free but use tangential revenue (ads, patreon) to cover those operational expenses.

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18 minutes ago, Brandon Strader said:

They're literally not licensing the music owned by copyright holders. If that's not illegal, I don't know what is. And they've said what OCR has done all along has been illegal according to them, so why nonchalantly stack more illegal offenses on top of that? Either way I'm not interested in any particular user's interpretation of the law. I've asked my questions and I've said what the result of the answers to those questions would be. 

Being exploited and being dishonest with us, they're also trying to do that to the copyright holders, none of it is right.

(Speaking purely from memory and not having done any personal study on this, so I apologize if there is misinformation here.)

My understanding is as follows:

Licenses aren't necessarily required if you are not profiting from the derivative works.  The companies must choose to prosecute for violations, and DjP already has a Fair Use defense lined up and ready if that ever does occur (although the legal fees may still cause problems on OCR's side).  They can also choose to preclude direct legal action by threatening a C&D, thus hoping to resolve the issue without hauling things into court.

On YouTube, companies have a more direct form of action they can take to act on their copyright claim by simply leveraging DMCA to request the content by removed.  YouTube then has its own system by which the content owner can make appeals, and have the video restored if proper proof of originality can be provided.  YouTube's system is actually heavily balanced towards the companies of the original work, something that has caused a heavy ruckus in recent years, since even unrelated or clearly Fair Use videos can be repeatedly taken down with no consequence for those making the claims.

Either way, in cases like this, the company must feel that it has need to pursue litigation for violating that copyright.  OCR has operated on this premise both on its own site and on YouTube.  To those companies, I do not believe they would see a fundamental difference in placing ads before the video and in leveraging banner ads around the video.  I don't see why this would lead to any greater legal threat to OCR than we previously had.

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I would like to see the printed albums actually given for free, and not packaged together with a T-Shirt sale.. that always seemed to me like the wrong way to essentially sell the album. The big difference between ads on the site and ads in the music, is that the ads on the site are known to directly support the site and are activated upon visiting the site, they're fully part of the site. The ads on the music or on the page where the music is set to play when you click on the link and activate the music, is completely different in that it's directly involved in the music. Beyond that like I mentioned earlier, stacking something illegal on top of something else illegal isn't ideal -- we've gotten away with remixing due to good will from the publishers who have even supported what we've done, and I don't really endorse throwing their good will back in their face by trying to now make money off of the free fan arrangements, especially without the permission of the content creators or the publishers. There was an outrage when Nintendo started monetizing Let's Play videos from their fans, and that severely hurt Nintendo's reputation with the youtube community, and a lot of people. I don't see this as being much different if at all different from that, but the major difference being that OCR doesn't have a right to monetize the content and Nintendo did as the owner of the original material. People said it was unethical for their hard work making Let's Plays to be monetized by Nintendo like that. Let that sink in -- people just playing a video game and talking over it said it was unethical, for that work, to be monetized. 

Trying to say I willingly cooperated in an illegal music ring isn't really going to make me feel better about adopting further questionable things. Maybe I'd be ok with this if the publishers were notified and gave their approval. Maybe I'd be ok with this if every artist was notified through email and were asked their opinion, before the monetization had taken place. Right now it looks like the decision is set in stone but I'll hold out hope for further details about what specifically is going to be monetized, whether we can opt out, etc from Dave. Or maybe it'll be dropped entirely. 

While monetizing all 3k mixes might make a pretty penny, if you had just asked people to donate they might have been more open to that. We used to do support OCR month before the patreon, and it used to get decent money. Now much more than that is received every month through patreon. It's like having support OCR month all year. If you really wanted extra cash to squirrel away in case of a Y2K situation, I think the better approach would have been to ask people or promote the patreon / promote a donation day. The way this was approached was really bad. 

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3 minutes ago, Brandon Strader said:

Trying to say I willingly cooperated in an illegal music ring isn't really going to make me feel better about adopting further questionable things. Maybe I'd be ok with this if the publishers were notified and gave their approval. Maybe I'd be ok with this if every artist was notified through email and were asked their opinion, before the monetization had taken place. Right now it looks like the decision is set in stone but I'll hold out hope for further details about what specifically is going to be monetized, whether we can opt out, etc from Dave. Or maybe it'll be dropped entirely.

On this point: Hooold on.  Slow down.  You have to take the time to understand the balancing act of copyright law with respect to derivative works before you start getting existential about your involvement.

Take, for example, Weird Al.  He continues to make his parodies - which, I believe, fall under the same class of work as OCR's arrangements.  On some occasions, the artists will let him know he is not permitted to use their work, and guess what? He moves on.

The key here is that copyright law requires the company itself to be responsible for choosing if and when it needs to defend that copyright.  Unlike trademarks, they are not forced to act on derivative works to preserve that copyright.  A whole industry of music parodies suspends on this balancing act.  OCR does much the same, making sure we stay in favor (see Balance and Ruin!) and continue to positively represent the original works.  We trust that these companies have no motivation to attempt litigation; if they do, then yeah, we'll have to worry, but so will the rest of the industry as well, most likely.

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On Topic:
If I have to pick a side, I agree with Chimpazilla, but generally I am in the same camp as DusK. I really don't care; Even if you were profitting from the ads I wouldn't mind, considering how much I have gained thanks to OCR.

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Weird Al is protected by satire/parody laws and moves on out of respect to the original artist, not because he legally has to. Not at all the same

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The idea that you are making money off of other people's work rubs me the wrong way in some aspect. I feel generally agnostic about it, but I do have some conflicts.
 
You might say it's to support the site, but isn't that, what that 2200$ a month Patreon is for? (Which I have zero qualms with)
It doesn't paint the right image tbh especially when as far as I have recall. Historically OCR has specifically been against the profit of unlicensed fan made arrangements.
 
Weird Al usually also asks permission to make his parodies, even though legally he doesn't have to.

If you are going to be making money directly off of the hard work of someone else who did it out of love. They deserve their cut don't you think? Or is that where you draw the moral line in the proverbial sand of Fair Use? That doing so would actually be *real* profit and not money simply going to a supposed "Non-profit" that you don't actually need to hit the costs to run the site? And that they should be happy to get any kind of exposure? That it makes you more morally ethical than those that also release unlicensed derivative works in a way that generates revenue for themselves as an artist?

So what is the whole point of this endeavor?
Remove ads from the site? Why not remove ads all together from both if you clearly don't need the money to run the site from any kind of ads thanks to Patreon? Or seemingly additional revenue for whatever purpose?

Ads on the site are understandably a necessary evil over the course of many years to keep the site running. But they were never intrusive nor a necessary barrier to have to bypass or wait to run out an allotted time period to gain access to content from this platform. And one can argue that Ads were never specifically targeted on a per song basis and that you weren't really monetizing the individual content you were distributing, but rather the site as a whole. Where as the opposite can be argued is true for Youtube can it not? On Youtube either a user has to wait to be able to skip the ad to listen to music, or block ads entirely, skippable or not. It's intrusive. (Not that I really listen to music on youtube much). And it's done on a song by song basis.
And on the basis of business, any money made beyond covering cost is considered profit is it not? Or is that legally different for an NPO?
I mean that sort of feels like an oxymoron. An Non-Profit Organization is obtaining revenue beyond operating costs.
Of course, I am a layman who is ignorant on the real working innards of business, let alone an NPO.
 
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Attaining this status may actually be rather expensive for us, so when people ask what on earth we could possibly need a budget surplus for, this type of thing is a great example. It's also worth mentioning that while most of the cost is upfront, there is also a cost associated with MAINTAINING 501c3 status from year to year.

So it costs money to become an NPO and money to keep that status per year? How much? Would you not have had a fair amount of surplus already from ;again; Patreon beyond what was needed for keeping the site up?(That would build up more and more over time?)

I really don't mind things helping cover cost of running the site, but unless there is  some transparency on the number of dollars beyond what you need for cost, in order to maintain NPO status. Then it's understandable that people might be skeptical with undisclosed numbers.


To that spectrum of things, what is the point of becoming an NPO? To spread the good will and cheer of Video Game Music? To make the active practice of what OCR does more ethically acceptable? I'm sure this has been covered before, but it seems applicable to this situation.

Again on YT videos, would a system where people can actively consent when they submit a song  whether they are ok with their song being monetized. (IE: They say no, so you release their song on youtube without ads. With if they say yes) be unacceptable?
 
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This was kind of a depressing read (the fighting/bickering).

As to the topic itself - I think @Chimpazilla's suggestions make the most sense to me. I do see where @Neblix is coming from (and can see myself agreeing on most points he makes), but at the same time, my thoughts still all end up to: if a mix of mine can help the site in any little way, I'm for it. 

(Maybe part of the negativity stems from a few bruised egos regarding seeing actual money being made from their music (that is not going their way).) The transparency aspect is one thing I have latched on mentally, but it's mostly because I found out about all this from @Brandon Strader's Facebook post (after, from what I have gleaned here - it running for two months?).

I'm not sure how I feel about it or if I can put the thoughts together coherently. But, I do appreciate @djpretzel taking the time to make his posts (and for the other points made by everyone). Maybe the nagging sensation on my end comes from how the policy language was wide enough to draw out things people never quite expected to happen?

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Why the monetization of projects needs to be addressed--

I don't have the time or effort to go back and ask every single person I've recruited whether they are cool with ocr monetizing the uploads. Of the 5 or so people I've asked so far on current projects, they've been strongly against it. Basically this would be a death sentence for the projects, so an answer about this needs to be given.  If monetization of projects didn't happen then I could still see myself working on projects here but otherwise it probably wouldn't happen. 

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I have a question related to Bonkers' post.

If you become an NPO and you're making all this money from Patreon, Ad-Revenue etc. what happens to all the surplus (and there is surplus, right?) in say, 20 years and OCR closes down? Do we all really believe that this site is going to be around forever? Is DJP still going to be running it in his old age? What happens after he dies?

$2,269 per month via Patreon is an amount of money the average musician and even many people with full-time jobs would be envious of, but I doubt the site costs that much to keep it going.

NPO or not, there is going to be money, possibly quite a sizable sum left over after years and years of accumulation. What happens to that when OCR no longer exists? It must go somewhere. 

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35 minutes ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

NPO or not, there is going to be money, possibly quite a sizable sum left over after years and years of accumulation. What happens to that when OCR no longer exists? It must go somewhere. 

I can imagine it being donated to charity, or maybe it can be divided between other at that time current vgm fora. I don't think it's necessary to think about that now, since there are more than enough fair options. 

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52 minutes ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

What happens to that when OCR no longer exists? It must go somewhere. 

It'll all go into my presidential campaign super pac.

The Coop 2032! Make America WTF again!

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3 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

If you become an NPO and you're making all this money from Patreon, Ad-Revenue etc. what happens to all the surplus (and there is surplus, right?) in say, 20 years and OCR closes down? Do we all really believe that this site is going to be around forever? Is DJP still going to be running it in his old age? What happens after he dies?

  • Don't speak for the Pretz
  • Dont ask leading questions like your "suplus" question when we all know the money will be reinvested back in the OCR community.
  • "Worst case scenario" questions are counterproductive
  • How dare you.  DjPretzel will live forever.
3 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

$2,269 per month via Patreon is an amount of money the average musician and even many people with full-time jobs would be envious of, but I doubt the site costs that much to keep it going.

As a musician, I can say that this would noooot be enough, but if it was from Patreon *in addition* to gigs paying the bills, then yeah.  And, I mean, ANY amount of money from Patreon is nice, it just can't be counted on to pay the bills.  Also, Patreon exists for products, but a gigging, working musician is considered a member of the service industry, which pays more.  MY FIGURING HERE is that the service industry (and i mean skilled work - not minimum wage) is about $1.25/minute, where on Patreon, tracks might be 99c a piece or something.

I got sidetracked there, sorry.  All that being stated, I am going to go become a monthly patron of OCR now  because I just realized I haven't been doing my part.

Edited by HankTheSpankTankJankerson
kitten walked on my keyboard
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5 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

I have a question related to Bonkers' post.

If you become an NPO and you're making all this money from Patreon, Ad-Revenue etc. what happens to all the surplus (and there is surplus, right?) in say, 20 years and OCR closes down? Do we all really believe that this site is going to be around forever? Is DJP still going to be running it in his old age? What happens after he dies?

$2,269 per month via Patreon is an amount of money the average musician and even many people with full-time jobs would be envious of, but I doubt the site costs that much to keep it going.

NPO or not, there is going to be money, possibly quite a sizable sum left over after years and years of accumulation. What happens to that when OCR no longer exists? It must go somewhere. 

The surplus goes into the organizations accounts to further the purposes of the organization. FIFA has a ~$1.5B reserve, for instance. This is not booked as profit, through some amount of financial wizardry.

I would expect the OCR organization would be run by someone other than DJP at some point. Corporations very often outlive their founders. Based on his time availability and stated interests, I don't doubt that succession of the organization could happen relatively soon. Leaving him a role more aligned to his interests; eg, site design/maintenance. That's really up to DJP though.

I'm not familiar with the process for closing NPOs, but I would assume funds remaining after legal fees would go to an NPO with a related mission. Based on my understanding of the current structure, all funds would go to DJP. I do not believe this would be the case after conversion to a 501c organization. The issue of tons of money left over seems odd though, as successful organizations don't typically just fold.

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7 hours ago, Brandon Strader said:

I don't have the time or effort to go back and ask every single person I've recruited whether they are cool with ocr monetizing the uploads.

Which "uploads"? What are you referring to, exactly? It's not clear... submissions from albums that are approved & posted have always been presented alongside banner ads... do those count as uploads? Or by "uploads" are you specifically talking about videos?

8 hours ago, BONKERS said:

Again on YT videos, would a system where people can actively consent when they submit a song  whether they are ok with their song being monetized. (IE: They say no, so you release their song on youtube without ads. With if they say yes) be unacceptable?

Would they be opting out of web ads, too? We've historically never offered that option. Would it just be YouTube, or any streaming service? What if it's a collab, and two artists disagree? I don't think this would be a per-submission thing, but rather a per-artist - you contact us, you opt out, we flag your profile accordingly.... but the other questions would need to be answered as well.

8 hours ago, Brandon Strader said:

Maybe I'd be ok with this if the publishers were notified and gave their approval.

Brandon, at this juncture I feel like you're either not reading anything @zircon writes, or not processing it, or trolling, or.... I don't know. Publishers would never give their carte blanche approval for anything & everything to do be done with their IP. That's not how lawyers think. If we asked most publishers whether fan art of ANY kind should exist, or rather CAN exist according to their official policy, the answer is going to be no. This is true regardless of whether we ran any ads at all, whether we sold any shirts, whether we were an individual or a collective, whether we are a 501c3 or not. You keep reiterating bizarre, outlandish points as if they made sense... "illegal music ring"? What, like a drug ring? Again, as @zircon has painstakingly laid out, YT ads are not fundamentally different from a legal perspective than web ads in terms of supporting the community. You seem to be consistently ignoring this point and/or avoiding engaging with it, and you keep beating the "illegal" drum when that particular drum hurts the ENTIRETY of fan art, from fan fiction, to fan arrangements, to fan illustrations, regardless of this specific topic pertaining to YT ads.

6 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

If you become an NPO and you're making all this money from Patreon, Ad-Revenue etc. what happens to all the surplus (and there is surplus, right?) in say, 20 years and OCR closes down? Do we all really believe that this site is going to be around forever? Is DJP still going to be running it in his old age? What happens after he dies?

I'd like to think it'll be around forever, and 501c3 status is part of laying that foundation - it's decoupled from me, personally, so that if I get hit by a meteor or just die of natural causes or become too feeble to meaningfully contribute, it's NOT a sole proprietorship LLC whose legal & fiscal governance rest solely with me.

Here's a good link: http://info.legalzoom.com/money-dissolving-501c3-21769.html

"When a 501(c)(3) dissolves, the organization must settle all outstanding liabilities and distribute any leftover funds according to the provision set in its charter."

So 501c3 status will FORCE us to codify what happens if things needed to be shut down. Right now we've got no such policy, and even if we did, the accounts would still all be in my name, and it could be messy... 501c3 gives us a formal structure to build policies around that address this question and many others.

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Has OCR's YouTube channel ever had a video taken down from a copyright notice? I'm still gathering as much information as I can, so I can make an informed decision about all of this.

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