Brandon Strader

OCR monetizing mixes on YouTube

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That's not my point. You guys were saying that being a non-profit or charity justifies you monetizing and not sharing the money. I'm saying that doesn't matter outside of your opinion that it's for a "good cause".

Why doesn't it matter? I think it matters more than anything. If literally nobody involved with OCR makes any money whatsoever, that is entirely different than if we did. 

Again maybe we just feel very different on this. Let's say two charities want to use your music. One charity is staffed by all volunteers. Every single cent they earn goes to operations. 0% to administration. The other charity spends 30% on administration, 70% on operations. To me that is two completely different things and I feel entirely different about each one. 

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1 minute ago, zircon said:

Concerns about the legal ramifications should perhaps be discussed separately than everyone's subjective opinions on this. Like Dave said, in monetizing this small number of videos, OCR has also joined a network which provides substantial protection against takedowns and support for fair use. Generating revenue does not preclude fair use; profit (not revenue) is just one factor that can contribute to a fair use defense.

Everyone might think about their opinion like this:
* I'm ok with OCR monetizing YouTube videos to provide revenue for its operations, and I am not worried about the legal ramifications (copyright claims)
* I'm ok with the monetization, but worried about the legal stuff.
* I'm not ok with the monetization, even though I'm not worried about the legal angle.
* I'm not ok with the monetization, and I'm also worried about the legal stuff.

Profit effectively precludes Fair Use. Supreme Court has said "every commercial use of copyrighted property is presumptively an unfair exploitation", "unfair" w.r.t Fair Use.

I'm not really convinced that direct revenue generation that rises over time isn't "profit" just because it goes to an organization and not the pockets of a specific person.

I think there's a revenue that doesn't count as "profit", and it's called donations. Whether or not OCR has already effectively monetized the music in the past is irrelevant; in light of the new information and perspectives from people, it's important to evaluate if OCR should stop, or if it should continue at the same level, or continue and go beyond, and recognize the potential legal problems that can arise, as well as those from the community members themselves.

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Just now, Meteo Xavier said:

Non-profit is not the same thing as a charity. The money being made only goes back to administrative costs and, again, it's really not that much to start with.

DJP has paid more out of his own pocket to keep OCR running all this time than anyone else has been owed anything resulting from it, so again I remain unimpressed with the criticism of it.

It's not a criticism. It's simply this: you're generating revenue based on other people's work (not just the remixer, but also the original composer) and not sharing it. My opinion is that it's unfair. But that doesn't matter. If the original copyright holder of the song thinks it's unfair, you got a copyright claim and a possible legal issue.

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18 minutes ago, zircon said:

Why doesn't it matter? I think it matters more than anything. If literally nobody involved with OCR makes any money whatsoever, that is entirely different than if we did. 

Again maybe we just feel very different on this. Let's say two charities want to use your music. One charity is staffed by all volunteers. Every single cent they earn goes to operations. 0% to administration. The other charity spends 30% on administration, 70% on operations. To me that is two completely different things and I feel entirely different about each one. 

Because you're not sharing the money with the people who made it. Neither the remixer or the original composer. Sure, you had a hand in getting the exposure and curating the OCR experience that helped get the remix to fruition. But you wouldn't have the song to monetize without the remixer and the original composer. So if you're getting money, so should the people who made it. Show some respect and class and give back to the people who are helping make it happen too.

And please don't fire back with "show some class and respect the existence of the site is coming out djpretzel's pockets/free time". I acknowledge that and that's why I'm saying share the revenue. Yes the site deserves money, but so do the artists.

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22 minutes ago, Sir_NutS said:

Well, my point is that Perception certainly isn't reality, hence the !=. Sorry, programmer's habit.

As you've said, the appeal of the website are the remixes.  But I'll go further and say that the whole point of OCR are the remixes.  OCR is just a vehicle for distribution.  The vehicle itself doesn't generate traffic and hence ad money, the product, aka remixes, are the traffic and money generators, excluding the ever-decreasing forum-visiting crowd.  Remixes ARE the source of money for OCR.  If the vehicle is changing over time it's ridiculous to imply that it shouldn't change because I perceive that remixes aren't the traffic generators when it's stupidly obvious that they are.  Literally nothing in the revenue model will change but the place where the ad distribution will come from.  Saying that oh, I don't agree with you making money of the mixes I willingly gave to the site and have been generating money since ocr implemented ads because I don't want my remixes generating money is just... incredibly silly.

I don't appreciate your tone.

Either way, I'm pointing out that the site and YouTube are very different. In YouTube you can directly point revenue to users, in ocr.org you can't. This can (and is) bother people so you shouldn't brush it off just because you feel it's illogical. If people stop supporting OCR because of this you can't just say "perception != reality" and expect everyone to come back.

I should still clarify, because there are people talking about making money, that I've never intended to make money of my few submitted remixes. I, however, think it's an interesting discussion to have. OCR as a site needs money to survive but it also needs a community that generates content. You can't anger one just to get the other.

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Still got a whole page of discussion to catch up on, but I see the word "profit" being thrown around a lot here and I'm not sure everyone understands what that word means.

Profit and revenue are two different things. Just keep that in mind. Putting ads on YouTube videos isn't necessarily going to mean that OCR is "profiting" off of them, especially if the money goes back into stuff like site maintenance. 

This doesn't mean that generating revenue off of YouTube videos of ReMixes is necessarily ethical either (that's what the discussion is about), but keep in mind that there is a difference. 

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I have more to write and not a lot of time, but...

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So if you're getting money, so should the people who made it.

"We" are not getting money, OCR (the organization) is. 100% of that money is spent on making remixes more visible. That's the entire purpose of the site. To say that not paying remixers is not showing "respect and class" strikes me as very bad faith. The staff of OCR, especially Dave, have collectively spent tens of thousands of hours on promoting video game music, remixes, and the site. That's an enormous sacrifice of time strictly spent for the benefit of art and other people. More often than not it's completely thankless - just ask any judge. And for a long time, we actually spent money out of pocket (our own personal pockets) to do things like go to conventions to promote OCR at panels, or print up albums to give away as prizes (again, to PROMOTE the music.) It's only relatively recently in the site's life that revenue has exceeded expenses, which Dave spoke to in an earlier post.

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9 minutes ago, jnWake said:

I don't appreciate your tone.

I didn't direct those comments to you in particular, as you seem to have reasonable views, so apologies if it seemed that way.  More specifically, you agree with the point I was trying to make in that sentence.

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25 minutes ago, Sir_NutS said:

OCR was always making money off of remixes.  

I think the difference between the old way (site ads) and the new way (youtube ads) is that now OCR is making revenue off of specific, identifiable remixes, instead of just "remixes in general."  I think it should be ok, with a couple of caveats:

1. We should update the remix agreement to include specific language about the fact that the remix videos on youtube are monetized, with the funds going to OCR and not to either the remixer or the original artist(s)

2. We should make sure that none of the original artists (Nintendo, Square Enix, etc.) would have any viable claim against OCR making money from their original work

3. We should do some budget projections to see if making money in this way is even worth the possibility of pissing off ReMixers, viewers, and potentially original artists.

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37 minutes ago, Neifion said:

Why were you waiting to see when and whether people would notice? Why not just make an announcement?

I'm staying out of the convo otherwise (I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough to participate in this meaningfully), but as far as this specific point goes I think DjP was trying to figure out how much it affects the user's overall experience - if people noticed it quickly, and submit complaints about it that would've been a clear sign it was not the right way to go. A few months into it and a discussion is started, though... that point is debatable, as far as how it affects the listener's overall experience. That portion had little to do with the money-making aspect of it, as far as I can discern.

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6 minutes ago, zircon said:

100% of that money is spent on making remixes more visible.

Can I get an answer on my legality concern? According to law, is this (the purpose of the revenue being investing into the organization) actually a valid defense to say it's not profit and therefore it has a chance at Fair Use?

If the answer is yes, then I'm okay with it. If the answer is no, then I think artist payouts and licensing is needed in order for OCR to move to more honest territory. Either way, I think the submission agreement needs some language update.

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8 minutes ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

Man, I like you, but I've become completely disenchanted with your posts about music & money as it's just excessive nihilism and pessimism rooted in a general defeatist attitude.

Yes, any remix I've done or that I've contributed to has been not for profit and I am lead to believe that was OCR's mission. Despite Sir NutS' borderline insane insistence that OCR was already directly profiting off mixes because of website ads instead of directly embedded ads, which if it was really objectively so, I doubt OCR would've survived the whole FFVI Square Enix debacle because they could've argued the mixes were profitable due to ads on the mixposts. 

Yet, here I am faced with someone arguing that it should be no problem that if someone like Square, who had a legal issue with this site, were to receive payment from ad revenue via YouTube videos from OCR of remixes from their games, the remixer has no right to be pissed about it. It's a fan remix. There's no money involved. If there is going to be income to be made, it should be between the copyright holder and artist.

People want to be paid for their work - shocking.

It IS pretty shocking because it gloriously overlooks a lot of key points that goes into that for this context. You guys just see it as black and white and call it protecting your work and its value, I call it chasing windmills and confusing a stubborn attitude for a principle.

Let's figure out how a completely subjective item should be determined an objective value that also somehow has no limit for how high that value should be:

1. What is the value of a single remix you've done? What is the value of your time spent working on this based on your lifestyle expenses and spending habits?
2. What is the estimated value of the tools you used to work on this?
3. What is the estimated value of its potential of exposure?
4. How many times has your remix been played on Youtube?
5. What is the value per video view?
6. Has it directly contributed to additional album sales or music commissions?
7. Have you signed an appropriate tax form relating to your work on OCR?
8. Are you paying taxes or taking tax incentives from your work on OCR?
9. Have the companies you have re-interpreted IP from commissioned you to do so?
10. If YES to 9, what were the contractually agreed-upon payments you are expecting from them?
11. What was the final rating of quality for your work as agreed by committee of the OCR judges and conglomerated public perception?

Now take the sum total of that and apply your state's current income tax percentage.

Go ahead and work on the math there - in the meantime you can answer why you seem to think just doing work itself deserves to be rewarded without any additional context to that point and why you deserve to be paid for work you were not commissioned or contracted or to do and did completely on your own compulsion for a website that was well known to not provide financial incentives for doing so in lieu of simply being a popular passion project for celebrating VGM.

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4 minutes ago, Chimpazilla said:

I think the difference between the old way (site ads) and the new way (youtube ads) is that now OCR is making revenue off of specific, identifiable remixes, instead of just "remixes in general."  I think it should be ok, with a couple of caveats:

1. We should update the remix agreement to include specific language about the fact that the remix videos on youtube are monetized, with the funds going to OCR and not to either the remixer or the original artist(s)

2. We should make sure that none of the original artists (Nintendo, Square Enix, etc.) would have any viable claim against OCR making money from their original work

3. We should do some budget projections to see if making money in this way is even worth the possibility of pissing off ReMixers, viewers, and potentially original artists.

This looks like a good idea to me

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3 minutes ago, Chimpazilla said:

I think the difference between the old way (site ads) and the new way (youtube ads) is that now OCR is making revenue off of specific, identifiable remixes, instead of just "remixes in general."  I think it should be ok, with a couple of caveats:

1. We should update the remix agreement to include specific language about the fact that the remix videos on youtube are monetized, with the funds going to OCR and not to either the remixer or the original artist(s)

2. We should make sure that none of the original artists (Nintendo, Square Enix, etc.) would have any viable claim against OCR making money from their original work

3. We should do some budget projections to see if making money in this way is even worth the possibility of pissing off ReMixers, viewers, and potentially original artists.

This is the point I was trying to make with my posts. You explained it clearly here!

I think it's necessary to explain it on the submissions website, especially for new users that may feel bothered by their remixes "making" money directly.

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19 minutes ago, zircon said:

I have more to write and not a lot of time, but...

"We" are not getting money, OCR (the organization) is. 100% of that money is spent on making remixes more visible. That's the entire purpose of the site. To say that not paying remixers is not showing "respect and class" strikes me as very bad faith. The staff of OCR, especially Dave, have collectively spent tens of thousands of hours on promoting video game music, remixes, and the site. That's an enormous sacrifice of time strictly spent for the benefit of art and other people. More often than not it's completely thankless - just ask any judge. And for a long time, we actually spent money out of pocket (our own personal pockets) to do things like go to conventions to promote OCR at panels, or print up albums to give away as prizes (again, to PROMOTE the music.) It's only relatively recently in the site's life that revenue has exceeded expenses, which Dave spoke to in an earlier post.

I meant the organization. The organization that is OCR. Not you personally. OCR. The organization. Got it?

And great, I know OCR has done a lot to make remixes more visible. I do not deny that at all. I applaud OCR for it. It's why I came here and stuck around thus far.

But that doesn't negate the fact that OCR is making money off of other people's work. Other people's work that, without it, would mean zero content on your site and zero revenue. If OCR is not making revenue, fine. Don't pay the artist. But OCR is. So pay the artists for their work, because without their work, OCR wouldn't have that video to monetize (or the quality content that brought you attention and visibility in the first place).

Let me put it another way: why do you not want to share revenue with the artists? Why do you think the artists should receive zero revenue from the work they created, by which if they hadn't you would be receiving zero revenue yourself, and you should receive 100% of it?

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10 minutes ago, Chimpazilla said:

I think the difference between the old way (site ads) and the new way (youtube ads) is that now OCR is making revenue off of specific, identifiable remixes, instead of just "remixes in general."  I think it should be ok, with a couple of caveats:

1. We should update the remix agreement to include specific language about the fact that the remix videos on youtube are monetized, with the funds going to OCR and not to either the remixer or the original artist(s)

2. We should make sure that none of the original artists (Nintendo, Square Enix, etc.) would have any viable claim against OCR making money from their original work

3. We should do some budget projections to see if making money in this way is even worth the possibility of pissing off ReMixers, viewers, and potentially original artists.

This is probably the most pragmatic thing said in this thread.

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In the end, of course it's your decision what you want to do. I agree with Chimpazilla that if you're going to do it though, I would recommend ensuring that both the remixer and the publisher/rights holders of the original composition are both aware and agree with you making money off of their song while they receive nothing.

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Just now, Neifion said:

Let me put it another way: why do you not want to share revenue with the artists? Why do you think the artists should receive zero revenue from the work they created, by which if they hadn't you would be receiving zero revenue yourself, and you should receive 100% of it?

It might have something to do with the fact that artists are not being commissioned or contracted to provide that work, they are doing so of their own volition, submitting them to a site that is well known to be entirely a passion project for VGM instead of a marketplace for artists. You have to have an agreement for payment of work to take place. You can't just start something, put it somewhere, expect money to come in and then complain to the nearest possible administration when it doesn't. It doesn't work that way. It never has.

Why is this so hard for artists to understand? Better question, why is pointing things like this out considered "nihilistic" and "defeatist"? My lord.

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9 minutes ago, Neifion said:

I meant the organization. The organization that is OCR. Not you personally. OCR. The organization. Got it?

And great, I know OCR has done a lot to make remixes more visible. I do not deny that at all. I applaud you OCR for it. It's why I came here and stuck around thus far.

But that doesn't negate the fact that OCR is making money off of other people's work. Other people's work that, without it, would mean zero content on your site and zero revenue. If OCR is not making revenue, fine. Don't pay the artist. But OCR is. So pay the artists for their work, because without their work, OCR wouldn't have that video to monetize (or the quality content that brought you attention and visibility in the first place).

Let me put it another way: why do you not want to share revenue with the artists? Why do you think the artists should receive zero revenue from the work they created, by which if they hadn't you would be receiving zero revenue yourself, and you should receive 100% of it?

OCR is giving every remixer a platform to share their remixes with VGM fans and for that it needs money. As far as I know all the money that OCR gets is invested back into OCR so no one is "winning" money here. There are no profits to be shared here. Also, it'd be even more dangerous, legally speaking, if money goes to the remixers I feel, since OCR (the organization) can justify the earnings by being a non-profit organization and bla bla bla.

In the end, a relevant question is: why do you submit your remixes to OCReMix? I personally do it because I want to share my remixes and OCR lets me do that. OCR lets you build an audience that you'd probably not build without OCR. Then, if you earn your audience, you can try to earn money, preferably with original content that doesn't involve the legal issues that remixes do.

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I think the major problem here is that the trust of the site is so far beyond gone that nobody has a legitimate reason to believe any staff or owner of OCR is not profiting from this. We've never at any point been given any proof, and when the site owner says "Hahah I made money from your song for 2 months and didn't think you'd notice!" then we have a serious problem here. Disregarding the unethical and potentially illegal aspect of them profiting off of the music itself, there's been a distinct lack of respect for me or any remixer involved in the site whenever there's an issue of money or us being exploited for financial gain. "We're not being paid" stopped being a valid or trustworthy excuse for this exploitation a long time ago. I'm going to assume from now on that each staff member is making a fair amount of income from the site. 

In my view, here's what needs to happen -- the monetization needs taken off, the songs that were sold need to be licensed or at the very least contact the publishers and offer to pay for what is owed. If you have anything left, divide it equally and send it to the remixers. Formally apologize to the community (you can add this to the other apology I've been hounding you guys about) for exploiting them for a period of 2 months and already cashing the paycheck without even thinking of notifying anyone about it. Stop ignoring people when they advise you against doing stuff that will kill the site.

A lack of complaint isn't consent. Try defending that in court. This is your notice to stop using this thin argument, djp.

We need an audit of the site. I saw that Chimpazilla has offered generously to help you with things, I suggest you either take her up on it or pay an active firm to do it. There is no respect from a site that starts secretly profiting from the work of artists they've basically never supported. I'd say things need to change but I'm afraid it might already be too late.

We're submitting to OCR, not Youtube. Your content policy doesn't stretch to youtube usage. Your own policy prohibits you from doing what you did, profiting from the music on youtube, and to top it all off, at no point in the content policy does it say "OCR reserves the right to use submitted music for for-profit or advertising purposes." Even if it did, it would cover using the music in an advertisement, not to use an advertisement in the music. 

 You made it clear that the money you're collecting now is above and beyond the operating costs which are already fulfilled by the patreon. There's also a link to the patreon at the top of each mixpost page. That was already unethical enough, but you just had to go a step farther. 

I look forward to the "Support this artist" button on each mixpost that goes directly into site staff pockets. 

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5 minutes ago, Meteo Xavier said:

It might have something to do with the fact that artists are not being commissioned or contracted to provide that work, they are doing so of their own volition, submitting them to a site that is well known to be entirely a passion project for VGM instead of a marketplace for artists. You have to have an agreement for payment of work to take place. You can't just start something, put it somewhere, expect money to come in and then complain to the nearest possible administration when it doesn't. It doesn't work that way. It never has.

Why is this so hard for artists to understand? Better question, why is pointing things like this out considered "nihilistic" and "defeatist"? My lord.

That's all well and I agree with it. But:

The key issue is that the artists had no idea that their work was being monetized because it was already done months ago without their even knowing. If there was a proper announcement and a change the submission terms stating: "from this point on, when you submit your work, you are also agreeing to have the YouTube version of your song monetized and all revenue will go to OCR." And before a song is put up on YouTube, the original publisher/rights holders of the original composition should also be notified and should have agreed to the terms. Then that is satisfactorily "of their own volition".

You have to have an agreement in place to make money off of other people's work.

So at this point, like I said in my last post, if you're going to do it, fine, do it. But get all the involved parties official, legal and signed consent first. Instead, OCR went ahead and starting monetizing without such consent or even a general notice that it was happening, and that is not right.

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Really really short on time and there's so much to write, but again, addressing this quickly:

Quote

Let me put it another way: why do you not want to share revenue with the artists? Why do you think the artists should receive zero revenue from the work they created, by which if they hadn't you would be receiving zero revenue yourself, and you should receive 100% of it?

Paying ReMixers across the board for all remixes on the site will never happen for so many reasons, but here are some big ones:

1. It would make what we do a for-profit endeavor which makes a HUGE HUGE HUGE difference to copyright holders, even if OCR itself is non-profit
2. It would require us to get licensing for every track, which in and of itself is impossible because it's only possible to compulsorily license music that has been released in the U.S. and not nearly everything has been
3. The logistics of paying all the ReMixers is also (virtually) impossible for an all-volunteer staff, to say nothing of the tax implications

What we can/have done is licensing specific albums and selling them, i.e. on OC Records, but that's a different story entirely.

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18 minutes ago, zircon said:

Really really short on time and there's so much to write, but again, addressing this quickly:

Paying ReMixers across the board for all remixes on the site will never happen for so many reasons, but here are some big ones:

1. It would make what we do a for-profit endeavor which makes a HUGE HUGE HUGE difference to copyright holders, even if OCR itself is non-profit
2. It would require us to get licensing for every track, which in and of itself is impossible because it's only possible to compulsorily license music that has been released in the U.S. and not nearly everything has been
3. The logistics of paying all the ReMixers is also (virtually) impossible for an all-volunteer staff, to say nothing of the tax implications

What we can/have done is licensing specific albums and selling them, i.e. on OC Records, but that's a different story entirely.

Well then there you go. Don't do it. It's not fair to the original creators and it's not logistically possible for you. It's possibly not even legal, as Neblix brings up a valid point that he (and I) are still waiting to hear an answer.

But once again, it's your decision to go down this path and good luck with it. And once again, I stick by my recommendation that you get awareness and agreement with the remixer and the publisher/rights holders of the original composition that you are making money off of their song while they receive nothing.

And that you immediately stop monetizing all the videos that you've already done so until you get the awareness and agreement with the remixer and the publisher/rights holders of each original composition that you are making money off of their song while they receive nothing.

And that you clearly change the language of the submission guidelines to reflect this strategy and post an official announcement of the change instead of performing an experiment that violates usage without agreement and then addressing it months later when people "take notice".

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3 minutes ago, Neifion said:

OCR went ahead and starting monetizing without such consent or even a general notice that it was happening, and that is not right.

I can agree with you it probably should've had a proper announcement, though this conversation and its potential fallout would've happened anyway. It STILL ignores that that money only goes back to site costs, not to the administration staff. It's a NON-PROFIT, that means no one profits from it - not them, not I, not you.

Really, you should be directing your complaints to the site itself, but since it's not a living entity, it's going to be kinda hard to get anywhere doing that.

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1 hour ago, Meteo Xavier said:

It IS pretty shocking because it gloriously overlooks a lot of key points that goes into that for this context. You guys just see it as black and white and call it protecting your work and its value, I call it chasing windmills and confusing a stubborn attitude for a principle.....

Answer to question from 1-11:

"None of this matters"

Like, I don't even know what point you're trying to prove here. You are just reaching for whatever you can to convince yourself that there is no issue with artists' work being monetized on YouTube without their knowledge. This whole issue shows why I've become increasingly cynical towards "non-profit" organizations in general, honestly.

If there is money being made on fan work distributed for free, but OCR and/or the publisher are receiving ad-revenue directly from that work, then regardless of whether or not the money is being re-invested into the site, the artist is being screwed. Period.

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