Brandon Strader

OCR monetizing mixes on YouTube

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OCR staff are volunteers. None of us are, or have ever been, compensated for our work (including but not limited to judging, moderation, running projects, etc.) Site revenue goes to things like hosting costs (dedicated server + mirrors), merchandising (OCR shirts, hoodies), promotional albums (which are not sold, but given away as prizes at cons to help promote the music), and similar.

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8 minutes ago, Garde said:

So which is it? Are they getting paid or not?

I personally am not getting paid.  If anyone else on staff is getting paid, I'm not aware of it and I have been left out of the loop.  My strong sense is (and the evidence points to) that no one on staff is getting paid for anything.

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1 minute ago, Kenogu Labz said:

The primary recurring argument I've seen is that, "YouTube ads feel different than web ads."  No more, and no less.

This is an egregious reductionist oversimplification of all the nuanced discussion that's happened in this 9-page thread.

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1 minute ago, Kenogu Labz said:

The primary recurring argument I've seen is that, "YouTube ads feel different than web ads."  No more, and no less.

Moral and legal arguments are not equivalent.

The prior is very much about how people feel.

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9 minutes ago, Kenogu Labz said:

The primary recurring argument I've seen is that, "YouTube ads feel different than web ads."  No more, and no less.

A couple consisting of a patient and their own therapist feels different than a normal couple.

 

EDIT: Also, thank you zircon and Chimpazilla for clarifying that point. It was my understanding that all the staff of OCR were unpaid volunteers, and I didn't understand why someone would try to use that as an operational cost. I wasn't sure if things had changed recently.

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If showing ads on YouTube has a moral thread to it that's fundamentally different from displaying ads on the side of a web page, please explain the reasoning for that.  I've seen no-one in this discussion say anything more than 'it feels like it's more personal on a video instead of a page.'  Feelings do not govern law or morality.

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3 minutes ago, Kenogu Labz said:

The primary recurring argument I've seen is that, "YouTube ads feel different than web ads."  No more, and no less.

This is relevant because it is the driving force that is causing us to examine all the other issues.  They DO feel different, they feel more personal and in-your-face.  The bummer here is that this was done without any notification to the artists.  Everyone here hates youtube ads!  (I believe I speak for most of us with this)  And now they are attached directly to our individual tracks.  I think our personal disappointment, along with the intrusive nature of youtube ads, is what is driving the anger and the other issues being brought up here.  

The other issues (copyright issues being the biggest concern, as far as I can see) need to be addressed, though.  I think somehow we need to be sure we can monetize the videos without being sued.  I have no idea how we can find out for sure.  Just hoping we can continue to fly under the radar seems reasonable, yet risky.

Overall I feel like there just needs to be a greater level of transparency with changes in policy.  The remix agreement DOES need to be updated to include specific language about ads.  The world is changing very fast these days, so language gets outdated quickly.  As Neblix said, when many remixers got their first remixes on the site, youtube streaming and spotify etc. weren't even a thing.

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2 minutes ago, Kenogu Labz said:

If showing ads on YouTube has a moral thread to it that's fundamentally different from displaying ads on the side of a web page, please explain the reasoning for that.  I've seen no-one in this discussion say anything more than 'it feels like it's more personal on a video instead of a page.'  Feelings do not govern law or morality.

You should maybe read up on exactly what ethics is.

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14 minutes ago, Kenogu Labz said:

If showing ads on YouTube has a moral thread to it that's fundamentally different from displaying ads on the side of a web page, please explain the reasoning for that.  I've seen no-one in this discussion say anything more than 'it feels like it's more personal on a video instead of a page.'  Feelings do not govern law or morality.

The biggest blunder I could commit is trying to enter a discussion with someone who is comfortable painting pages of a complex multi-faceted discussion as a single sentence worded in such a way to intentionally make it seem absurd. The second biggest would be to respond to your claim that feelings do not govern law or morality, which is a utilitarian philosophy, only one of many philosophies that exist, and trying to argue within the confines of your philosophy principles of other philosophy is a waste of time if you're already convinced of your own (a common pattern with utilitarianism, because it has a disproportionate self-perception of objectivity packaged with it, and in this particular thread, self-righteousness as well).

So I'm not going to. Read up on the thread, and I'm not going to answer your posts until you become current with what people are actually saying. If you can respond to an argument without rewording it and cutting it down to 100th of its size, it's a sign you're actually listening and not responding just to push your own opinion out.

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1 hour ago, Neblix said:

 

I keep seeing this argument that OCR is within their right to do this given the policy. That's not the point. Saying "but we can, you agreed to it when you hit the button" is not honest. It's legal. It's not honest.

The point is that these reactions by artists are genuine, and they feel it is dishonest. 

I actually agreed with this in the very first line I posted here.  Re-wording the Content Policy is worth a look -- not that my 2c needs to count for any of it, as I have absolute faith in the current staff.

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9 minutes ago, BardicKnowledge said:

I actually agreed with this in the very first line I posted here.  Re-wording the Content Policy is worth a look -- not that my 2c needs to count for any of it, as I have absolute faith in the current staff.

Okay, then we're seemingly on the same page. I'm (and you as well are) close friends with many of the staff, it would be absurd for me to assume wrong intentions since I know them personally enough. I'm just expanding on the importance of it. No malice intended.

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36 minutes ago, Garde said:

I was just providing an extreme example of why changing how and where you're acquiring income matters, even if the method or product is technically the same. In this case, OCR is still getting income from ads, but the means of delivering them has changed. And those things you bring up, almost none of those benefits are provided on youtube. Last I checked, the song write ups weren't even in the video descriptions or in the videos. As for that fair use thing, you can actually acquire the rights to cover/arrange almost any video game songs through a particular website now very easily at essentially no cost. I won't plug it because that's not the point of what I'm getting at.

As for those volunteers and the work/labor that goes into maintaining this site, if they aren't getting paid, then they are not a part of operation costs. Period. And if they're getting paid, can you really call them volunteers if they're being compensated for their work? So which is it? Are they getting paid or not? Because if they're not getting paid, then operation costs should be strictly limited to maintaining the site and any record label type services OCR allegedly provides its contributors.

People subscribe to OCR's social media for the same reason they subscribe to anything---the perception that there's reliable quality/relevance being produced. All of those things I listed--all the peripheral work--enable OCR to have that reputation, and enable their relative success on social media compared to our individual efforts as remixers. In the past I've had certain songs on my own channels for years, and they don't get the same visibility that OCR gets in a few hours---on the same platform. So of course OCR provides benefit on YouTube, to bother remixers and listeners.

Regarding operating costs---my message was to point out that operating costs are not the only work going into OCR. (Which is why I'm not sure what you're trying to argue by pointing out that those things I listed are not "operating costs"---that's what I thought I was explaining to you.) You seemed to be arguing that OCR provides no added value on YouTube, so I listed the efforts that do in fact contribute to why OCR does provide added value on YouTube and other social media platforms.

Tell me if I'm wrong---but you seem to be arguing that things which are "operating costs" in an accounting sense---e.g. web hosting---are the only things that we should consider when taking stock of the appropriateness of ad revenue---that the staff should not conceive of ways to ease the burden of volunteer efforts or invest in expanded efforts in the future.

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16 minutes ago, Kenogu Labz said:

If showing ads on YouTube has a moral thread to it that's fundamentally different from displaying ads on the side of a web page, please explain the reasoning for that.  I've seen no-one in this discussion say anything more than 'it feels like it's more personal on a video instead of a page.'  Feelings do not govern law or morality.

Web page, ad, part of site, part of page

Youtube, ad, part of video, part of music

uh, uh, make fire

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10 minutes ago, Patrick Burns said:

People subscribe to OCR's social media for the same reason they subscribe to anything---the perception that there's reliable quality/relevance being produced. All of those things I listed--all the peripheral work--enable OCR to have that reputation, and enable their relative success on social media compared to our individual efforts as remixers. In the past I've had certain songs on my own channels for years, and they don't get the same visibility that OCR gets in a few hours---on the same platform. So of course OCR provides benefit on YouTube, to bother remixers and listeners.

Regarding operating costs---my message was to point out that operating costs are not the only work going into OCR. (Which is why I'm not sure what you're trying to argue by pointing out that those things I listed are not "operating costs"---that's what I thought I was explaining to you.) You seemed to be arguing that OCR provides no added value on YouTube, so I listed the efforts that do in fact contribute to why OCR does provide added value on YouTube.

Tell me if I'm wrong---but you seem to be arguing that things which are "operating costs" in an accounting sense---e.g. web hosting---are the only things that we should consider when taking stock of the appropriateness of ad revenue---that the staff should not conceive of ways to ease the burden of volunteer efforts or invest in expanded efforts in the future.

They are monetizing a different component of the product, the portion that was provided to them free and rides under fair use (which suddenly, might not be fair use anymore). Ads on the site are fine because that has an operational cost and people that are using it are generating revenue for it. None of the benefits of the community are on youtube besides potential exposure, except the videos don't even link to the OCR/youtube profile of the artist. Each youtube description is just the same self-promotion for OCR, but doesn't contain the write up about the song or really promote the artists themselves. The only song-specific information it provides is the artist's name and a link back to the OCR page where the song is posted.


And yes, you're right. I am going about this from an accounting perspective. In court, I don't think putting ads on youtube videos of this music would fly with the mess that copyright law is right now. I don't think record companies would care that the reason OCR has monetized music they haven't acquired licenses for was to ease the burden on their volunteers. As it stands, I think ads on youtube videos for OCR songs is straight up unethical. If you had licenses for the songs and were giving the artists some revenue, then I think that would be fair.

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13 minutes ago, Ivan Hakštok said:

Youtube ads aren't nearly as intrusive as shitty forum signatures.

tbh the intrusiveness argument is the only one with some ground.  They're not as easy to ignore as website ads, that's objectively true.  I for one dislike them very much specially the ones you can't skip.

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18 minutes ago, Garde said:

They are monetizing a different component of the product, the portion that was provided to them free and rides under fair use (which suddenly, might not be fair use anymore). 

In court, I don't think putting ads on youtube videos of this music would fly with the mess that copyright law is right now. I don't think record companies would care that the reason OCR has monetized music they haven't acquired licenses for was to ease the burden on their volunteers. As it stands, I think ads on youtube videos for OCR songs is straight up unethical. If you had licenses for the songs and were giving the artists some revenue, then I think that would be fair.

^THIS^ explains my biggest concern about the issue of youtube ads, pretty much perfectly.  No way to know if it would actually happen, but if it ever did, it would be game changing and potentially dealbreaking for OCR.

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As I've said many times, and explained pretty thoroughly, having the mixes monetized on YouTube would not make any material difference toward fair use. OCR has been distributing downloadable MP3s of remixes for many years, with ad support on the site. If THAT is fair use, then YouTube is. If that isn't fair use, then YouTube isn't. End of story.

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So let me get this straight, if I have a bunch of unlicensed music, put it in a page, which is by the way the only way to download the song, and fill the page with ads which surround the unlicensed music in question, I am not profiting off of the song and it's ethical.  But if I remove the ads, and put the ad before people click play, even though people are STILL watching ads because of the song, now this is unethical?   This is absurd.

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I'd also be curious if some are simply arguing from a reason such as the following:

Quote

I don't want to have ads interspersed before I get to listen to a remix.

This is a consumer motivation as opposed to a stakeholder motivation.

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5 minutes ago, zircon said:

As I've said many times, and explained pretty thoroughly, having the mixes monetized on YouTube would not make any material difference toward fair use. OCR has been distributing downloadable MP3s of remixes for many years, with ad support on the site. If THAT is fair use, then YouTube is. If that isn't fair use, then YouTube isn't. End of story.

But you even said yourself that technically it has NEVER been fair use, and has ALWAYS been copyright infringement.  Maybe the big game companies have let it fly under the radar before, but perhaps the youtube monetization could cause them to take notice.  I know you're saying the types of advertising are essentially the same, I hear you (I hear you too Sir_NutS), but I am in the camp that feels that they are different.  They are more personal, and they are attached to specific remixes.

Honestly zircon, I hope you are right, and I'm prepared to go along and move forward under that assumption.  I'm just stating my concerns.

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1. The remixes have already been on YouTube for years. If anyone had a problem we would know by now. I have dealt with this stuff myself and if a publisher has a problem with your content they will claim it or takedown regardless of whether you are monetizing (I've seen & dealt with this multiple times, and it was always unmonetized content.) As I've been saying over and over, offering downloads is definitely worse.

2. Monetizing the content on YouTube does not do anything to increase its visibility.

3. If a company did have a problem, dealing with that problem on YouTube is FAR better for OCR than dealing with it outside. If a company has an issue with OCR MP3s they have no recourse other than directly reaching out from their legal team. That's very very bad for us. On the other hand, on YouTube, they can use existing systems like content ID/claims or takedowns. These don't require anyone to have legal counsel to deal with, and it allows OCR to defend its usage with Google as a mediator - no courts needed. Furthermore, on YouTube, we have the benefit of an MCN that has its own resources including connections at Google itself. 

Here is where I will (again) point out that people have been monetizing arrangements on YouTube for years and years, including big channels, unlicensed, with no issues, and those are people actually turning a profit and pocketing 100% of the money. 

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I want to re-pose a question I asked before that nobody answered, for those that are against YT monetization. Google ads are already almost dead. In a year let's say they are completely dead. Now imagine Patreon goes away, because maybe Patreon itself is shut down or gets purchased. Who knows? That kind of stuff happens every day in silicon valley.

How do you expect OCR to keep running in that scenario?

Now go a step further - imagine the trend continues of fewer and fewer people coming here and downloading MP3s, and more and more people going to YouTube. Imagine that the audience here shrinks to almost nothing while the YouTube channel becomes the #1 source of consuming the content. 

Again: How does OCR keep running in that scenario? 

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54 minutes ago, Garde said:

They are monetizing a different component of the product, the portion that was provided to them free and rides under fair use (which suddenly, might not be fair use anymore). Ads on the site are fine because that has an operational cost and people that are using it are generating revenue for it. None of the benefits of the community are on youtube besides potential exposure, except the videos don't even link to the OCR/youtube profile of the artist. Each youtube description is just the same self-promotion for OCR, but doesn't contain the write up about the song or really promote the artists themselves. The only song-specific information it provides is the artist's name and a link back to the OCR page where the song is posted.


And yes, you're right. I am going about this from an accounting perspective. In court, I don't think putting ads on youtube videos of this music would fly with the mess that copyright law is right now. I don't think record companies would care that the reason OCR has monetized music they haven't acquired licenses for was to ease the burden on their volunteers. As it stands, I think ads on youtube videos for OCR songs is straight up unethical. If you had licenses for the songs and were giving the artists some revenue, then I think that would be fair.

You would be right, if you consider OCR's YouTube channel as merely a glorified file hosting service. You are missing a lot of the equation if you see it as that.

OCR faces two directions. In one direction, it provides a brand across different platforms to which listeners can reliably return for certain kinds of music---more reliably than searching for all those content providers individually. In the other direction, it provides musicians a platform to have their labors of love heard by a larger audience and to receive greater feedback and even instruction. Furthermore, it does all this in such a way as to help shield this gathering under the umbrella of fair use. None of those arms of OCR work without the other arms. You can't arbitrarily divorce the YouTube channel apart from it because the YouTube channel would die without the essential functions of the rest of the OCR organism which requires a lot of work to maintain.

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4 minutes ago, zircon said:

I want to re-pose a question I asked before that nobody answered, for those that are against YT monetization. Google ads are already almost dead. In a year let's say they are completely dead. Now imagine Patreon goes away, because maybe Patreon itself is shut down or gets purchased. Who knows? That kind of stuff happens every day in silicon valley.

How do you expect OCR to keep running in that scenario?

Now go a step further - imagine the trend continues of fewer and fewer people coming here and downloading MP3s, and more and more people going to YouTube. Imagine that the audience here shrinks to almost nothing while the YouTube channel becomes the #1 source of consuming the content. 

Again: How does OCR keep running in that scenario? 

I would expect OCR to run using ethical and legal means of generating revenue, and failing that to shut down.

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