This week a vigilant member of our Final Cut Pro community alerted me to a video on YouTube that he thought might be mine – but wasn’t on my site. I clicked the link and went directly to a recently created YouTube channel, that was, in fact, displaying one of my video tutorials as their own. In an effort to hide the tutorial’s identity, the channel owner had cut off my introduction and failed to acknowledge my work. Worse, they had pirated 87 more of my videos, and given them the same treatment! He was promoting them, not as my work, but as his own.
I try to make my materials as widely available as possible, many at no cost. But that doesn’t mean I have given up ownership. Also, some of the videos they had posted were ones that I offer for sale in my store. By him distributing them for free, this deprived me and my company of income.
Piracy, I know, affects all of us. But, this isn’t a rant on piracy, its an illustration of what we did.
Laura, in my office, immediately set to work to figure out how to get the videos taken down. She looked at the YouTube Copyright Infringement instructions. YouTube requires a detailed form to be submitted for EACH infringed video. This presents an almost insurmountable burden when dozens of videos are involved. Laura realized that it would take hours to prepare one form for each of the 88 videos. So, while she pondered a legal solution, she took the path of least resistance and sent a direct message to the channel owner requesting that he remove all 88 videos immediately, and explaining why.
To our amazement, the channel owner complied immediately! All 88 videos were removed and he put up his own Final Cut training.
Several morals apply to this story. One is that polite, direct contact from one person to another is the most efficient means of effective communication. Two is a reminder to everyone that when you make copyrighted material available for free, or download a program from a source like Pirate Bay without paying for it, you are depriving someone of an income, and possibly someone from having a job. As a small business owner the majority of my income comes from the tutorials I sell in my store. I depend on this income to support my company. I love doing my work, but I also love paying my team and my mortgage, with a bit left over to create new products. I can’t do that when items that I sell get distributed for free.
My situation is not unique. All of us work hard to create good products. Sometimes those products get ripped off, which is really demoralizing. But, sometimes, when you ask nicely, these problems can be fixed.
I’ve decided to call that a reason for hope.
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