The Richter Scales: Men Who Blog

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Announcing "Bubble" Version 1.1

The Richter Scales are pleased to announce "Here Comes Another Bubble" Version 1.1.

Version 1.0 was viewed nearly a million times before Lane Hartwell, a San Francisco area photographer, filed a DMCA take-down notice which caused YouTube to remove the video from its site. The take-down has caused a lot of debate in the blogosphere about issues like fair use, permission, and credit.

As background, when we created Version 1.0 we didn't see similar YouTube videos crediting every image used, nor did what we read about fair use point us towards the need to do so. Also, when Lane emailed us shortly after the video was released, we immediately gave her a credit, with a link, in the "About This Video" section on YouTube, but weren't able to assess whether that was sufficient because Lane wouldn't talk to us via phone and didn't respond to our emails with any requests or proposals before she issued the DMCA take-down request.

That said, the debate about Version 1.0 has made us more sensitive to the credit issue, and we're eager to credit all the content used in the video.

So, Version 1.1 includes, in the video itself, as complete a list of credits as we have been able to generate. We have also posted the credit list on our web site, where it's easier to read, easier to edit, and more likely to drive traffic to others. We hope folks will consider this a reasonable and fair approach that balances the letter of fair use with the spirit of providing credit where due.

The other change in Version 1.1 is that the photograph of Owen Thomas has been replaced by a photograph of Kara Swisher. Kara was the first blogger to link to Version 1.0, and we appreciate that she has described our use of her video interview with Peter Thiel as fair use.

To put our motives into perspective for people who don't know us personally, the Richter Scales is a not for profit organization from which members make no money. This past Friday, for example, we sang to a standing room only crowd in Noe Valley, yet lost money on the gig just as we have on every show we've put on since we started up in 2000. Another statistic putting our economics into perspective is that in the week Version 1.0 was up, we sold only eight CDs of previously recorded music. That's one CD sold per 125,000 viewers of the video. If this rate holds, the "profits" from CD sales will equal the $355 we spent making the video when Version 1.1 gets its 3.5 millionth view. (Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be a cappella singers.)

Throughout this process, we have been encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive feedback Version 1.0 received, as well as by the many supportive emails, blog posts, blog comments, and phone calls full of advice so many of you shared with us in the past week. Thank you very much for reaching out to us.

-- The Richter Scales

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DMCA Takedown of "Here Comes Another Bubble"

This morning, our "Here Comes Another Bubble" video was removed from YouTube under a DMCA takedown order.

Some folks have left comments saying we should acknowledge all the people who created the images we used in the video. Good point. We will go through the video and cite every source, and wherever possible, we will credit the original photographer. Once the list is up, if you see a mistake in it, please let us know, and we'll do our best to rectify it.

We don't know who filed the takedown or why they did so without first talking to us, but we would like to talk about what it would take for you to cancel your request.

It probably was impolite not to offer full credit in the video in the first place. But those who called us thieves and jokingly threatened us with physical violence were also being impolite. Let's keep this civil, folks.

Thanks again to everyone who has left comments on this issue or on the video. We appreciate your feedback and are learning from it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Credit and "Here Comes Another Bubble"

We've been overwhelmed with the positive response to "Here Comes Another Bubble." A few people have asked whether we should have credited the artists who's work we used to created, a fair question that we'd like to address.

When we made it, we never expected the response or attention the video has gotten. Like anything our group does, we did it for fun and laughs. But credit is credit--no matter your motive, credit should be given to those who contributed to your work. We did make an effort to credit those people we actively worked with on the video, as well as Billy Joel, which we listed in the comments on YouTube and on our blog. But, given the large number of sources we used, the task of assigning credit for each source seemed impractical.

Giving credit is the right thing to do, and while they're too numerous to mention, and we'd like to offer thanks and credit to all the folks who's pictures and videos allowed us to create the video, and we'd like to apologize to anyone who feels slighted by our failure to do so in advance.

We were contacted by Lane Hartwell, the San Francisco photographer responsible for the photograph of Valleywag's Owen Thomas. She questioned us as to why there was no credit to her for that photo. Since we can't change the video once it's launched, we've given her credit in the YouTube video description.

In the end, the video is a parody. There is a lot of good information online about how fair use applies to online digital video. Specifically, we recommend reading material provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on the subject:

Fair Use Principles for User Generated Video Content
A "Test Suite" of Fair Use Examples for Service Providers and Content Owners

Again, we're so appreciative of all the feedback we've gotten! Please contact with any questions or thoughts.

UPDATE 12/11/2007: Our video has been taken down from YouTube over the issue of copyright. The group is working through the issue and we'll let you know what happens. Thanks for the comments so far.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Top rated YouTube video for the week!

"Here Comes Another Bubble" is YouTube's top rated video for the week of December 2-8!

Other highlights include:

- the 2nd most viewed video on YouTube this Wednesday

- featured on the Yahoo! home page

- written up in the San Jose Mercury news today (Saturday)

- over 600,000 views on YouTube and Yahoo! videos combined--not including the Yahoo! home page views.

Thanks to everyone who has watched the video, downloaded the MP3, forwarded it to a friend, or blogged about it.

Blog it all!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Bubble is Back!

(EDIT 2007-12-18: Replaced old video with version 1.1)

The Richter Scales, always with our finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley, have released "Here Comes Another Bubble," a new YouTube music video about the Web 2.0 "bubble."

A little background: I've been working on the lyrics, arrangement and video for a couple months now, with lots of help from the group. Special thanks also to Bill Hare and Charlie Forkish for a stellar mix. Bill is a world-class sound engineer I've worked with in the past.

So far we've been linked to by Tech Crunch, Fake Steve Jobs, John Battelle, Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal, and Robert Scoble.

Big day for the Scales!