The Richter Scales: Men Who Blog

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.


Blogger btezra said...

the scope of fair use is a very controversial issue w/out question, one that will continue to be debated for quite some time in this digital-age, but IMHO one should always ask if not give credit (or even pay for what they use) if their intentions are good from the start...problems only arise after the fact, after a misdeed has occurred

6:37 AM  
Blogger Cam said...

Hey, YouTube has taken the video down due to "copyright claim". The vid is clearly parody and Fair-Use; can you get the EFF to work on this?

11:32 AM  
Blogger H. said...

Basically if I am reading your post correct, what I hear you saying is "Mea Culpa, but we're lazy."

All you needed to do was put up a web page listing source credits and direct people to that address at the end of the video.

You can spend months working on your "project" and you say you are grateful at the acclaim you're getting, but you can't take a day to compile a list of names and web addresses so that the original artists, whose work you used without permission, can be properly credited.

There wouldn't be a video if it weren't for the artists whose work you used. You credit Billy Joel because you know his legal team could bring down your video in a nanosecond, but you basically shrug off the concerns of everyone else even after admitting that crediting them is the right thing to do.

Wow. Stunning turn of events here.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Brian said...


I think that's a mischaracterization. It's more like Mea Culpa and we're trying to fix our mistakes by giving credit to people who ask and deserve it. We credit Lane on the "About this Video" section. In the future, we will almost certainly provide a link to an area that can have credits added dynamically.

Look, we're artists too. We care about this and we're trying to do the right thing. It's disheartening to hear all the cynicism and negativity surrounding this issue.

1:49 PM  
Blogger H. said...

As an artist, imagine how you would feel if you video showed up on CNN or MTV without any kind of acknowledgement. The "Fair Use" policy allows artists to use other people's work without having to pay hefty fees. It is not intended as a no credit free pass.

I'm glad you're going to do things differently in the future, but my earlier comment stands. Artists should not have to seek you out to get a credit if you used their work. It is not their job to go patrolling the internet to see if their material has been used by someone else.

Some simple recordkeeping and you could have avoided most of the negativity. If your feelings are hurt by the criticism, you just aren't getting it. Nobody wishes you ill will. Artists should support each other. THAT INCLUDES YOU. Support the people who made it possible to do what you did.

Say you are going to fix this, and put up a page and link. You avoid fallout and help others out at the same time.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Johna Till Johnson said...

Hi Mark and Brian,

Please do what you can to bring the video back--it's great work and deserves to be seen/heard! I love it and miss it already.

I do think you can negotiate fairly with the photographer. IMHO the best thing to do is apologize, offer to rectify the situation by posting credits (as H is suggesting--it can be a separate screen at the end) and include a link directing folks to the photographer's web site, and encouraging them to buy stuff.

(I believe I read that s/he is just going freelance, and can use the publicity).

That creates a win-win-win: Fans (like me) win coz we get the video back. You win by doing the right thing, and the photog hopefully picks up some publicity and business.

In short: "I'm so sorry, let's see if we can work this out" is a MUCH better solution than, "WTF, dude, it's fair use!!"

And again.. please bring the video back! You guys do great work and I can't wait to catch you live next time I'm in town.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Johna Till Johnson said...

Sorry, guys, I meant to say "Matt"... I'm on the East Coast, it's getting late-ish here.

Seriously, please keep up the good fight to bring the video back and keep making more great music. You're awesome!

3:44 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Hey Johna. Thanks for your comments.

I believe we're trying to do just that and we're very much in favor of a win-win situation. We've been reaching out from the moment this started. It doesn't help that we've had almost no direct communication from the photographer (we've certainly heard a lot from the photographer's friends). The take down came without warning. It's hard to reach a compromise when you just don't know what the other party wants.

I'm very sad that this has been framed as a confrontation from the very beginning.

4:00 PM  
Blogger ShopGirl said...

Sorry you guys got caught up in the reactionary position that YouTube seems to have adopted. Hopefully you can work it out.

Whatever the outcome, I live in the Bay Area and I'm SO hiring you for our next party!

4:23 PM  
Blogger wjanio said...

This is really funny. I mean
USA is a strange country with strange rules. You can easily find so many videos on YouTube that violate copyrights but they haven't found them and took down this one.
For what? For using some pictures found on the Internet and then making a low resolution, low quality non-profit parody?

But maybe there is another reason? You did use the YouTube logo suggesting YouTube is also a company that'll pop soon :) YouTube is owned by google, google owns blogger. You should be really afraid now :)

Can't you just redo the video, remove the controversial photo and add some ending with with a link pointing to your site where you'll put all the credits and contact information (so that all other ppl that feel they should be credited could contact you)?

best wishes from free from copyright madness Europe

4:29 PM  
Blogger Johna Till Johnson said...

Hi Brian,

I hear you about online confrontations. I ran into some of that myself some weeks back--could be why I'm stupid enough to attempt freelance diplomacy :-)Silly me.

For what it's worth, I emailed Lane Hartwell at the address she left on your site, urging her to negotiate with you.

I do hope you guys can work it out. And regardless, keep on making music--it's clear from your site that you're WAY more than "one-hit-wonders". (The thing with the monks was-sorry--divine. ;-)

4:29 PM  
Blogger Cam said...

Still up on

5:06 PM  
Blogger Cam said...

Ironically, still up at Valleywag:

10:19 PM  
Blogger Monte said...

It may be too late to add credits to the original video that was put up on YouTube, but you still have the raw footage and you can certainly add credits to the "new/improved" version you would be wise to put up to appease both sides (those that requested it be taken down for copyright infringement, and those who would still like to view the video in the future).

9:23 AM  
Blogger Toby Rogers said...

You wrote: "Since we can't change the video once it's launched..." That simply isn't true. You can always re-edit and re-post.

I'm looking forward to seeing it once it's back up. I read about your video in the Dec. 17 issue of Newsweek, p. 29 in their Soundbytes section.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Jay Dedman said...

Im a huge advocate of strong Fair Use laws, but this doesn't mean you shouldn't credit where your sources come from.

As others have said, just admit it the mistake. You didnt think to credit anyone because it was all in fun. But now that artists have contacted you, just redo the video with appropriate shoutouts and repost.

You should post the video to our blog with all the links included in the post. Im assuming you'd want me to do this if I used your music in my videos.

As independent creators, we got to stick together and not argue over lawyerly fine print. We should be proud to promote each other without any reservations.

(and yes, i think we're in another bubble too)

11:08 AM  
Blogger Jay Dedman said...

I meant:
"You should post the video to YOUR blog with all the links included in the post."

11:14 AM  

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