More progress on the Bad Claims Front

I finally got a hold of someone at Altafonte music, a company that was claiming about a dozen of my pieces (from what I can guess – on a few thousand videos). They were rejecting disputes without review… and that’s never a good thing.

Happy ending! As of this morning they should have released all of the claims!

Not so happy part… I think they’re keeping all of the money. I have no idea how much it is. Certainly not enough to worry about.

Big thanks to Miguel for getting everything taken care of so quickly!

Untangling the False Claims

A bunch of people have written me recently about their YouTube videos getting claimed by TuneSat. So I called TuneSat, and I sent Mark over at TuneSat some information about a claim.

The assets were attributed to another company that uses TuneSat; Audiam. Mike from Adium found my music, stopped the account, and released all of the claims. I’m still not sure who uploaded my music claiming to represent me… but I’m working on that with Mike.

The good news is, all of the erroneous claims that looked like they were coming from TuneSat should all be released.


UPDATE! This was caught very early by you all! There were only 481 claims total (most of them being for “The Complex” and “Call to Adventure”). The claims were only active for about a day. All is well again!

How to: The Music Business

Flock of Giraffes
I get a lot of requests for people wanting to know how to “get into the music business”. Some people are honestly confused – which is understandable, because I’m actually IN the business, and I am still confused. This document is for all of the people who make music – and want to make music more.

This document is not a happy/flowery/you-can-do-it document. But, I understand negativity turns people off, so I’ve included the positive (and very very wrong) version of things as well.


APRA and the money.

APRA (Australian music rights association) contacted me yesterday. They have money for me because a TV station aired a program that had my music in it. $460AUD.

The producers of the show correctly licensed the music from me, and no one had to pay for the use… but the TV stations have an agreement – they pay a yearly fee, and that gets divided up among the music rights holders and disbursed through APRA.

I asked if they could give the money back to the station. They said ‘no’. So, now I’m trying to get the money to give back to the station that didn’t need to pay it in the first place.

Here is exactly how simple that is:
1) Sign up for APRA*
2) Collect money
3) Send money to TV station

*Signing up for APRA is a problem. It isn’t difficult, but it is a problem. When you sign with a rights collecting agency like this, they get to do things for you. Things that I don’t want done. For example, as a “benefit” they get to demand money for the use of my music. Wherever they think they can legally get the money, I’m sure they try. That is their job.

Lucky for me, I can “opt out” of a variety (possibly all) of their collection efforts.
– public performance
– broadcasting
– streaming
– live performance
– film
– background music
– radio
– tv

In order to keep the CC license, I would need to opt-out of everything… including the things where they are already collecting money!

Now it looks like this:
1) Sign up for APRA
2) Opt out of everything**
3) Collect money
4) Send money to TV station

**Opting out requires 3 months’ prior written notice – to be effected on July 1 or January 1. The July deadline is gone. So I could sign up in September, immediately give the 3 months’ notice, and be all good by January!
From what I can tell, this would give APRA three months’ worth of free reign to go after people for money – which is exactly what I do not want. Also, this process can cost about $200AUD.

So now…
1) Sign up for APRA
2) Pay APRA $200 to…
3) Opt out of everything
4) Hope that APRA doesn’t screw with people in the meanwhile***
5) Collect remaining money
6) Send remaining money to TV station

***We have now run into the territory of “really unacceptable” and “potentially asinine”.

Option, The First
Do nothing. Leave the money with people who collected it on my behalf without my permission. This money will go back into the pool of random money and be given to other composers for no apparent reason.

Option, The Second
Try to actually get the money and give it back to the people who didn’t need to pay it in the first place, while possibly screwing up licensing for everyone else.

I seriously dislike this portion of my world.

Great Publicity

“Will you score this incredibly complicated action movie I’m filming for my 6th grade film class? It’ll be great publicity for you because my whole class will see it – and you’ll be in the credits!”

That’s what I deal with all the time. Great publicity and $10 will get me lunch*.

Publicity Guy

If you are a content producer, please do not try to sell “publicity” to anyone. I get the “publicity” sell continuously – and what it generally means is that the product is abysmal.

Professionals understand which projects will increase their profile and which ones will not. No need to mention explicitly.

Now that I’ve annoyed everyone who has ever sold “publicity”, I’m going to go back to my music-hole and work a bit. I’ll probably not get much publicity by doing that, though. hmm…

*Please donate $10 for Kevin’s lunch.


Well, I’ve been falling behind on my emails – but I’ve just hatched a plan to help everyone in a MUCH more timely manner.

You can ask questions or post your thoughts and comments at the Support-o-matic!! (Available under the “Contact” link on the top of every page.)

Also! I got minions to help!

Randy Morton – EndlessGrind78 at YouTube
Chris Wager – Wagerbomb at YouTube

I’m also going to be answering the support tickets.

The Harry Fox Agency and the Public Domain

Okay, everyone – check your videos!

I just got off the phone with the Harry Fox Agency. We have a working plan to get things straight for the future!

If you have had a claim against your YouTube videos from the HFA while using my music, please email me the link to the video (subject line HFA).
It does not matter if you contested the claim or if the claim is still active.

These are some known pieces they have claimed, but there may be others.
– Also Sprach Zarathustra
– Cello Suite #1 in G
– Sheep May Safely Graze
– Wagner Bridal Chorus
– Egmont Overture
– In the Hall of the Mountain King

Alternately, if you are a YouTube searching God – and you can find examples of these claims on something that is not your video, that would also be wonderful!
I only need three or four examples per piece, but I’ll take all you can find.

After we get all of this sorted out, I’ll start working on “Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society”.

Thanks everyone!

– Kevin

The Joys of Free Music

One might think is is simple to record music and distribute it for free online, but there are companies that work against people who do this.

Recently, I was sent a round-up of a very nicely organized pile of issues. You can check it out here: (Thanks, Leo!)

I have issues with everyone on this list. But let me take just one of them, and explain exactly why they are a pain: The Harry Fox Agency.
These guys are amazing. They have entered a giant pile of public domain compositions into YouTube’s ContentID database. Not recordings (which are still under copyright) but compositions – some of which date back 300 years or more. Do they have the rights to do this? Not by any laws I’ve ever seen. Why does YouTube allow them to claim ownership of compositions written hundreds of years ago? I have no idea.

According to Leo’s list (linked above), they will (through their own inaction) eventually release the claims that are placed on videos uploaded to YouTube if you contest them, so I guess that is ‘good’.

What The Harry Fox Agency should do is remove all claims to music in the Public Domain, and refund all of the money they earned on those claims to the people who uploaded the videos.

There is a notable absence on this list: The Orchard Music. This company had erroneously claimed an large number of videos that used my music. I contacted them many times to remove the bad assets from the ContentID database. Well, they didn’t actually do that at first – but they did release the claims on all of the videos that I found.

So I did some more research, and provided them with over 100 falsely claimed videos (and zero correctly claimed videos). They eventually removed the bad asset from the ContentID database. They kept all of the money from the false claims, but persistence can pay off! :-)

The sad note on this is… after all of those false claims were cleared up, Harry Fox came in and laid claim to those videos.

So if you work for Harry Fox, or know someone who does, I would love to talk to you about how it is possible to claim ownership to Public Domain compositions.


Available now in Czech

Let’s Play Video Games

There is a very popular movement in videos right now; People playing video games. Typically, people video capture themselves playing a video game, and then post the game play to YouTube. There are some thing to be aware of if you’re doing this. Some games license music from people for use in their games; other games have clear rights to the music.

So, what does that mean?

Though you can play the game and post your video to YouTube, you may not have the rights to use the music included with the game (and you may not be able to make money on your videos).

If you produce videos like this – mute the background music, and record like normal. Then come here and select music that is appropriate to your game and your gameplay/commentary style. Mix my music into your video, and upload. Simple!
This will also give your video some differentiation from all of the other videos that are playing that game. Wins all around!

Here is just one example of the thousands of videos that use this technique. (Courtesy of NatskiGaming)

Polish version:

Copyright Issues Roundup

CDBaby is removing the Hypnotherapy assets from the ContentID Database; so, Yay! Should be completed in about 2 weeks.

It appears Music Video Distributors (MVD) claims to own the rights to “Sunshine (Ver 2)”. This is just developing, so I don’t have any details on it yet.

A video using “Pinball Spring” was declined for monitization. Appeal in process on this. Not sure what is holding it up.

Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society continues to claim my Brandenberg Concerto – but they are releasing contests to the claim in a timely manner. So this is just another ongoing issue where a publisher is claiming rights to a piece in the Public Domain.

Made in Etaly (“Ozone-Ozone”) is claiming… something of mine. not sure which one yet. I’ll let you know more when I know more.

Getting things straight with Hypnotherapy

I’ve decided to start chronicling a thing that I’ve been spending a lot of time on recently: fighting bad copyright claims concerning my music. Sony, Universal, and at least a dozen other corporations have – at some point – claimed that my music belongs to them.

The one I’m dealing with right now is Steven B Schneider: Certified Hypnotherapist.

What Happened.
They put together a weight loss CD and used my music as the background. This is both legal AND encouraged!

What should not have happened.
CDBaby entered the audio recordings into YouTube’s ContentID system, and everyone who ever used that particular piece of music was matched against it. None of these people used the hypnotherapy recording – they used the same music as the hypnotherapist did.

Who is affected.
At least these videos:

If any of these is you – contest it. CDBaby will release the claims. Will they give you the revenue they received for the false claim? Well, I’d hope so.

What’s going on.
Ball is in CDBaby’s court. My guess is they are going to try to protect their client. Hopefully they’ll pull the asset from ContentID – and continue to sell the audio by their client.