Monday, January 24, 2011

Puzzled about YouTube Blockers

Recently I heard again, "Beachcombing" a song by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris which had just breezed by me when it was released in 2006 on their album, "All the Roadrunning." This time, no doubt because some of the lyrics presciently connote the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill, I was more deeply affected. It opens...

They say there’s wreckage washing up
all along the coast
No one seems to know too much
Or who got hit the most
Nothing has been spoken
There’s not a lot to see
But something has been broken
that’s how it feels to me

We had a harmony
I never meant to spoil
Now it's lying in the water
Like a slick of oil
The tide is running out to sea
Under a darkening sky...

I went to YouTube (where else?) and was surprised to find very limited entries. It's become pretty common when one gets a penchant to hear some favourite song, to find videos with the music. Often these are pretty rudimentary, maybe just a still picture or two of the artist sitting there throughout. For "Beachcombing" there was a little more but if anything it would have been better to have stuck with the stills. Thus, for example, one YouTuber nicknamed McDaidUSA, chose to have this haunting anthem as back up to her or his reunion with relatives in Ireland's west country. This includes spots of barely comprehensible voice-over narration of McDaidUSA's big trip.

My sister searched about at my request and found another non-YouTube posting -- a Spanish language one. It was far worse than the travelogue of Eire, mainly consisting of panoramic shots of white-sanded tourist-y tropical resorts, punctuated by the occasional young lady in bikini. Indeed, the finale is of one such woman beaming with delight, captured in the accompanying screen-shot. It seemed to me that the melancholy tone and pensive lyrics were entirely missed by whomever assembled and posted this.

Idled for a morning (i.e. not wanting to work) I decided to rise to the challenge and splice together a slide show which was exquisitely (or so I think) timed so that the images synched with and were appropriate to the lyrics. Once done, I uploaded to YouTube and sent the URL to my sister who discovered minutes later that it had been blocked. Even though I'd credited and indeed promoted the album, a surly and chagrined little red face appeared with an unconvincing apology, ""This video contains content from WMG and UMG, one or more of whom have blocked it on copyright grounds. Sorry about that."

So have I got this straight? -- it's okay to rip off the artists and production company as back up for your so fascinating Irish vacation or to switch to Spanish and show tourist scenes and nubile beach girls? But, for heaven's sake don't give direct credit and try, at least, to jibe with the creator's seeming intent! Well, not to be stymied, here's the ouevre for your enjoyment whilst I figure out a way around the YouTube enforcers.