Q- Hello Patrick, tell us a little about yourself. What do you do, what projects do you have, your background …
Hello! My name is Patrick de Arteaga and I am a composer of background music that is used in audiovisual projects. I usually do it independently and currently I publish my Creative Commons music on my website: https://patrickdearteaga.com/royalty-free-music/
Thus, people download my music for free and use it in their multimedia projects, such as video games, podcasts, YouTube videos, you name it.
Before dedicating myself to doing this, I started by participating in the music of short films and independent video game projects. But down the road and with growing inspiration, more music was emerging and so I decided to start sharing it. Still today I do sometimes collaborate with the soundtrack of indie video games.
Q- How do you think Creative Commons licenses fit into digital business models?
Great question. I think that normally businesses where content creation depends on artists usually have straight payment models, where there are only buyers and sellers. You pay and get a license to use the artwork. I think this is best suitable for those companies that can make use of a higher investment.
So in order to compete with these companies, Creative Commons licenses are an opportunity. Many people will choose to use free works rather than paid works for a simple financial matter. But of course, if you offer your content for free, where do you get the benefits? Where’s the business?
Here I think the solution is to opt for freemium models, or the use of advertising, among other forms of monetization.
Theoretically, Creative Commons licenses can work in digital business models. The problem is when you are an independent artist who uses these licenses in his works in order to make himself known more easily, and then wait for the money to arrive alone. Not by becoming famous you are going to get rich. I believe that no business will succeed if a sales strategy is not planned before. In this case it would be like buying a lottery ticket: it is always someone’s turn, but it is very likely that that someone is not you. Unless, of course, you buy many lottery tickets constantly.
Q- You are a user of both Safe Creative and Safe Stamper, and it seems that you have had some plagiarism issues in which these services have been useful to you. Can you tell us about your experience?
Sure. It turns out that a few weeks ago a user contacted me notifying me that someone had registered one of my songs in the Twitch Content ID (it turned out that he got a DMCA violation for using my song, when it shouldn’t happen since my music is Creative Commons ).
This had already happened before (there are usually false positives), but in this case it was a clear intention of plagiarism. The exact song was being released with the label “2019 Indiefy ”and attributing authorship to another person.
The same song was also being distributed on platforms such as Spotify, AmazonMusic, YandexMusic, SoundCloud, YouTube, and others, all under the same label and name of the false author in the description.
I contacted what I assumed to be the distributors’ website, indiefy.net, and made them aware of the case, asking them to withdraw the fraudulent distribution. I also contacted some of the platforms through their due forms to let them know that I am the author and that I have not given permission to any music producer or publisher to distribute my work under their label, let alone attributing the authorship to someone else.
Indiefy responded to me saying that they would study the case. And the next day, when I went to create the plagiarism proofs with Safe Stamper tools, I saw that it was too late (that’s why I recommend it so much to get the proofs sooner), since they had already deleted the content of these platforms.
Of course, they were quick and didn’t warn me about it.
I contacted them again to find out how the case was going (I was interested to know if the song had also been deleted from the Twitch Content ID, since I have no way of accessing it). But the days passed and I received no answer. I contacted them about four more times and they finally responded, confirming that they had stopped the fraudulent distribution, but that they did not work with Twitch and that they could not help me out there. They apologized again.
Before that, YouTube’s reply after contacting them to delete the plagiarized song was that they could not delete it because they had the permission of the distributor (Indiefy). I let them know that this distributor did not have my authorization, and after about two weeks they replied that they had already removed the content.
Amazon also answered me when the content no longer existed (the ones from Indiefy had already deleted it), so there was no need to do anything else.
Q – How has all this affected you professionally? What deficiencies do you see in the current music distribution system?
I really don’t make much of a problem for myself, I always knew this could happen one day (and this is probably only the first time). But the attitude of the Indiefy people gave me a little bad feeling as I was left for almost a month without a clear answer, and the fact that platforms like Spotify, AmazonMusic, YouTube and Twitch do not allow Creative Commons music authors to add our works to their Content ID catalog to prevent other distributors from fraudulently doing so afterwards.
This is one of the shortcomings that I see in the current music distribution system. Formerly YouTube and Twitch had their CC music library, but today they do without it, and even if I contact them to add my music, they reply that they only work with music with “copyright” (I suppose that Creative Commons music does not generate profit for them ).
Another deficiency is for those independent artists who seek to earn income on platforms such as Spotify, where they pay you for reproductions. There is so much competition that if you do not invest in advertising listeners will hardly reach you. There is very good music that goes unnoticed and Spotify could help to publicize it by creating a section where the least heard is promoted, to give it a chance.
Q – How do you think Safe Creative has helped you in this case? And Safe Stamper? What would you recommend to other creators?
I am very happy with the existence of Safe Creative. I have been registering my works since 2013 and all this time I have been able to feel calm knowing that my music is safe. as I knew that as soon as a case of plagiarism occurred, I would rely on the full legal validity of these records at the international level. So when I contacted Indiefy, YouTube or Amazon I only shared a link to the registration of the work in Safe Creative. In my case it seems that this was enough to stop the distribution of my plagiarized work.
And with Safe Stamper I am now confident that I can create proof of such copyright infringements before the platforms delete plagiarized content. This is an advantage in case a more serious case should occur, which of course I do not want to happen.
I would recommend to all creators to register their works before sharing them by any means, it is an simple task that is done in two clicks. I have met artists who shared their works freely in the public domain without registering them first, because they believed that registering their works was the same as “full copyright” or “all rights reserved”.
If in the case of plagiarism that happened to me the plagiarist had registered my work without having I done it before, and I had no way of proving that the work is mine, perhaps today nobody could continue enjoying using my song with the Creative Commons license.
Q – What difficulties do you think artists and content creators can face today in the digital world?
I think the main difficulty is facing the constant dominance of large companies. It is true that artists can obtain benefit by using the platforms and services that are offered to us on the Internet, but this mutual benefit is not too well balanced, it is always the creators who do much of the work and those who obtain the least.
This has always been a constant struggle. A writer, for example, could get to keep up to only 10% of the profits from the sales of his work. The same thing happens with music, and even today the record labels and distributors abuse copyright. A clear example of this are YouTubers who cannot monetize their own content, they make all the effort and invest all their time so that later most of the money goes unjustly into the pockets of large companies.
And I think that free use licenses like Creative Commons can help many creators to compete with the domain of the greatest here. But I do not want to be misinterpreted, I am not against ” full copyright” (in fact several of my works have “full copyright”), I just think that CC licenses, not reserving all rights, do not allow large companies to appropriate and abuse the exploitation rights of many works.
Q – Patrick, thank you very much for your testimony. We believe that it is important to publicize the practices we can use comfortably when putting our work in value. We summarize it in a few simple steps:
- Always register with Safe Creative before communicating or sharing the work, regardless of the type of declaration of rights.
- In case of conflict, and before acting in any way, collect as much evidence as possible using Safe Stamper.
- Use the official channels of the platforms facilitating the public information of the registration, informative notes, etc. always with respect and stating your right to initiate legal actions if necessary.
- If nothing works, the registration proof will be a fundamental element so that our lawyer can initiate adequate legal actions (although in this case and as in most cases it has not been necessary to go further).
Do you have any experience using Safe Creative or Safe Stamper that you want to share? Let us know!