As the Figure Skating season kicks off, many fans have taken to YouTube to relive some of the best skating programs that they love. From Mariah Bells’ Titanic free skate last season to the performance that catapulted Spanish figure skater, Javier Fernandez’s in 2010 to the tune of the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack.
However, fans were disappointed to learn that some YouTube programs were muted. The skating routine was intact but there was no music.
Such is the case of France’s figure skating dance partners, Natalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat. In 2012, they skated their exhibition gala routine to the tune of “The Time of my Life” from the 80’s Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Their routine was remixed with the new version of The Black-Eyed Peas’ variation of the song. The French duo revived their program at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
Yet, when fans played the video on YouTube, instead of seeing the program to the tune of the music, the entire program was muted with a message that reads:
This video previously contained a copyrighted audio track. Due to a claim by a copyright holder, the audio track has been muted.
Thanks to YouTube and the supposed copyright violation, many fans are left disappointed at reliving the magical program that they have come to love.
In recent years, since Google acquired YouTube, they have increasingly blocked videos that many fans have uploaded for sheer enjoyment, educational purposes and review, none of it for profit, under the pretext of copyright infringement. Does this mean that figure skating fans can no longer upload their favorite videos, exercising the Fair Use Act?
Recently, it seems that figure skating fans are being penalized for listening to songs or music that is deemed “copyright” even though it is part of the original figure skating program.
According to Ad Week’s Social Times the Fair Use Act states the following with regard to background music in a video:
Have you ever shot a video at an event or place where there was copyright music or a band playing in the background? The incidental capture of copyrighted music in the background is considered fair use.
This is not the first time that YouTube has muted music or taken down videos due to apparent copyright violation. In 2007, YouTube, at the request of Universal Music Corp., took down a 29-second clip of a dancing baby because the hardly audible music playing in the background was Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”. Lentz contacted the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit organization who managed to restore the video that was taken down by YouTube. They eventually took on her case against Universal Music Corp.
The case, Lentz vs. Universal Music Corp., also known as the “dancing baby” has taken eight long years to come to its latest resolution. On September 14th, 2015, the courts reprimanded Universal for not reviewing the content in “good faith” before the DMCA take down notice.
Universal Music Corp. is the parent company of Interscope Records, the label under which the Black Eyed Peas’ version of “The Time of My Life” known as “The Time (Dirty Bit)” was distributed. The original Dirty Dancing soundtrack was released under the RCA label, whose parent company is Sony Music Corp. Those songs were part of the figure skating exhibition program that was muted for apparent copyright infringement.
It is evident that a subjective good faith determination was not exercised in this instance as well, as figure skating programs are protected under the Fair Use Act.