Copyright, Copywrong?


Copyright, Copywrong?

*** Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and I don’t claim to know the law. The following is just my personal experience in one area of copyright… Reader discretion is advised! ***

How is a major record label making money off of my song?

Well, if you do parodies, sooner or later someone’s gonna notice and claim copyright.

For me, that happened with a parody I did of Brad Paisley’s “Mr. Policeman”, and posted it on YouTube. Ironically, my parody is about Legal Disclaimers:

Copyright is a thorny issue, to be sure. I can understand both sides.

As an artist, I’d want to make sure that any of my original work was rightly attributed to me, and that any profits made from such work found their way back to my pocket.

But as a comedian, heck, everything should be fair game, right?

Well, kinda sorta.

Here’s what happened:

Shortly after I posted the above video, YouTube flagged it with “Matched third party content“, and I was given the opportunity to dispute the copyright holder’s claim.
I submitted my dispute with one of their stock answers – it’s a parody of their song, not the original. So… as a parody it should be protected as free speech.

Or not.

Strange as it sounds, they ruled against me – but they left the video in place.

Huh? Why would they do that?

Well, in a word: MONEY!

Since their copyright claim was considered valid, rather than take down my video they chose to monetize it.

That’s right.

They put ads on my parody video and the money goes to them.

YouTube Copyright Screen

Ok. Since I wasn’t making money off it anyway, where’s the harm?

Maybe only comedy was hurt.

Or maybe free speech is the victim.

I still have the choice to dispute again, but then they may take the song down all together. And I’d like it to stay up, even if they are the only ones making money from it.

Either way it’s fine with me. (that’s my personal philosophy and it gets me out of a lot of mental jams)

So, to WAMA Inc., The Harry Fox Agency Inc., and Sony ATV Publishing… I say “Enjoy! Have a latte on me.”

I’m moving on to the next thing.

Adapt, Adopt, and Improve!


All content written and voiced by Joe J Thomas online at:



4 thoughts on “Copyright, Copywrong?

  1. They totally suck. Maybe repost on Funny or Die, etc. instead.

    And follow-up with this agency to see about representing you on future productions . . . perhaps “E.V.I.L.”

  2. Magnanimous,Joe! You really do not have to stoop to their level and lose your energy over that crap. Very enlightening.
    I just received this from a friend as a matter of interest and it is in someway connected. Thought you’d be interested. :-
    Actors, comedians, singers, musicians, you all need to know about Sound Exchange, what they do (get you money) and how they work and you need to register with them. Doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or not, if you’ve done work that’s being played somewhere on the radio, (read below for more info) you may have money coming to you.

    SE is not a union it is an organization whose only purpose is collecting the money owed you and making sure it gets to you.

    They also cover producers.

    Like it or not, you are part of a business and even if you offer most of your stuff for free if someone else is playing it somewhere you may well be missing out on pay. Read below, yes, it talks about musicians but it covers actors in audio drama and comedians and others.

    Beyond that, ask me no questions, do your own research, I don’t have all the answers.


    “Last week, SoundExchange President and CEO Michael Huppe and a diverse coalition of music creators gathered in New York to stand with Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) as they announced the introduction of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015. This bill, H.R. 1733, is a monumental and long overdue piece of legislation that would repair some of the most glaring inequities in our copyright laws that keep music creators from being fairly paid for their work.

    If passed, the law would:
    Require AM/FM radio broadcasters to pay royalties for the music they use to make billions of dollars;
    Require all radio services – terrestrial, satellite, internet & cable – to pay royalties to music creators under a FAIR MARKET value standard; and
    Ensure that artists who recorded music before 1972 are also paid the royalties they deserve.
    Our guiding principle is that all creators should receive fair pay, on all platforms and technologies, whenever their music is used. Period. This bill hits the nail on the head. We encourage all music creators and music lovers to tell Congress to stand up for fair pay for music creators.”

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