A ten-hour long YouTube video consisting of nothing but pure white noise has received five copyright complaints since it was published.
As explained by Torrent Freak, “White noise is the sound created when all different frequencies are combined together into a kind of audio mush that’s a little baffling and yet soothing in the right circumstances. Some people use it to fall asleep a little easier, others to distract their attention away from irritating sounds in the environment, like an aircon system or fan, for example.”
When music technologist Sebastian Tomczak created and uploaded his own ten-hour track of white noise, he was baffled to discover five separate copyright claims against him.
“The white noise video was part of a number of videos I put online at the time. I was interested in listening to continuous sounds of various types, and how our perception of these kinds of sounds and our attention changes over longer periods – e.g. distracted, focused, sleeping, waking, working etc,” declared Tomczak. “I ‘created’ and uploaded the video in question. The video was created by generating a noise waveform of 10 hours length using the freeware software Audacity and the built-in noise generator. The resulting 10-hour audio file was then imported into ScreenFlow, where the text was added and then rendered as one 10-hour video file.”
According to Tomczak, “since July 2015, when the video was first uploaded, a total of five copyright complaints had been filed” against the track.
“Under normal circumstances, Tomczak’s account could have been disabled by YouTube for so many infringements, but in all cases, the copyright holders chose to monetize the musician’s ‘infringement’ instead, via the site’s ContentID system,” Torrent Freak explained. “In other words, after creating the video himself with his own efforts, copyright holders are now taking all the revenue.”
Tomczak claimed that though he doesn’t usually take bogus copyright claims “too seriously,” he has decided to fight this time against YouTube.
“I’ve had quite a few copyright claims against me, usually based on cases where I’ve made long mixes of work, or longer pieces. Usually I don’t take them too seriously,” he proclaimed. “In any of the cases where I think a given claim would be an issue, I would dispute it by saying I could either prove that I have made the work, have the original materials that generated the work, or could show enough of the components included in the work to prove originality. This has always been successful for me and I hope it will be in this case as well.”
However, Tomczak claimed it is far from the first time he has received bizarre copyright sanctions, and even received a copyright against one of his own videos for using a song he created himself.
“I was asked to participate in a video for my workplace and the production team asked if they could use my music and I said ‘no problem’,” Tomczak concluded. “A month later, the video was uploaded to one of our work channels, and then YouTube generated a copyright claim against me for my own music from the work channel.”
In September, a report claimed YouTube’s faulty algorithms, which are being used increasingly to censor and restrict content creators, are killing YouTube.
Several popular YouTube stars and creators have been affected by the platform recently, including Ron Paul, Dave Rubin, TheReportOfTheWeek, and PragerU — who announced they were suing YouTube last October.