Copyright dispute fought and lost

Copyright dispute fought and lost

This past summer I had the pleasure of shooting a Vegas wedding video done up music video style. The clients were good friends of ours and had chosen to remake a wedding video that they’d fallen in love with set to Black Eyed Peas ‘The Time – Dirty Bit’. Normally I’d choose to do something completely original as its hard to top a previously made video but I accepted the job knowing I’d find a way to make it their own.

I set out to give it an original spin by playing up on the bride’s Indian heritage and I remixed the Dirty Bit track adding a swath of Indian instruments and drums, playing the sitar myself and mixing in wonderful tabla tracks. The end product was amazing. We shot the video in both a traditional Indian and Western wedding styles and it was a multicultural success.

Within days of posting on Youtube, I was hit with the expected Copyright Violation from Universal Music Group claiming infringement. I filed the dispute and wrote the following:

I believe that our claim for use of this title in our video is fair use for the following reasons:

  1. 1. Our wedding video is not commercial in any way. This is a simple music video of a wedding and the view count is expected to be well below 5000 views in its lifetime.
  2. The use of this song is clearly transformative as it has been compiled as a remix of the original with new material consisting of Indian sitar and tablas reflecting the Indian heritage of the bride making this a highly celebratory tribute to the original music as a joyful bringing together of eastern and western cultures. There is a strong development of the original into a new ‘multicultural mix’ of the piece. The addition of a clearly multicultural wedding video gives the musical piece a tremendous new vector.
  3. We believe that our use of this piece, which debuted over 4 years ago will not adversely affect its sales but in fact bring more attention to the original artist by promoting their music in new ways. The credit is clearly attributed to the original artists and no intention has been made otherwise.

Almost 30 days passed and I was beginning to think my argument had softened some hearts at UMG and they’d let my not for profit video play without a problem. But no, on the last day they had to reject my free use argument and Youtube took the video down and slapped me with a 6 month restriction of use penalty substantially reducing my well earned video publishing abilities.

Lesson learned. If you don’t have permission from the artist or managing rights company be prepared to receive no love for your project, no matter how not for profit it may be.

PS – I had attempted the same process as above and won the right to use The Beatles song BECAUSE (a capella version) for a wedding video earlier in the year. I always liked the Beatles and have never given any attention to the Black Eyed Peas whatsoever. My loyalties are well founded indeed.

Keep your website up-to-date and secure

Keep your website up-to-date and secure

Many companies are being held to ransom by their web development company. Their websites are hard to maintain and need constant tweaking. This in turn incurs extra fees that could be spent on your business.

You may say: my site runs on WordPress, and it’s easy to maintain. Well to be sure it’s easy to use. But that ease may well come at a cost. WordPress is being updated constantly as it’s relatively easy to hack.

If you aren’t running the very latest version of WordPress then the chances are you are running a version with multiple known vulnerabilities – bugs that criminals can use to gain a foothold on your system.

EnableSecurity’s scan of Alexa’s Top 1,000,000 discovered that 41,106 websites were running WordPress, a little over 4%.

They then determined that of those websites at least 30,823 were running versions of WordPress that have known vulnerabilities.

In conclusion, what you really need is a secure, fast, visually appealing, highly converting, responsive, retargeting web presence that will blow your competitors out of the water.

And while your competitors are still in the stone age, your sales will be going into overdrive and you’ll be cleaning up.

Sounds good? Great!

The question then arises “How do WE get there from where WE am right now?”

Here’s an idea: How to fix them all without wasting your time or going crazy.

My name is Hannu Rauma. I am an IT professional with 15+ experience. From small companies to multinationals turning over billions of dollars, I’ve seen most things.

I own my own design company/private ad agency. I am a web developer, and an innovative marketer as well. I have a team of some of the most amazing experts in the world of retargeting, display ads, social media campaigns, web analytics, SEO, AdWords/Bing/Facebook/ Twitter/LinkedIn advertising, web design and optimization for sales,

WE never lose sight of the fact that this technology is not there for technology’s sake, it’s solely there to GET YOU CUSTOMERS!

We are not your average web guys. We understand business and marketing as well as all the complex technical stuff. We can address every single web issue that affects your ROI.. all the problems the other guys have left you with, some that you may not even have been aware of.

We will be working together to build your business up using the web and reach your income goals.

We want to see you making as much as you want on a continuous, stress-free basis.

We will get together a crack team of web developers and marketing experts to accomplish this for you.

An awesome proactive retargeting web presence, generating customers, making easy sales, and getting paid what you deserve for what you do.

It will be awesome!

To find out more about this opportunity, whether it’s right for you, and whether you meet the criteria..

call me for a free consultation: 1-778-840-9001

Your website NEEDS to look FRESH

Your website NEEDS to look FRESH

Take a look at these sites.

Look at the flat, clean designs, the intuitive navigation, the use of video and color. Images that reach right to the edges of the screen.

These sites are using the latest technologies such as HTML5 and CSS3. These aren’t merely buzzwords but make the difference between your site looking great on all devices (including cell phones and tablets) or a total mess!

Have you checked your web analytics recently? What percentage of your website visitors are arriving on your site using a smartphone or an iPad? Is your site ‘responsive’, resizing itself dynamically and looking great for EVERY user that wants to buy something?

Some sites look great on a PC and terrible on a phone. Most people start their search for local products and services using their phone.

How does YOUR site look? Are a large proportion put off from buying or furthering their interest because your website looks broken? How much lost revenue has that already amounted to?

Your site needs to be quick and active

Your site needs to be quick and active

This covers a lot of issues. If your site is too slow, then it will be penalized by Google according to their PageSpeed algorithm.

That will mean lower rankings for you on the search engine, less visitors and less sales. And even those who reach your site will get impatient and give up if your site is slow.

Enter your website’s URL into this tool tools.pingdom.com/fpt/

What elements are slowing your site down? If there are points of concern, why haven’t your web guys addressed them yet?

There is another way in which your website could be viewed as being lazy, or passive. So many companies we see are running Adwords or Bing PPC campaigns and directing the ads to their home page.

What a waste of money!

Your website needs to be segmented out in the correct way that reflects how your business runs. And when you run PPC ads, the ads need to click through to a specific page that matches the ad copy.

In other words, the user sees your ad, has their interest piqued and then clicks on it. What they see next should ‘continue the story’ – it should further propagate the user’s interest in your product or service.

Again, on these pages there should be a clear call to action so the user is left in no doubt as to what they should do next. There is always a percentage of people who are not sure what to do next. Or their interest isn’t quite high enough yet to take action. Too many websites do NOTHING to cater for this large group of people.

Your website must have live customer support to offer help and advice, and convert a large portion of this group into actual leads who have left contact information. There are lots of third party programs that can add this feature to your site at a very modest cost.

These types of programs will turn more website visitors into actual LEADS. Go back and close these guys, and voila! Just a simple change to your website has increased your sales significantly.

Alternatively, you can have your website actively reaching out to people and building an invaluable database of leads by promoting a compelling free offer.

An offer is a free giveaway or download that will compel your prospects to give their information to you in return for the download.

To make your offer, take your answers from questions 4 and 5 above, and write a short report around that. When you can put that into words, you’ll know exactly what to offer.

We’ve put together some example headlines you might use in the Financial Planning niche:

  • 5 Ways to Avoid the College Debt Trap
  • How to Save for Retirement in a Down Economy
  • 3 New Tax Tricks for 2015 that Will Boost Your Savings

All you’re doing is taking your clients’ most likely frustrations and aspirations and making them into a free download. You most likely only need to do this once, and then you’re set!

Of course, you can create as many reports as you’d like for different markets. These reports only have to be 4-5 pages, max. The purpose is to position you as the expert in your field.

This report should be a PDF file for easy reading and downloading.

Promote it using Facebook ads or similar and you’ll get a lot of leads.

Ask yourself:

Has my website got a high converting page solely dedicated to doing just this?

Is it integrated with my autoresponder and CRM software so WE can follow up and close the deal within minutes?

Did my web designer really understand my business to enable me to work more efficiently in this way?

If you answer no to any of these questions, then your website is not assisting you to reach your goals. It is just in the way and is something to be managed. You need to turn it around into a tool that is working for you day and night.

Your website must be designed.. for YOU

Your website must be designed.. for YOU

With over 500 websites created every minute – or 720,000 each day – it pays to understand what is really going on out there so you don’t waste your money and time with even the most well intentioned designer who doesn’t understand your business.. or theirs.

5 Must Do’s for success online..

In this short report we’re going to show you exactly how many websites are failing over and over and again in their main purpose: to be your shop window on the Internet and make you money. If your web guys have left you in this situation, don’t worry! We’re going to highlight one by one what they are and what you need to fix them and stop losing money every day, and become more profitable in 5 steps.

Must Do #1. Your Website must be designed for YOU

First, a little exercise. Before we can start to see if your website is doing its job, we need to determine your target market. To do that, take a few minutes and write down answers to these questions.

  1. Who are your customers? (General demographics)
  2. What are their goals? (External)
  3. What are the biggest problems they’re facing?
  4. 7-10 Biggest fears and frustrations?
  5. 7-10 Biggest wants and aspirations?

Now here’s the thing your web designer should have done when he or she sat down with you.

When your potential customers arrive on your site, does the design address the above? Are there clear calls-to-action directing your users to what you want them to do? This could be to leave contact details, or call a phone number for example.

Time and time again we see poor design where the user is not entirely clear what he or she needs to do next. If the user has to do any unnecessary scrolling or click through to another page, then you have already lost 20%-40% sales right off the bat.

People lose interest quickly and good design stops that from happening.

Note that good design isn’t the same as pretty design. Many pretty designs have been created by web companies with no concept of marketing. Good design leads your target customer to a goal. And that’s where your sales come from.

Is your current website maximizing every opportunity to make sales? If it’s not, then you’re leaving money on the table and someone else is picking it up.

Next: Must Do # 2. Your site needs to be quick and active (not lazy)

How We Made a Music Video with a $150 Camera

How We Made a Music Video with a $150 Camera

We made a music video to cultureDef’s song Broken with the Kodak Z3X Playsport camera ($150). The video we made looks as good as many music videos out there shot with cameras costing twenty times a much, or more. With a team of very creative and talented people we wrote a script, found the locations, shot some great performances and edited the whole thing… for under $500. So, if you’re a band or a performer in any field, and you want to make a great video without spending a lot of cash, then read on and see how we were able to make it happen.

When I first picked up the Playsport I was thinking it would be a great ‘toy’ to carry around and capture whatever fun or strange thing I would come across. I like to make experimental videos to mess around with and put to music, so I was looking forward to trying it out in all kinds of situations. I was excited by the fact that something as small as my cellphone could shoot at 1080p HD, so I planned to attach it to the bumpers of cars, or at the end of a rope I’d swing wildly, you know, that kind of thing. I was piqued by the fact that it could shoot underwater and also by that it could capture at 720p 60fps (frames per second) for some cool slo-mo. After a weekend of random video capture, I uploaded the footage onto my PC and was really surprised by the quality shots the camera could capture. The HD was sharp and colorful, low-light looked good and bright light looked amazing. The gears in my head started turning…

I brought the camera with me to my band’s rehearsals and gigs to document our performances and each time I looked at the footage I was totally impressed by how well the camera held up. I’d strap it to my guitar headstock, or Velcro it to my bassist’s shoulder and got the coolest shots from angles I’d never seen done before. Then it dawned on me… we could use the Playsport to make a full production music video. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to show people how it’s possible to make a high-style music video on a $150 camera?

To get the ball rolling, I propositioned Kodak by email describing our idea and I received an enthusiastic reply. They sent us some cameras and basically said, “Show us what you can do”. On top of the music video, Kodak requested us to make a behind the scenes video to document our process. (See the Making of Broken).

With Kodak’s support behind me, the team came together quickly. I contacted the 2 video directors I know, Rory Blanchard and Silvia Albertini, and told them the idea and they immediately recognized the opportunity. With Rory taking the job of directing the music video and Silvia the documentary, we started writing scripts and assembling our crew. Casey Bramall came on as our D.O.P. He took the Playsport through a series of tests and came back with all good news: the camera would be able to deliver in a wide variety of settings. Knowing that, our script would include slow motion scenes, some underwater scenes, lots of low light atmospheric scenes… we basically threw in everything that would challenge any camera. We brought in Francis Slzachcic as our VFX person to create some CGI effects, as our script called for a 180 degree bullet time shot that we would use to have the lead singer break into a thousand pieces at the end of the song. A song called ‘Broken’, after all.

Our music video crew consisted of the director, director of photography, assistant director, makeup artist, grips and lighting techs, and the band cultureDef. The crew for the documentary consisted of the director and a cameraman. Our first day of the shoot was in an old Victorian mansion built in 1880, and had survived all those years without many upgrades. The power was barely adequate and the lighting wasn’t much better. The scenes we shot that day consisted of indoor shots of the Zufo (lead singer) at the piano, Zufo plunging his head underwater in a large bathtub, fight scenes between Zufo and Justine (love interest),  and shots of the band members playing outside the house, in the rain, at night. We mounted the Playsport on all kinds of tripods and steadycams and it held up well in all conditions. Casey (D.O.P.) had brought a truckload of lights but ended up using less than half because of how well the camera could work in low-light conditions. The documentary team made sure everything was captured in action, as it happened.

Our next location was at a nightclub to film the band playing to a live audience. Again, the shooting conditions were less than perfect. The lighting was typical for a club, very bright in spots and very dim everywhere else. We used a hazer to give the rook the right atmosphere with a layer of smoke in the air.  We shot many scenes in the 720p 60fps mode with the band playing the song at double speed so that in post we could slow it back down to normal speed to achieve the slow motion shots we were after, and in these challenging conditions the camera performed superbly.

Our final scene took place in Justine’s pool. We went late at night with only Zufo, Justine, and Rory so that we wouldn’t alarm anyone with a large crew (sparing us the need to ask for permission). Zufo and Justine jumped into the pool fully clothed while Rory leaned over the edge and held the camera underwater to get the shot. The result was the beautiful dreamlike scenes in the video.

We are very happy with what we got in the end. Both videos, Broken and the Making of Broken show how a team of passionate and dedicated people can make a compelling music video with a good song, creative film making, and a $150 video camera. We are very pleased with what we got out of the Kodak Z3X Playsport camera, and we hope you will be too.

Credits:

Vocals/Guitar: Zufo
Bass: Shafer Carson
Drums: Mike Horntvedt
Website: zufo.org

Broken – the music video

Director: Rory Blanchard (link)
Director of Photography: Casey Bramall (link)
Video FX: Francis Slzachcic (link)
Script: Zufo & Rory Blanchard
Female Lead: Justine Warrington (link)
Assistant Director: Shahnee Zaver
Makeup Artist: Tiffany Sigurnjak
Tech: Kevin Rigney
Tech: Devlin (?)
Producer: Zufo (link)

The Making of Broken
Director: Silvia Albertini (link)
Script: Silvia Albertini
Camera: Francis Slzachcic
Producer: Zufo

Broken
Written by Zufo
published by Write Songs –Will Travel. © copyright 2005-2015