Posts Tagged ‘Donald Franzen’

Suggestions for Managing Your Image on YouTube

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

by Edna Landau

To ask a question, please write Ask Edna.

I am grateful to several colleagues who assisted me in preparing my response to the following question: the distinguished entertainment attorney, Donald Franzen, and his associate, Mark Robertson; Jaime Campbell Morton, who is a viral marketing and social networking expert and who founded Artspromo, and Lacey Huszcza, director of advancement at the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and a social media expert in her own right. I encourage our readers to contribute their comments on this subject since I am sure there is considerably more to be said and a good deal to be learned from their own experiences.

Dear Edna:

I have a question that I hope will be of interest to other people as well as myself. I am a 15-year-old aspiring musician and am fortunate to have already had some wonderful opportunities to perform publicly. My question regards what I should do when people in the audience video my performances and then upload them to YouTube without first checking with me to see if this is ok. I am coming to realize that via YouTube, a performance that I give can extend far beyond the four walls of the venue in which I play. I may have been very happy with the performance I gave but the video that I discover on YouTube may be significantly less favorable in quality from the point of view of the recorded sound or visual images. I don’t want to have to track down everyone who posts something without my consent. Is the only other alternative to just sit back and accept that this is a phenomenon of our times? I could take the attitude that many YouTube videos don’t attract attention anyway, but I see that some of mine have generated a good number of comments. I have responded to some, because I don’t want to appear ungracious, but I realize that this might encourage a practice that I’m not sure I want. I am caught between wanting to be cautious about how I am represented in the media but also wanting to express gratitude to a potentially growing fan base. Do you have any suggestions?—Grateful Young Artist

Dear Grateful Young Artist:

In all my years of involvement in the arts, I have never met an artist who wasn’t deeply concerned about how they came across in the media, especially in situations over which they had little or no control. This concern prevails even in the big wide world of YouTube. While most people look at it as a wonderful form of free international publicity, they obviously want it to reflect well on them. In researching this answer, I learned that the Copyright Code does address this issue and considers it a copyright violation to record a live performance without a performer’s consent. However, enforcing this is not a very simple matter. People do have recourse to getting things taken down from YouTube in cases of copyright infringement, subject to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but this doesn’t apply to you since you don’t own the copyrights of the pieces you perform. The simplest thing, which you alluded to, is to contact the person who uploaded the video and ask if they would please remove it. (As you probably know, once you are logged in, you can message people.) There is also the possibility of flagging a video, but this is mostly used in cases that are seriously inappropriate or inflammatory. YouTube reviews flagged videos and if they think they violate their “Community Guidelines,” they will take them down. This, too, is not applicable to your case. It seems to me that everyone who uses YouTube knows that the variety in the quality of the posted videos is quite vast. If a presenter is looking at a performance of yours, they can usually tell whether it was posted by a fan, or whether it is a more professional, accurate representation of how you play. If you have a more professional representation of the same performance that has been posted, you might want to upload it yourself. Another avenue might be to enlist the help of the venue in which you performed to see if they might have recourse to get the video taken down if they feel it is in violation of their stated policy. Backing up a little, you could probably discuss with someone at the venue prior to your future concerts that you would be most appreciative if they could be proactive in discouraging unauthorized recordings of your performance, should they see anyone in action. As for whether to answer the comments you receive, there seems little question that answering will help to encourage more such videos. However, if your objections to the videos aren’t strenuous, your fans will greatly appreciate you taking the time to connect with them and it will make them and their friends like you even more.

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© Edna Landau 2011