1) Just what is considered vid
When someone steals your fanvid clips, the first thing you'll hear trotted out to defend the action is that, "You stole from the original source, so you have nothing to complain about!" This is a spurious, silly argument.
Who "Stole" it first is a lame excuse for anything.
So please don't tell me that a vidder is stealing by making vids, therefore it's no different from what you're doing. They've riffed someone else's work -- and stated it openly, giving credit where credit is due. You've riffed someone else's work and presented it as your own, not even giving the name of the person you're riffing.
Let's talk about what's being stolen.
Are clips being stolen? No. We don't own any of the footage that is used in the vid. Neither would any clip-thief.
What's being stolen is credit. The original vidder made edits, put effort into their product, and credited the original show in the bargain. (And yes, editing is work -- that's why film EDITORS are credited separately.) I've never seen a vid that didn't have a comment like "Footage copyright to MGM," or whatnot.
Many of us, who have the power and capabilities of capturing and making these "Clips" in the first place, just aren't slacking off, it's damned hard work, and if you don't know what you're doing, nothing turns out right.
Has any Buffy vidder ever said, "Look at these wonderful characters I created!" Has a "Stargate SG-1" ficcer ever said, "I invented these four people named Jack, Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c, and look at the cool adventures I gave them!"
No. Of course not. We work with other characters, giving credit to their original creators. I owe Double Secret Productions, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Forester credit for creating the characters that I've worked with most recently. And I say it out loud. And if you, clip-thief, are working with someone else's material, then you give credit. Don't you dare try to fob that work off as yours.
Video clip theft is well, the following example. The vidder captures an episode/movie. She shares them openly and freely with anyone who asks. Now 99.9% of the people who use the stuff that's been captured, give something in return, lest it be "thanks for the clips" in their video, on their website, or even via e-mail. What really chaps our ass, is when we'll make a video, spend many hours compiling a montage of clips in a certain order, set for a certain mood, and someone will grab those right out of the video and claim them as their OWN. If they've been altered in any way, the creative process and effort that went into that should at least be credited to those who originally put them together.
Give credit. Tell us where your source is. That's what everyone
I know of maybe three vidders who have that combination of amazing talent, technical skill, obsessive perfectionism, and expensive equipment necessary to pull off flawless edits every time. Everyone else has defects that drive us crazy.
If you just watch vids, you may miss them, but try going over the edits frame by frame and you will see stray frames, stray half frames, rendering glitches, interlacing problems, etc. These are almost impossible to duplicate exactly. If you're watching a vid and something starts to look familiar and you can remember what vid it looks like, you can compare the two of them.
If you find, they are indeed the same edits, it is very easy to tell which one came first by the quality of the footage. It never IMPROVES on successive generations. There may also be more stray frames, etc. in the copy than the original - especially if the plagiarist attempted to add her own "artistry" to the piece.
Another good tip-off? The vidder goes on and on about how much fun she has vidding with iMovie or Windows Media Maker but her vids have all sorts of complex overlays and effects that weren't in the original footage.
It's simple, most videos have tell-tell signs. A horizontal
crawl on some, a certain tape mark a vcr leaves, or identifying logos
like Q13, WB22, etc. For me, if I make a music video, I always have
card" stuffed in there somewhere. Personally, in every video I've
made since my 5th one (going in order) has a Horizontally flipped scene
in it. Usually totally unnoticeable and just about everyone blows over
There are many ways, depends on the level to which you've been burglarized.
Here are some easy ways. Encode to crappy formats that are difficult
to maneuver around, like RM (is the best for all out frustration) WMV
(A pain in the ass) Encode the audio to something obscure and make
people download codecs. Or better yet, encode it to some wonky sampling
rate, that just doesn't match up with other clips. (like 22500 is a
fun one, most do 44100 or 32000) Or do the same with video, screw up
the aspect ratio a little. instead of 320x240 make it 328x240 (you
have have to move in 8x8) or even 320x248 it's just odd enough that
it won't blend with other materials, but is playable, watchable and
enjoyable by all, but doesn't play nice with others. Or, if you use
a good variety of encoding software/editing software, you know that
some formats/codecs don't play well in editing, (Divx 5.02 is easy
on most things) but not for everything.
If you determine that someone has plagiarized a vid, if possible, inform both the original vidder and the thief. It is OK to phrase that first request politely, but firmly. Let her/him know that, what he/she has done is considered a big no-no in vidder fandom and now that he/she has been caught, there are 4 things he/she will have to do.
1. Take the offending vids down from every website they are posted
Steps 2, 3, and 4 should be done publicly. If at all possible, they should be posted to the same websites where the vids used to be. If this is not done, inform the original vidder.
Get bitchy, but try the nice way first. Like,
A) I was at your website today and noticed that you have some video clips that I do believe I put together. I don't mind really if you used them, I just prefer that you ask, or offer some kind of credit to their source with them. Something as simple as "Thanks" for the clips, or a link to my website (where they can find more clips/videos) even some subtle promotion/advertising is always nice. Usually this works, most people don't intentionally STEAL things.
B) If that doesn't work, I go a little more on the
punchy side, and group up my friends and make their lives miserable,
by giving them bad reviews, (it just gets down right petty at times).
If they're doing anything remotely non-MPAA friendly, I turn them in...get
the hound dogs sniffing. Or, I'll find out who their ISP is (usually
a free website holder) and I'll turn them in for breaking the rules.
If these vids are being hosted on a website run by someone other than the plagiarist, let them know. If you are on livejournal, post something to the vidding forum.
Things you should NOT do.
Roach says: I usually go from my group of friends. I have a contact
list of vidders 5-6 pages long. (Single spaced, in Excell, broken into
3-4 columns) If I send out a blanket e-mail about something like this,
believe me, their lives get unhappy.
You can find reasonably decent
clips (like 1-2 mins) on various websites...like their favorite scenes
etc. Just be sure to ask permission first. Kazaa is good, as are any
file sharing networks, but I am more or less against these, and only
hit them as a last resort, (usually filling in holes I can't do any
other way). Besides, they're quickly becoming illegal and more trouble
than it's worth. The best way, is to find people you know have them,
trade quietly over messenger, ICQ, or FTP sites. A close knit group
of friends will produce more than a random anon connection on Kazaa.
A ) always label your videos with simple titles, credit all music and sources. put an e-mail address either in the video, or on the site where the video came from. If you download something, (like say 5 or more clips) from someone, send them a thank you. It's amazing how many results this will provide in future dealings. If someone says "Thanks for making that available to me" by golly, I usually get something up for them fairly quick, just for taking the time to drop an e-mail.
B ) if there is no contact e-mail where you got the video clips from, then credit the website..do everything you can to say "I didn't make the source materials, but I used them, and this is where I got them".
C ) always do the disclaimer. "This is for entertainment purposes
only" even if your purpose is to make money, don't make it outwardly
Stealing clips from other people's music videos is not the only thing we vidders get upset over. Direct-linking to our videos from another site is also becoming a growing problem. This has always been a big problem for those that have images and graphics on their websites but is now becoming common among music videos. Get a clue people, this STEALS OUR BANDWIDTH! Bandwidth is a very coveted commodity for many vidders as our videos can use up a lot so those stealing it from outside sources is doing us serious harm. It also means the vidder is not getting credit where credit is due. When you are just viewing the video and not seeing the site where it comes from the vidder is not getting credit for it. Another no-no is compiling videos from other sites and putting them on CD's to sell. Without permission this is a serious no-no.