Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 6.21.2019
Yes, it’s Friday, meaning it’s time for another Dr Frank Weakly Reader, that thing I do where I make my own index of the week’s activity, adding illustrations, notes, and further commentary as appropriate. It’s one of those “if I don’t do it no one will” situations in which I find myself so often. It’s mainly so I have a way to locate my own posts in future after they disappear into social media’s great big black hole, but it also functions as a kind of newsletter, I suppose.
In this edition, there’s quite a lot of extra commentary, owing to the Dr Frank v. Warner Chappell affair (see below.) And because of all this “Here She Comes” talk, and because I need a drink right about now, I’ve illustrated this one with Lookout’s old Revenge Is Sweet and So Are You promo postcard. It’s a Chris Appelgren design, of course, and is basically a postcard layout of the elements of the back cover of the “…and I Will be with You” 7". The photos were taken by Julie Green and Chris put them in cocktail glasses.
There’s a champagne cocktail recipe of a sort on the back. Not my kind of drink, but it’s cute. (I’m a Scotch and soda man, mostly — pretty much like what I’m standing in in the picture now that I’m thinking of it.) This 7" is one of my favorite Appelgren designs, but then, I’ve got a lot of favorites to choose from.
I’m not sure if anyone else does this, but I’ve abbreviated the title of the album so often in my head and in typing that somewhere along the line I’ve started to pronounce the acronym: riss-AY-say. Doing this shaves valuable seconds off my day. Try it some time.
And now, let us review The Weak that Was….
— Sounds Rad’s imminent limited edition summer shirt pop up of that classic 1995 poster mentioned last week is going up for pre-order beginning June 26. (See, I said “details to follow,” and here they are, or some of them at least.)
You can vote here on whether you’d prefer black, white (or both.) Who will win? I don’t know.
— This week’s Song for Odin™: The Mr T Experience — “Swiss Army Girlfriend” live in Toronto, October 5, 1997. Video on YouTube. There’s a rather extensive “minor secrets” write-up here. If you like this sort of thing, I’d encourage you to support my YouTube channel by subscribing and liking and commenting on everything. Thank you in advance.
— The Mr T Experience: Minor Secrets of Songs for Odin Part XVI: the latest edited, augmented, illustrated, aggregated Song for Odin™ collection. Post on Medium.
— Vinyl Surfers Love… Is Dead. Just a real nice picture from the Vinyl Surfers Instagram.
— “…this was pop-punk’s golden age and one of its central components was Dr. Frank’s unique songwriting ability and way with words…” Kind sentiments about Love Is Dead from this “Keep Track of the Time” post.
— MTX Shards vol 1: Sounds Rad has announced that the second pressing (on split white/turquoise vinyl this time) is due to arrive the week of July 8.
— The Mr T Experience? Nein Danke! Brian got his package.
— MTX photo, in the Manor House Annex closet ca 1990. One of those throwback Thursday type deals.
— Raise ’em right: Mtx forever!
— …and your Friday morning Mr T Experience cover band playing the Rock N Roll Camp for Girls benefit show at Uncle Lou’s in Orlando, Florida. They’re doing “Sackcloth and Ashes,” “Swallow Everything,” and “Thank You (for not Being One of Them)”.
(I looked around for a “Here She Comes” cover to fit this week’s theme but could only find ones I’ve recently posted: this one by Josh Goodman on ukulele, and this one from the Steinways. You can watch them again if you like.)
FROM THE DESK OF: DR FRANK
— Dr Frank vs. Warner Chappell: the publishing arm of Warner Bros. along with the notorious ABKCO, have filed a claim on YouTube asserting ownership of my song “Here She Comes.” They think my song is the same as a soul song of the same name controlled by them.
It is quite obviously not the same song. I’m sure this is all automated, but my case has been clearly expressed with copious documentation in my disputes and appeals and I have no doubt it’ll eventually go my way: I’m right and they’re wrong.
(One strange thing though: it seems pretty clear that this claim is based on the title alone, which is not legitimate — no one owns the words “here,” “she,” and “comes,” and there are hundreds if not thousands of songs with that title out there. That’s a terrible way to conduct this business, but I’ve been noticing it more and more even in the more benign situations. But there’s also some indication that the “content ID” system. which is allegedly based on a sonic scan of the audio, is also involved. It’s hard to get to the bottom of that. But if it’s true, that’s not a good sign as to Content ID’s reliability. There’s no conceivable way in which those two recordings are remotely similar beyond the title.)
This copyright claim thing happens from time to time on my channel, and in every case so far till now, all I had to do was dispute the claim and produce my documentation, whereupon someone at the label or publisher who lodged the claim reviews it and immediately releases it. These folks, however, have doubled down and are pressing the erroneous claim far further than anyone else ever has with me. It’s like trying to quit Comcast: they make it so unpleasant for you that you just give up, and that appears to be a deliberate business strategy. One thing I’ve learned from following the process this far for the first time is that YouTube’s policy gives all the benefit of the doubt to the complainant (them) and presumes the target (me) to be guilty of copyright infringement just because of being accused. And they leave it to the complainant to decide whether or not the appeal in response has merit. That’s a crazy system. The fox is guarding the henhouse.
Anyway, I assume at some point some human will look at the evidence and decide in my favor, but it’s not spelled out when that will happen. And maybe it won’t at that. I’ve learned not to assume that that the logical, commonsensical thing will happen in such situations. It is a world of robots, after all.
But of course, I could just as easily and with just as much merit claim their song as mine. I have exactly as much claim on theirs as they have on mine. Of course, while that might be funny, I won’t do it because I’m sure I won’t fare as well as Warner Bros. in that match-up. YouTube will summarily delete my channel and send WMG a bouquet of carnations, more like. Seriously though, unless it’s some big screw-up, it really seems as though Warner Chappell and ABKCO are abusing the system and deliberately acting fraudulently. And if it is just a screw-up, they still owe me an apology.
To judge from the rhetoric in the explanatory text in YouTube’s various screens, the system seems to have been set up mainly to address video “creators” who use unauthorized music in their videos. But of course, it can work the other way, and to judge from googling around the internet unscrupulous copyright claimants, tacitly aided and abetted by YouTube, have been doing just that, claiming other peoples’ intellectual property as their own, hijacking it, running ads on it, and taking all the money, on the assumption that most people won’t bother to pursue it, especially since the YouTube system is biased against the victim and is so difficult to understand and navigate. I’ve heard these “copyright trolls” have gotten increasingly aggressive, and that certainly has been my experience with regard to this one case at least.
I’m rather curious to see how it all goes. This incident brings up other issues concerning songwriters and publishers on YouTube that I may write about in a future post. People like me fall through the cracks in the system, which really wasn’t designed to remunerate individual writers, even when their work is used and funds generated by it is collected by others. More on that later.
In the meantime, I’ve had some “fun” with it. Here’s the video on which the copyright claim was filed:
And, in case they miss it, here’s yet another:
(The “minor secrets” write-up on that one is pretty good.)
I’m going to start including the full copyright, publishing, and release history of every song in the video description. Not that that will defeat the robots, but at least I’ll be able to respond by cutting and pasting.
Finally, here’s an interesting essay on combatting copyright trolls on YouTube. Sounds exhausting!
— Some questions about the minds.com E-tag and fine art. No answers yet.
— “OMG OMG! I’m on dr frank’s website!” said Dina on June 20, 2008, in reference to this blog post. She made her own shirt because we didn’t make ’em small enough. I’ve always liked it.
OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC
— Good morning world: The Eyes — “TAQN”
— and finally, Happy Flag Day:
IN THE NEWS
— That Oberlin defamation verdict: this is the clearest explication of the issues involved in this case that I’ve seen. My comments are here. I think the right party lost, but I’m still not sure I’d categorize it beyond equivocation as defamation, and I think there are free speech implications.
— Hey, wait, this wasn’t supposed to happen! To absolutely no one’s surprise but his, this avid proponent of internet deplatforming gets deplatformed himself. So, when you try to hit the bad people with the crude sledge-hammer of censorship on the bad people, you end up hitting the good people as well? When will they ever learn?
— Franco Zeffirelli died, so I posted a photo of him directing Romeo and Juliet.
— Gloria Vanderbilt died. Pic here.
And finally, for those of you who made it this far down the page, here’s Barbara Eden in a swimsuit:
See you next week.