In the online hula hoop community, we like to upload videos to Facebook and Instagram of ourselves hula hooping to or favourite music. I have posted many of myself and other hoopers on my website www.hoopsrock.com Why do we do this? We upload because we like to share our practice, get feedback, share our failures and successes, and we gain inspiration and support from each other. And we love to watch hooping videos! Many of us play music while we hoop and it is in the background of the vidoes we upload.
So recently hoopers started reporting that when they tried to upload a video either to directly to Facebook, or to Facebook via Instagram, they got a message from Facebook saying that they were not allowed to post it due to copyrighted music playing. It also said that if we had permission to use the music we may be able to upload after all.
If a user makes repeated attempts to upload videos with copyrighted music in the background, it results in a ban on posting an videos for however long Facebook deems appropriate. (I am currently on a ban myself).
In the message from Facebook that you get when they block you posting, if you click the ‘how do I know if I have permission’ link it says that you may be able to post the video if you have permission, or if the song is not the main focus of the video. There is even a ‘post anyway’ button. Hoopers would think ‘Awesome! The song is NOT the main focus!’ However, Facebook do not agree. Further attempts to post have resulted in a ban.
And even when I have had permission from the artist to use their song for a hooping video, (The video above, featuring Bella Belle by the Electric Swing Circus, available here on iTunes) I have still not been able to click on the ‘post anyway’ button, it has been disabled. Further attempts to post have resulted in a ban.
And there have even been reports of being banned when trying to upload a video with Creative Commons music, that anyone is allowed to use on a project.
There are, you can imagine, a lot of disgruntled hoopers complaining, me included, as we have been so used to being able to hoop and share without a second thought. And one of the great things about watching other people’s hooping videos is getting to hear new music you may have never been exposed to otherwise. However, Facebook are doing the right thing from the point of view of the artist. However the glitches where we are not allowed to upload videos that do not violate their copyright policy are another matter!
The artist who owns the rights to the music deserves to be paid for what they do. If people want to use their hard work for free, it is not fair on the artist. Crediting them in your Facebook post so that they get exposure for their song doesn’t pay the bills – as the saying goes, ‘people can die from exposure!’ You wouldn’t use a photograph without the photographer’s permission – if you did, you could be sued if you didn’t pay up when they invoice you– so why use the music that someone created without permission?
What can you do about this if you have a burning desire to post videos? (Me!)
Upload without music (using a video editing app such as iMovie or Movie Maker to remove the soundtrack ) and share a Spotify or iTunes link to the song in your post so that people can listen to the song.
Use a video editing app to remove the soundtrack, and then add a Creative Commons soundtrack that you can use for free (see my links at the end of the article for a list of websites). You may still be prevented uploading occasionally.
If you want to keep the copyrighted music, upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo and post a link to this on Facebook. Many hoopers don’t like doing this, as without autoplay it results in far fewer views - people don’t usually click on external links to watch a video any more, they just scroll on by.
Sign this petition to protest the ban on copyright violations to Facebook.
Why is it hula hooping music important anyway?
Music and hula hooping are the perfect partners. Hooping in silence is a different experience – good in its own way, but with music is so much fun. I personally hope that Facebook will decide that as music isn’t main focus of our hooping videos , they will allow us to continue posting in the future.
Until then, I will enjoy myself by finding the cheesiest or most inappropriate music for my videos that I can from opensource material, and uploading with this.