Grouper Just Says "No" To Kenny G

Grouper, which won the acquisition lottery last year and is now part of Sony, is beginning to take down user videos with copyrighted content.

The Grouper blog post discussing the policy says music from Universal is being taken down starting immediately (see our coverage of the Universal lawsuit against Grouper). Grouper is using Audible Magic’s sniffing software to find the offending videos, and warned users of the change last month.

It looks like the removals aren’t limited just to videos containing Universal music, either. Robert Mowery, a Grouper user, forwarded a take down email today involving a certain Kenny G song, Midnight Motion. Kenny G’s label is Arista, a subsidiary of Sony and a sister company to Grouper. This comes just after recent news that Sony was softening their stance on this kind of thing.

He writes “The video they mention here was set up as Private view only for family and friends, so it is not even on mainstream. Second, my wife and I put the family video together and used one of the Kenny G CD’s that I had bought for her to pull music for the video. So, not only did I use purchased music – it was for private viewing.”

Here’s the email from Grouper:

TOS Violation Notice

Dear Grouper User,

This is to notify you that we have not allowed the following video clip to be posted on because the audio portion of the content appears to be unauthorized by the copyright holder:

Title: The Kids Enjoying Summer in July 2006
Description: Liam, Jacob, and Madison enjoying summer moments of Liam’s birthday, swimming lessons, and Madison’s Christening.
Video ID: 1436087
Artist: Kenny G
Song Title: Midnight Motion
Record Label: Arista Contemporary

Please Note: Repeat incidents of uploading material alleged to infringe a copyright will result, at our discretion, in the deactivation of your account and all videos uploaded to that account. In order to avoid this, please delete any video to which you do not own the right, and refrain from uploading additional videos that infringe on the copyrights of others. For more information about Grouper copyright policy, please read section (3) of our Terms of Service agreement (TOS).

If you believe this video was removed or disabled in error and the video does not violate anyone else’s rights (including rights in the audio portion of the video), please provide a written communication showing that you are the copyright owner or are otherwise authorized by the copyright owner to make this restoration request, including:

Your physical or electronic signature

Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location at which the material appeared before it was removed or access to it was disabled.

A statement under penalty of perjury that (1) you have a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of error and your posting of the material does not violate anyone else’s rights and (2) you are the copyright owner or are authorized by the copyright owner to upload this material.

This written communication should be sent to:

Copyright Violations
Grouper Networks
475 Gate 5 Road, Ste. 255
Sausalito, CA 94965

Or email:

By submitting this written communication, you acknowledge and agree that we may forward the written communication and other communications with you to third parties for verification.

We will investigate your claim as quickly as possible.

The Grouper Team

Personally, I wouldn’t mind other video and music sites taking a similar stand again the inclusion of Kenny G music in user generated content.