Universal Music Group Seemingly Thinks It Owns the Copyright for the Moon

Universal Music Group has bizarrely started to copyright strike videos that contain the Moon. You know, the huge celestial object that sits in the sky and is visible to almost anyone — that moon. Copyright strikes from UMG have essentially become a meme in the last decades; however, this one definitely takes the cake. 

Director and filmmaker Phillip Bloom recently filmed a clip of the moon with his Sony a1 camera. The clip was then uploaded to social media, at which point it was blocked due to a copyright strike from UMG. UMG has claimed this video violates its copyright despite the fact that it contains no music and no audio. 

Bloom stated in a recent tweet: "When you film the moon tonight, post it on Facebook and it gets blocked by UMG for copyright infringement."

The copyright dispute claims that Blooms' video matches a 30-second clip owned by UMG. This is frustrating because a simple video of a moon can be claimed and blocked by UMG for about a week, and there are no phone numbers or email addresses available for appeal. This could be a simple error in the algorithm; however, these errors have very real consequences.

Companies such as UMG have consistently overstepped when it comes to copyright strikes against the creative industry. It's clear that the current system is deeply flawed and needs significant improvement. 

Usman Dawood's picture

Usman Dawood is a professional architectural photographer based in the UK.

Log in or register to post comments

And I thought the Moon belongs to Donald Trump and US Spaceforce

I can understand the strikes.

If someone records a common object in the same way that someone else has recorded it, then one is, unwittingly, copying the method and look that the first entity used.

If you want to video record the moon and not have the video taken down, then you should record it in a way that is significantly different than the UMG video was filmed. Use a different focal length (angle of view), place the moon in a different part of the frame, don't zoom in tight if that's what UMG did, use a significantly different white balance, etc.

In other words, if people made their moon videos look a lot different than the UMG moon video, then their videos would not get copyright strikes against them. People should strive to be unique and to produce content that isn't so similar to content that other people have already produced.

Go ahead, Black Z Eddie - shoot me down and say something insulting to me; I am prepared for that.

I would note that the video that UMG is claiming rights to is a profoundly generic view that covers so many peoples generic efforts. I think that in court this would be seen as an overly broad claim with scant claim to novelty. The real problem is that it takes a dedicated person with resources to challenge this in court.

Indy Thomas wrote,

"I would note that the video that UMG is claiming rights to is a profoundly generic view that covers so many peoples generic efforts."

Oh, okay. I see. I had originally thought that UMG was only striking against moon videos that were similar to their own moon video. If they are indeed issuing strikes against any and all moon videos, even those that have a totally different look and feel to them, then that is completely wrong, and I would be against such strikes.

Seriously? I dont mean UMG, I mean the idiot who claims that is what is happening or the author of the post.

When you upload a video, the computer algorithm compares it with other videos. If it finds one that looks really similar, it cant tell them apart because FB's algorithm is terrible and has been for a long time. If the other video has a copyright on it, it flags it.

UMG uploaded their video, which they created and they have copyrighted it. They aren't copyrighting the moon, just their video, just as all of us do with our own stuff.

FB says the video looks like another one. So you say no it isn't, and a day or two later, FB will get around to unblocking it. UMG has nothing to do with the flag or anything else. If I was them, I'd have their lawyers give you a call for libel.

SMH. Doesn't anyone approve this crap before it gets posted? It isn't even fake news, it's just fake.

Can you provide some documentation that shows that what you describe is happening is really what is happening? I mean, just because something makes sense that it would be happening a certain way doesn't mean that it is actually happening that way.

If you have a link to some source that says that it is actually FB's algorithm that is striking the video, and not UMG's algorithm that is striking the video, I would really like to go to that link and read it for myself.

What you say makes sense to me, but how can I be absolutely sure that it is what is actually happening?

Lots of things that make sense aren't true at all, and lots of things that make no sense at all are totally true. That is why I would like to read it from a well known, trusted source.

You’re basically saying it’s ok for companies to do this.

No, Usman, Paul was saying that UMG is NOT doing this. That it is done automatically and unintentionally by Facebook's algorithm. He is saying that UMG has nothing to do with these strikes - that they are not requesting them. And I tend to agree with him, based on what I know of how content is normally flagged by large entities like FB, YT, etc.

Your article may be misleading because it leads the readers to think that UMG is asking for these moon videos to be taken down, and claiming that they are a copyright infringement. If you read Paul's comment carefully, you would understand that that is not at all what is happening.

Law is legitimately complex, Usman; unlike photography, you actually do need to go to university to obtain a basic level of comprehension.

Do you have a degree in law, and maybe some time in professional practice (specifically in copyright law)?

Maybe you should cut the snark.

With the greatest of respect, what are you on about?

This isn’t a discussion about copyright law.

Do you ever read your responses and reflect upon how stupid they sound?

Don't bother responding.

What!!? This is bonkers 😅