Yes, I know I have never posted on the forums here, despite being a member for many years, but this is a rather important landmark in the history of AMV's, and certainly in the history of the org.
First of all, I think every member of this org, be it creator or fan, owes a HUGE debt of gratitude to Phade, not only for having the courage to deal with a situation where he could have been legally eaten alive, but for representing all of our interests in the best possible way, and minimizing what could have been catastrophic damage to the org.
One of the most important things Phade did was demonstrate good faith. Not only did he immediately agree to remove all links to videos using songs by the three bands in question, but he also included listings that misspelled those bands' names. As a representative of the AMV community, Phade has shown that when confronted with lawyers, we're not going to bitch or threaten boycotts. We're going to do the right thing, not just because we have to legally, but because it sets a positive example, so lawyers will be much less likely in the future to bring out the big guns early on, like the way the RIAA randomly sued people for downloading music.
Let's be clear here. Every video creator knew this day would come eventually. Even though none of us make any money from making AMV's, what we do is still illegal, and any creator who thinks otherwise is deluding him or herself. Rozard presented the possibility that AMV's are covered by fair use. If he's referring to the "adaptation" clause of the fair use act, that only would only cover the video portion, since we "adapt" the anime to "fit" the song. However, the song is not modified enough to meet the definition of adaptation, so we are still using music illegally. It's very telling that a record company filed the cease and desist, not any anime copyright holders. Be that as it may, do any of us have the resources to fight the army of legal eagles these record companies can afford?
Honestly, have any of us been kidding ourselves into thinking that AMV's are part of some vast underground so secret that no one in the entertainment industry is aware of its existence? Anime conventions have had music video contests for years, and as the number of conventions and attendees has grown, the less likely it has become that the industry is blissfully unaware of what we've been doing. Who sponsors the attendance of J-Pop artists at conventions? I've seen DreamWorks and Disney booths at some conventions. Do these industry reps spend their down time in their suites eating shrimp cocktail from room service? Of course not. They're there to see what the anime fan likes, and they cannot possibly be blind to the crowds that form around AMV screenings. With this kind of penetration into what is no longer a "niche" market, it's pretty obvious that the industry is well aware of our actions. I don't think it's a coincidence that Disney started using Right Said Fred's "Don't Talk Just Kiss" in promos for "Dharma and Greg" mere months after Anna Exter won AX 1997 for her video using the same song.
It is important to note that these record company lawyers only acted because someone believed that the band was somehow responsible for the videos posted here. Not being a lawyer, I am not sure how this misconception classifies as an actionable violation of copyright. It may have something to do with the record companies also owning the rights to the music videos made to the songs they own. When someone asks them if the videos on the org were made by the band, this establishes the possibility that any videos on the org might be misconstrued as having originated from the record company. If the company does nothing to stop the dissemination of videos that could be mistaken for legitimate videos, then by their inaction they "legitimize" these videos. It's just a theory, but whatever the case, I'm certain that these lawyers only acted because they somehow had to protect their copyright. They're not after money. What money could we give them, anyway? We've already spent it on anime.
It still escapes me how anyone could be naive enough to think that any videos distributed here have any affiliation to the artists that created the music. I guess it just goes to show you why there are ridiculous disclaimers on almost every commercial you see (like "Professional driver on closed course - do not attempt"). Looks like Phade may have to add one to the org:
"Unless otherwise indicated, music videos distributed on a-m-v.org have no affiliation whatsoever with the artists responsible for the music, the creators of the anime, or any other entity to that extent."
Or something like that.....
Once again, great job, Phade! Whether you realize it or not, you covered our posteriors very well.