Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Baby, You Don't Belong

There are zillions of movie trailers posted all over the internet. The movie studios don't seem to have a problem with this, so it was that I posted the Japanese trailer to Disney's Lilo & Stitch online when it had disappeared from Disney's Japanese site.

It makes for interesting academic study of the vastly different approach to the movie used by the Japanese ("One lonely girl; one lonely alien" who form a friendship) compared to the U.S. approach ("There's one in every family" wild untamed monster), and an example of the different way that trailers are made in general, e.g., characters doing their own voiceover bits, and use of an "image song" cross-promotion.

But now that trailer has been taken down because of a copyright claim by Warner Music Group. Yes, a Disney trailer, taken down by Warner.

This is because of the "image song". Disney commissioned WMG to produce an "image song" for Lilo & Stitch. An excerpt of it -- Baby, You Belong by Faith Hill -- is included in the trailer. Indeed, the trailer was the song's world premiere. This is how the business of "image songs" works. They're inspired by the movies, then included in trailers with the information written on the screen of the artist and album name, and also are promoted on web sites along with the movie. And it goes both ways; e.g., the music video for this song includes clips from the movie.

So it seems that WMG doesn't know that the excerpt of the song is in the trailer because they put it there. It plays for all of five seconds (enough to hear "Baby, you belong / Baby, you belong") toward the end of the trailer before it fades into the background and Japanese voiceovers go on top of the rest of the chorus.

Although there are hundreds of movie-trailer sites online, I can't seem to find any information on how or if they got permission to display the movie trailers. It might just be a case of "turning a blind eye", which means I can't go back to YouTube and point out that Disney allows the trailer to be posted. I could theoretically protest the claim by pointing out that WMG licensed the song to be put into this trailer, but as I don't own the trailer, I'm not sure that would help much.

So I might have to let the trailer die (which would be unfortunate for the academic comparison reasons stated above), or I can replace the audio on it with random music YouTube allows, and put up a big Annotation on the video explaining that WMG was so stupid that they don't know about their own marketing. I could still potentially put up Annotations that present the dialog in the trailer (I'd have to work on transcribing some of the Japanese; I can understand parts of it already), even without the audio... and quietly offer the original audio to those who ask.

It's really a shame that something like this gets taken down, yet people get away with posting full episodes of TV shows that are out on DVD, and even full extras from DVDs. I really hate seeing that stuff online, because it's perfectly available for sale. Excerpts, fair enough, but not the whole shebang. I keep getting asked if the Animaniacs "deleted scenes" that I have posted are on the DVDs. Duh, no. If they were, I wouldn't have posted them!

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