Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mike Nesmith Made Me Go To YouTube's Copyright Offender's School

Yesterday, I got an email from YouTube saying that Michael Nesmith had YouTube take down one of my videos, because of copyright  infringement. This surprised me, since that video has been up there for 11 years!   The video was a hilarious bit by Jim Stafford called “Little Bits and Pieces”, where he gets so drunk he doesn’t recall anything of the night before, and has to be reminded by others about the crazy, destructive things that he had done. 

 The video was of poor quality, since I had digitized it from an old videotape that had been through the wars. That video got a lot of great comments, had hundreds of thousands of hits, and made people happy.  I make no money from any of my videos on YouTube – it’s all for fun. Life is often difficult and depressing, so I want to share the enjoyment, when I can. 

After the video was removed, I remembered that the video was presented on Nesmith’s “Television Parts” show, which we never missed, always full of fun bits and surprises.  Jack Handy’s little bits were also gems.  They don’t make t.v. like that anymore.  Where would you see this stuff now?  After removing my version, I looked. There is one other version which does not seem to be approved for copyright.  In fact, there are MANY versions of Monkees and Jim Stafford songs and videos on YouTube which do not have the copyright information on them, except for the “Standard YouTube License” which all of mine have. So, if Nesmith is on the warpath, he’s going to be plenty busy, because my video is the tip of the iceberg.  Oh well..I guess that gives him a hobby.   Knuckle down, your work is cut out for you, Nez! 

In addition to deletion of "Little Bits and Pieces",  I had to attend YouTube’s Copyright School, to be able to log back into my account. This lesson is brought to you by animated characters named "Russell" and "Lumpy", fit for a 4-year-old. I learned about "Creative Commons", and using permissions. 

You have to go through a lot to get permission to post copyrighted material.  The video tells you (mostly) that you did a BAD THING and could GO TO COURT and BE SUED if you persist in posting copyrighted material.  

What is interesting is that when I initially posted the video eleven years ago, YouTube sent me an email about the possible copyright issue, but them added: ”It’s o.k., you don’t have to do anything now”, so when I read that, I promptly forgot about it.

YouTube's "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" tone leaves the implication that it is o.k. to post copyrighted stuff, as long as you can get away with it.  YouTube then places ads on all of your copyright-infringed videos - without your being paid for them, of course.  So, YouTube benefits when you post copyrighted material. They're in cahoots with you - until you are caught.  After that, they wash their hands of you. They don't want to be sued. It's all on you!  

After scaring the heck out of you about court and jail for your offense, Copyright School then encourages you to make “your own original videos”, and then shows Russell in a video that is so lame that it would be a publicly humiliating  to post it. YouTube would have to shut down and go out of business if that were the kind of videos posted there.  
In any event, I passed the test, getting only two questions wrong. I now have one strike against me on YouTube - three strikes, and they will delete my account, and ban me from having an account with YouTube, ever again.  I'm also listed as an "offender".  

After that experience, the first thing I did was to remove any and all videos that I had posted that I even suspected had copyright issues.  That included my most popular video on there, Martin Briley’s “Salt in My Tears”,  the hits and comments of which way surpassed anything else I had ever posted. 

I got comments from that every week.  It was the only version of that video on YouTube for many years, though there is one now that was actually taken from my YouTube video, and re-posted - the quality sucks, but at least you can see it).  Martin Briley himself enjoyed the one I put up 10 years ago, and made comments, answering questions from fans.  Here is part of our correspondence about it:

From: Debwong
Date: Feb 27, 2008 6:14 AM

DEB: You don't mind my posting your videos on YouTube? How ODD that you can't post your video on here.
Let me try to post it on my MySpace blog. Also, would you like to add a comment similar to what you have written here on my YouTube site under your videos? It would stir up more interest, have people waiting to listen to your new stuff, & purchase your music. Maybe place a web link, etc. As you may have seen, those clips are VERY popular, & have gotten thousands of views. BTW, my sister & brother-in-law really love "Hands on the Screen", have really wanted to see that one again - I think it's brilliant.

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Martin Briley Production Services
Date: Feb 26, 2008 6:57 AM

MARTIN:  No, of course I don't mind you posting my videos, I'm very flattered. Sure, we'd all like to receive royalties from Utube but right now I'm happy that despite Universal's indifference, someone gets to see them. 

The irony is that Mercury ( which became Polygram which became Universal ) and ALL the record companies billed the artists back in full for their own demos, and yet if I try to post my own video on Myspace, they yank it! ( as they've done before on Utube)

Since you seem to be such an avid fan, I thought I'd make you aware that due to Universal's procrastination in releasing 'Salt In My Tears' ( and the rest of The Mercury Years ) on iTunes, I recently created a new master of 'Salt In My Tears' and released it on CD Baby. It'll be on iTunes pretty soon and I've been assured that once Universal hears about it they'll put the whole of The Mercury Years on iTunes with amazing speed! We'll see. The new release on CD Baby includes an acoustic version of 'Salt In My Tears' and two new songs.



So, I guess that was his “seal of approval” – but I had been burned.  Down it went.  No more Salt.  No more Tears.  At least on MY YouTube. 

Interesting to note that so many fine videos presented on YouTube are copyrighted, the majority of which, apparently, are used without permission.  What would happen is all of those copyright infringed videos were removed?  Would there be much left to watch on YouTube?

So, I did wrong, I was bad.  At first, I was upset that Nesmith did this, but I then remembered that he is also the one who gave permission for my daughter Kelly Peeples to use Monkees content in her “Daydream Believer” film short. The Monkees TV show was a family favorite, and Kelly was inspired to write about a young girl who had a crush on – you guessed it – Mike Nesmith.  Kelly & Rosanne (co-producer) even met Nesmith at the Taos Talking Picture Festival's Open Screen, in New Mexico, in 1998.   So, that was nice.   

MORAL OF THE STORY:  If you have anything posted on YouTube that does not have the permission of the copyright owner, take it down.  Let the artist (or whomever) profit from their own work.  

P.S. - After I posted this blog, Michael Nesmith posted on Facebook about why he is finally claiming his copyrighted material.  He also posted a link to where others can view these videos, called "VideoRanch:  tps://

If I had known about it, I would just have posted a link......much easier than posting my YouTube videos. 


  1. I am so grateful that this was posted. I had this clip on VHS recorded around 1984. I hadn't heard it in 30 years but NEVER forgot it. made quite an imporession. I quite drinking in 1986. lol I'm trying to find the rest of that show which I think had a clip about.. does the bride come with potatoes.

    1. Thanks for reading my blog! Never missed an episode of "Television Parts." I believe I also still have that "does the bride come with potatoes" bit on video somewhere, too...but I ain't posting it!!! :)