March 13, 2017:Ed Sheeran gets involved in Facebook copyright row

Covers musician Charlotte Campbell found herself temporarily locked out of her Facebook account last week after posting a short clip of her covering Ed Sheeran’s ‘Castle on the Hill’.

She was on the wrong end of a copyright strike that saw her barred from her page for three days, with the threat of a permanent ban if she was caught again.

A sign that Facebook’s long-promised copyright protection system is up and running? Some might say that, but not Sheeran himself, who appears to have been alerted to Campbell’s situation, then popped up in her comments to stress his support.

“Just seen your video, it definitely has nothing to do with me. I bloody love seeing people cover my songs. One of the best things I get out of this job is seeing other people find enjoyment too,” wrote Sheeran.

“I asked what’s gone on and apparently it’s a bot that Warner have that works on some weird algorithm (I have no idea what that means) but it’s just bad luck that it was your video. I’ve had a word, and I’ll get it sorted.”

Beware of painting Warner (or more specifically Atlantic Records) as the villain of this situation: as with Content ID on YouTube, the preferable outcome for this kind of situation would be the ability for the rightsholder to leave cover videos up but share the revenues.

Which, of course, requires a system for generating revenue from them in the first place.

Stuart Dredge
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