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Pearl Jam's Ten Club: Are They Eddie Vedder's Copyright Police?

Publication Date: 
September 08, 2011
Source: 
OC Weekly
Author: 
Brandon Ferguson

Julie Ahrens, Associate Director of the Fair Use Project, is quoted by Brandon Ferguson in this OC Weekly story about Pearl Jam's Ten Club and how they're lodging copyright claims for Pearl Jam.

We don't condone the violation of copyright law. But if you try to upload a video on YouTube featuring a live Pearl Jam or Eddie Vedder performance, chances are your account will be blocked due to a copyright claim filed by a third party.

At least that's what happened when I attempted to upload some grainy footage I shot with a point and shoot camera of the solo show Eddie played at the Long Beach Terrace Theater in July.

Not more than three days after I uploaded the clip, I logged into my Youtube account to find a large screen informing me that a complaint had been lodged--by the Ten Club. If I wanted further access my account I would first have to endure the humiliation of watching a pedantic short film on copyright law featuring the Happy Tree Friends followed by a short online quiz demonstrating what I had learned.

...

"Generally with a takedown notice the person issuing it is swearing under oath that they're either the copyright owner or that they have the rights to enforce that (copyright)," says Julie Ahrens, Associate Director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford Law School. She admits she hasn't heard of a fan club working in this capacity; legally they make such claims.

"I couldn't just say, 'I wrote this book, but if anybody infringes it go out and enforce it,'" Ahrens explains. Maybe, Ahrens suggested, the Ten Club has sole rights to record live Eddie Vedder concerts--thus giving them the legal authority to claim infringement.