Frederic Lardinois at ReadWriteWeb posts on YouTube's new and unannounced policy of disabling the sound on certain videos:
A growing number of videos now appear without sound and with a notice that these videos contained "an audio track that has not been authorized by all copyright holders." It looks like YouTube is starting to implement audio fingerprinting software that automatically removes licensed audio tracks. We have asked YouTube for a comment about this and will post an update once we hear back from them.
YouTube always contacted its users when it was notified of copyright infringements, but now, it seems like this is an automated process. Predictably, the commenters on YouTube are outraged about this new policy.
Lardinois points out that the new policy will have a detrimental effect on"remixes, mashups, and parodies." Add to that list "vidding," a genre that has exploded in recent years, thanks mostly to YouTube. Lardinois suggests YouTube request a "blanket license" from RIAA-member labels and then give them a cut of the advertising revenue, but based on the RIAA's track record and that of the music industry in general, I don't think the suggestion will fly.
Here's Jesse Walker writing about vidding back in August (a fascinating interview follows):
Since the 1970s, an underground subculture has been making and privately screening short films. The artists are fans—and critics—of cult TV shows, from Star Trek to Homicide: Life on the Street. Their movies are music videos, edited from pieces of those programs and other sources into something new: a story, an essay, a mood piece, a love note.
These vidders, as they call themselves, weren't the first filmmakers to re-edit existing footage into new works, but they may have been the first to do it as a self-conscious community, training one another in the art and craft of vidding. They also did it invisibly, shying from the spotlight both to avoid copyright infringement lawsuits and simply to keep the work away from viewers not likely to appreciate the form.
Today, of course, YouTube is filled with remixed videos, from "Machinima" movies set in video game worlds to sharp and/or crude political satires. As such activities become more mainstream, the older vidding culture is emerging from the underground and tentatively allowing some of its clips to find a larger audience.