I have had to do a lot of research on this damned problem to fight the copyright claims on my videos, which I really shouldn't have to do. They don't even receive that many hits but the lack of response pissed me off. I think I have found an answer on how these wallies came to their conclusion.
On the 12th of September, 2011, the Council of Europe adopted Directive 2011/77/EU, which in accordance with Article 4 came into force on the 20th of the same month. The Directive recommends extending protection of the rights of performers and phonogram producers on music recordings within the EU from 50 to 70 years; the exact details vary and can be gleaned from the text of the Directive, as well as some other protections and recommendations.
This is somewhat crucial to my story: my video, Sunderland Airshow 2012, was of course recorded in 2012, which was seven years after the expiration of the copyright, under the old rules, on The Dam Busters March, which appears in the video. Presumably this was overlooked by the original claimant in my story.
The general idea behind the Directive is that recording artists aren't paid for long enough for their work and they should be paid for even longer. The texts leading up to, and included in, the Directive suggest that this will help poorer performers receive adequate compensation for their work, whereas nobody really cares how hard-up the millionaires think that they are. The E.U. have, at times, been criticised for making some rather ridiculous suggestions and recommendations, some of which end up being law. I'll let you decide if this one is a sensible one or not....
The Directive wouldn't have affected me at all if it was not applied retroactively. From the rather in-depth Impact Assessment:
It appears that a partially retro-active extension, with a specific cut off date, would be the simplest solution as regards the legal and administrative aspects and would bring the most benefit to right holders from the start.The Impact Assessment explains what it means by the term partially retro-active but it could be inferred that I am affected by this.
I certainly don't know enough about law to give any kind of in-depth analysis of what this all means, but I did wonder if this did not violate Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights (codified in U.K. law under the Human Rights Act 1998):
No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed.I would suggest that the E.C.H.R. only applies to government bodies, though there have been a number of high-profile cases in the U.K. in which the E.C.H.R. has been deemed to apply to businesses (mainly the press). Crucially, though, Article 7 states that it applies to criminal offences, and any legal matters arising from my circumstances would almost definitely fall under civil law. Indeed, there was no criminal act or intent (not on my behalf anyway).
So there we go. Not very technical but it almost concludes the story so I thought I should share.
Now if only there were some way to remove the musical composition from the audio track of my video....
An interesting read on a possible E.C.H.R. Article 10 violation: