Russia’s federal media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has issued a statement urging Google to lift reported restrictions on posting YouTube videos that contain the Russian national anthem.
Blogger Yury Khovansky first drew attention to the issues related to the national anthem’s copyright on Monday, January 25. After he uploaded a video containing the Russian anthem, YouTube issued him a warning about disputed content. According to Khovansky, who didn’t specify where he got this information, the rights to the music allegedly belong to the American performing rights organization Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI).
On Friday, January 29, spokespeople for Google told Interfax that BMI’s complaint has already been reviewed and was deemed unfounded.
However, when the state-owned news channel Rossiya-24 tried to upload a video with the version of the anthem that’s played on Russian television on New Year’s Eve, their correspondent also received a copyright infringement complaint.
According to Rossiya-24’s segment, two American companies — “neither of which was BMI” — complained about a copyright violation. Rossiya-24 didn’t disclose the names of the companies in question.
YouTube monitors copyright compliance through its Content ID system, which compares samples of content uploaded by copyright holders to the content of Youtube videos.
In conversation with Rossiya-24, Nadezhda Boychevsky, the head of the distribution company A&R ONErpm Russia, explained that it’s possible that specific performances of the Russian anthem are protected by copyright. As a result, when the anthem is posted on YouTube, the Content ID system may block the video “just in case” because its content resembles the copyrighted versions.
Back in 2015, the Russian news site New Day reported that an American company, The Harry Fox Agency, is listed as the copyright holder for the Russian anthem on YouTube.