Thoughts on YouTubers using MIDI files they didn't make for tutorial videos?

Started by DrewPiano, February 24, 2020, 06:49:54 PM

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I'm one of those YouTube piano transcribers who makes Synthesia-style videos out of my arrangements. Since all you need is a MIDI file, Synthesia or another graphical piano player, and an editing software, it's disappointing to see so many videos that simply took MIDI files from somewhere else. Many of these channels are actively earning money from using other people's MIDI files. That makes it harder for YouTubers who legitimately arrange their own music for every video to grow amidst these other channels.

I was wondering everyone's thoughts on this. Many video game cover videos have MIDIs that are just re-used from the ones that are uploaded here. Do you think it's wrong to get free views from the work of another arranger, or is this collection of MIDI files something that each arranger or video maker should use?


I personally think that using others' MIDI files without crediting them is at least technically plagiarism (though I have caught others using mine as the basis for their arrangements and have let them slide for the most part). If they credit you, though, it's up to you how much you want to enforce a non-commercial license on your MIDIs...though I recommend being up-front when releasing your arrangement that you want your arrangement to be used for non-commercial purposes only.

Of course, joke's on them for all the inaccurate MIDIs they use. And there are plenty out there that get notes and harmonies wrong.


Yeah, some of the people who recycle every MIDI they find from MuseScore have laughably inaccurate or even downright wrong or unrecognizable arrangements. Like, there's one arrangement of the "Main Theme" from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where it's actually a messed up arrangement of Hedwig's Theme. The uploader probably didn't even notice.


I am indebted to NSM for many midi's I have used and have always cited and given recognition to the people who made the midi's on youtube, so I believe I've done my part (feel free to contradict me!). Proof:



I think everyone has their own ideas on this topic. Part of the discussion is of the nature of NSM's quote-on-quote "ownership" of the arrangements hosted.

Quote from: Latios212 on June 15, 2019, 02:44:22 PMKeep in mind the intent of the site is not to own anyone's work, but rather to gather the world's best collection of quality video game piano sheet music.
Based on this, NSM is more of a collection of the work of others' which is quality-tested. The arrangers voluntarily offer their work to be hosted under NSM through the submission process (and sealed with the NSM url at the bottom of the sheet). The fact that the work is not owned by NSM is clear through the possibility of having one's sheets taken down from the site, which is also addressed in the aforementioned quote source.

But then the question remains: if NSM does not own the work, who does? I'm inclined to say that the arrangers themselves retain ownership of their work at the bottom line, again, because they can technically have their work removed from the site if they so choose; if the work changed ownership to NSM, this would not be possible. An example of changing ownership is in the video game music industry itself: most of the time, the composer(s) write the music but it is then sold per contract to the developers. Once that happens, the developers have complete control of the music, and the composer has virtually none. E.g., if a soundtrack CD is going to be released, that's generally the developers' call and ordeal- completely independent of the composer unless they deem otherwise. This also then has concerns for self-plagiarism as well with future compositions for different developers, but I digress.

Ultimately, since the ownership then stays with the arrangers, each individual arranger is the one that carries the weight, final say, and opinion on this kind of thing. Since nobody makes money here though, it removes the legal liabilities that might otherwise be present; which turns it into prime flame-war material at best. That all being said, I'll now share my thoughts on this whole thing:

My Thoughts on this Whole Thing
Unsurprisingly, I like to see a bit of credit come back by those who take my material and post it on YouTube (or similar mediums for that matter). Even a slap in the description or beginning/end of a video is often way more than most people, and I really do appreciate that kind of gesture. In fact, done right, I actually would probably enjoy folks using my stuff in this way. Trouble is, most don't and those that might put something in the description will still just milk any praise in the comments as though they were the creators; leaving us actual creators by the wayside. It's kind of a case of 'just take it from our perspective': how would you feel if you were the content creator; honestly?

However, regardless of what I'd like to see happen, I specifically will not go after anyone who takes my stuff like this without credit; and no, I'm not afraid to say so publicly. This is for two main reasons: 1) I'm a bit of a philosophical purist who believes in music first and foremost for people- if my work can do good for others and their musical development/aptitude whether it gets traced back to me or not, I'd rather have that than just withholding my work entirely. Bad business practice, yes. But I'm not making money here anyways so I might as well be charitable as it were. 2) Those who actually own the work that I arrange and work with could, likely and at any point, march themselves in here and shut us all down because we don't have any particularly special clearances either aside from the aforementioned "trying to credit the right people in all things". We like to think that if anything, we're boosting the popularity of the games and the music through our work and make it very clear to people that we claim no ownership of any of the original compositions; but when push comes to shove we're really not any different than the YouTubers who take our stuff. Needless to say, we do our best to treat the official sources the way we'd want to be treated by those who use our work, but in the face of huge corporations not-suing-us-for-everything-we're-worth, I think the least I can do is not make a fuss when people take my already-backpacked-not-original material. That all being said, plagiarism is bad; don't do it.
"Today's goal strongly involves not dying. Because nobody likes to wake up dead."

My Arrangements
Finale Version(s): Finale Notepad 2012, Finale 2012, Finale v26