Poetry animator Jim Clark’s YouTube account suspended

UPDATE (2/15/11): As Jim informs us in a comment (see below), he’s back with a new YouTube account.

Sometime in the past two or three weeks, Jim Clark’s poetryanimations channel at YouTube was terminated. Alex Cigale just discovered this today when going back to look at Clark’s video for the Russian Symbolist poet Zinaida Gippius. The notice on what used to be his account page reads,

YouTube account poetryanimations has been terminated because we received multiple third-party notifications of copyright infringement from claimants including:

* Walt Whitman House/Walt Whitman Association
* Walt Whitman House/Walt Whitman Association
* Walt Whitman House/Walt Whitman Association

So multiple complaints from a single source? Perhaps they objected to the use of some still image they held copyright on, since Clark’s technique was to “reanimate” dead poets through computer manipulations of photos or paintings, often with fairly realist results. I’ve only posted a couple, but Clark produced well over a hundred. Many of them can still be viewed at (and embedded from) DailyMotion, if you can put up with the ads. Here’s a Walt Whitman one to illustrate his technique (maybe one of the ones that sparked the complaint?):

It seems odd that Clark would put such a prominent copyright notice of his own on the video, since there’s no indication that he had permission to use Garrison Keilor’s audio. But what do I know?

Dave is the founder of Moving Poems, and posts videos for his own poems (along with lots of other stuff) at Via Negativa. Here's a bio.


    • Yeah, that image presumably would be all right (death + 70 in the U.S. currently, I think). In this case, it’s the use of Keilor’s reading combined with the agressive watermarking with his own name and copyright notice that strikes me as egregious. On the other hand, if the complaints were solely in reference to audio, wouldn’t YouTube have just stripped out the soundtracks and let the videos remain? That’s their approach when record labels complain.

  1. Thanks folks I have no actual idea why and who exactly complained about my Whitman moviesthe information is so vague. The video you discuss here was not on my poetryanimations channel,but my very neglected dailymotion poetrylad channel so wasnt concerned in this matter.Actualy I tried deleting my dailymotion channel the other week,but it didnt delete as it should have.

    Anyway i’m back up on youtube until they pull the rug on mr again as poetryreincarnations

  2. I’ve been a follower of the poetryanimations channel for some time and had noticed the account removal and then the new account creation.

    It now seems that the same “Walt Whitman House/Walt Whitman Association” has had several other poetry related videos removed from YouTube too. I had created a play-list of all my favourites and now over half have been taken down with the same reason cited as for the poetryanimations channel. At least two that I can remember were a simple blue screen with the poem subtitled and an amateur reader. One was “The Tyger” by Blake and another “The Kiss” by Sassoon (which I don’t see why the “Walt Whitman Association” should be concerned with for a start). What copyright can this be breaking? More to the point, what is there to gain in having them removed? Surely spreading poetry is within the motives of this “Walt Whitman Association”.

    I’m going to look into the removal process YouTube implements. I would be incredibly miffed if they simply remove the videos on request, without the claimants producing any evidence.

    If anyone could shed some light on this it would be a big help.

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