Youtube guitar guy

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YouTuber in row over copyright infringement of his own song

Image source, Paul Davids

Paul Davids thought he had seen it all when it came to YouTube's copyright protection system.

"Just like probably all the music YouTubers out there," he explained in a video to his 625,000 subscribers, "once in a while I get an email stating I'm infringing on someone's copyrighted material."

Paul had been contacted by YouTube to advise him that one of his videos had been flagged for copyright infringement, but in his own words, "this was a little different".

The copyright he had apparently infringed upon was his own.

"It said what song I was infringing on, and what I found was quite shocking," said Paul.

"Someone took my track, added vocals and guitar to make their own track, and uploaded it to YouTube, but I got the copyright infringement notice!"

Paul had been accused of plagiarising his own music - and worse, all the money that video was earning would now be directed towards the person who copied his content.

How do people make money from YouTube videos?

Image source, Paul Davids
  • A video can be "monetised" if a YouTube channel has at least 1,000 subscribers, and more than 4,000 hours of their content has been watched in the past 12 months
  • So long as the channel fits these requirements, users can apply to join the YouTube Partner Programme and have adverts attached to their videos
  • Often YouTubers will make money in other ways, through working with brands, merchandising and crowdfunding

'That's quite odd'

Despite being faced with a claim of copyright infringement and demonetisation, Paul remained calm.

"I looked up the guy on Facebook," he said. "I wrote him a message.

"I asked: 'Are you aware that you used one of my tracks to publish as your own track? Let me know'.

"A few hours later I got a response. 'Hey, I don't know', he said. 'I did download a couple of guitar licks somewhere off YouTube. Would you consider letting me still use this?'

"I wrote him back saying, 'You can't just rip a track off YouTube and then claim it is your own. Did you know I got a copyright notice from YouTube about that track? Claiming that I was infringing on your track?'

"That's quite odd, since I wrote and recorded it."

Image source, Paul Davids

In the end, Paul decided to do the nicest thing he could think of - he let the copycat keep using his song.

"It's not like he will make tons of money with it," Paul said. "It's OK. It probably happens all the time."

The BBC has approached YouTube for comment.

This is not the first time there has been such an issue with YouTube's copyright systems.

In 2015, Mitch Martinez had monetisation removed from a video after Sony filed a copyright claim against the video he licensed them.

And in 2010, pop artist Justin Bieber was caught up in a row with the platform when they temporarily would not allow him to upload his new song - because someone else had uploaded it first.

Why does this keep happening?

Image source, Steven Bridges

At the heart of the controversy is YouTube's Content ID system - the automatic process which decides whether a video contains copyright infringement.

Steven Bridges, a magician with more than 178,000 subscribers on YouTube, tells the BBC how this might have happened.

"Content ID is in place to make sure people don't use content without permission of the original creator," Steven explained.

"YouTube's systems automatically scan videos and detect if they've got, for example, a pop song in the background.

"If the video does, then the owner of the song could be notified, and they can choose whether they want the video to be left online, or whether they want to monetise the video themselves.

"It's a great system but it has its faults. For example, sometimes content can be wrongly demonetised or taken down. Certain companies can 'claim' videos if they find copyrighted material in them, regardless of whether YouTube's Content ID detected it.

"The creator has to go through an appeal process if they think it's been unjustly claimed.

"It's a complicated thing."

By Tom Gerken, BBC UGC & Social News team

More on this story


Santeri Ojala, aka StSanders, expertly overdubs crummy solos onto concert footage of guitar heroes in full shred mode. Photo: The video resembles one of the many concert clips you can find on YouTube: Guitarist Jake E. Lee burns up the fretboard onstage while Ozzy Osbourne claps to the beat in front of thousands of rabid fans.

Except that something's not right – the shredding solo emanating from Lee's guitar sounds as if it was going through an actual shredder, while the rest of the clip is devoid of background noise, save for Ozzy's comedic, overenthusiastic clapping.

Of course, that's the joke (which, admittedly, loses some of its punch in its translation to text). Lee's a legitimate metal guitar hero, and Ozzy's not supposed to sound as if he's clapping to himself inside his bathroom.

But the overdubbed "shreds" videos – of which there are nearly a dozen skewering the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Eric Clapton and Slash – have struck a chord on YouTube. Countless posters have praised the creator of the hilarious clips for pairing ax-wielding rock gods with god-awful guitar work, all while making it look real.

(Jake E. Lee shreds, and Ozzy claps like a loon, in this parody video.)

The man behind the videos is Santeri Ojala, a 32-year-old from Tampere, Finland, whose YouTube user name is StSanders. One day a few months ago, Ojala happened to catch a Steve Vai performance on TV while the sound was off. It looked "kinda funny," Ojala wrote in an e-mail interview, so he grabbed his guitar.

Ojala, a media artist whose work has included large audio and video installations in highway underpasses and other public areas, said he creates the videos by playing along and editing, strumming "as long as needed to make it sound funny." The process takes at least a couple hours, depending on how many extra sounds are needed.

The videos' titles are simple – after "Steve Vai shreds" came "Steve Vai shreds in Denver," both in April, with "Metallica shreds" a month later. It wasn't until the Metallica parody that Ojala noticed the surprising amount of attention the videos were getting. The Metallica clip has been viewed more than 140,000 times in the past few months.

(Steve Vai gets the StSanders treatment in Ojala's original "shreds" video.)

Although musicians tend to particularly appreciate the videos, Ojala, who has played guitar for 15 years, said he had no particular audience in mind when he first started making them.

"It was more like a 'Let's see who will be fooled?' kind of thought," Ojala wrote. "Many musicians and studio personnel have been fooled too, I must add."

Indeed, after links to the videos were posted on the forums of, a site dedicated to discussions of recording equipment and music production, even some musicians were caught criticizing the (as one poster put it) "insanely bad" stylings of Clapton and Van Halen – only to later laugh along with everyone else once properly informed of the gag.

"If I actually played like that, perhaps I could finally be on MTV and in Rolling Stone and have a real career," said Ojala's original target, virtuoso guitarist Vai, through a spokeswoman for his label, Epic Records. Vai thought the videos were hilarious, she said.

The consensus on the Gearslutz forums was that the overdubbing wasn't just bad – it was convincingly bad. Vahe Manoukian, 35, the lead singer and guitarist for Los Angeles band Nu-Tra and the person who posted the videos to Gearslutz, said he was convinced the overdubber was likely a pretty good guitarist in real life.

"It's probably just as hard to make it wrong as it is to make it right," Manoukian said.

While the videos got a lot of raves on the Gearslutz site, Manoukian said the reaction was decidedly different when he shared them with his non-musician friends. In short, they didn't get it. Oh well – their loss.

"I'm a fan of their guitar work, but it's just funny," Manoukian said of the parodied performers. "These guys have been on top of the world. Their facial expressions and how serious they are – for those horrible noises to come out of their guitars, it's just funny. It's funny to see them in that light, as a horrible guitar player. It's refreshing, actually. They're mortals now."

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Brian Haner

"Brian Elwin Haner" redirects here. For his son, the lead guitarist of Avenged Sevenfold, see Synyster Gates.

Musical artist

Brian Elwin Haner Sr. (born April 7, 1958), also known as Guitar Guy or Papa Gates, is an American musician, comedian, and author. Haner is known for touring with fellow stand-up comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, as in the 2008 holiday program, Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special. He is also a noted session musician for Avenged Sevenfold, a band in which his son, Brian Haner Jr. (a.k.a. Synyster Gates), is the lead guitarist.

Early life[edit]

Haner got his first guitar when he was five years old, after seeing The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. He joined his first band, The Plastic Mind, when he was ten years old.[1]


A year before finishing high school, Haner got a summer job touring with Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, best known for their hit songs "Woolly Bully" and "Li'l Red Riding Hood". After high school, Haner did session work and played in night clubs in the Los Angeles area while attending The Dick Grove School of Music, where he studied Composition, Arranging, Advanced Music Theory and Film Scoring.

He spent a year as one of Motown star Norman Whitfield's main session guitar players, working with The Undisputed Truth, Rose Royce & Jr. Walker. His work with Whitfield included the songs "Car Wash" and "Wishing on a Star", as well as several movie soundtracks, including Car Wash (1976), Which Way Is Up (1977) and Animal House (1978).

Haner signed his first record deal with Polydor under the name of Brian West. His self-produced first album, Don't Stop Now, featuring the Tower of Power horns, was successful in Europe, where it was certified gold in several countries. Throughout the 1980s, Haner recorded and toured mainly in Europe. In the early '90s, his composition work extended to scoring television shows and films, including TV 101 and Eerie, Indiana. From 1998 to 2003, Haner produced his wife's hypnosis show as he continued as a session musician. In 2003, he signed with a Nashville music publisher and released two CDs: My Old Guitar and Carney Man. The latter's success led to a successful run in stand-up comedy.

In 2005, Haner's first novel, Carney Man, was published. After a year spent mostly in comedy clubs and in Las Vegas opening for comedians, including Bobby Slayton, Ralphie May, Lisa Lampanelli and Brett Butler, Haner started touring and doing Comedy Central television specials as "Guitar Guy" with Jeff Dunham. While on tour with Dunham, Haner released two solo CDs: Cougar Bait and Fistfight at the Wafflehouse. He also released a CD with Dunham, Don't Come Home for Christmas (2008), featuring Dunham's puppets singing Haner's original songs. Since leaving Jeff Dunham's show in 2011, he has released three more CDs: The Artist Formerly Known as Guitar Guy, Alone and Perfect World.

In 2012, he spent the summer in Africa, headlining the prestigious South Africa Comedy Festival. Haner also appeared on Showtime's "Red Light Comedy Special", taped in Amsterdam, and on AXS TV's "Gotham Comedy Live from NYC", performing his own music and stand-up comedy.[2] That year, he released his second book, Ginny Reb, about a young woman's experiences in the Confederate army.

Haner left comedy and performing in 2014, so he and his wife Suzy could take over as coordinators of the Orange County School of the Arts' Commercial Music program in Orange County, California. In the fall of 2016, he composed the music score for the two-hour premiere of the highly acclaimed television show Z Nation on the SyFy Channel.

Haner continues to do session work, and in 2018, he played sitar on The Ventures' first album in over 15 years. 2018 also saw the launch of the Synyster Gates School of Music, a free online school created by him and his son for guitarists of all levels.

With Avenged Sevenfold[edit]

Haner made his first appearance with Avenged Sevenfold on their third studio album, City of Evil (2005), playing acoustic and electric guitar on several tracks, including a dual guitar solo with his son on "Sidewinder". He contributed string arrangements to their self-titled album in 2007 and was the orchestral arranger on the track "Until the End" from the album Diamonds in the Rough (2008). He played additional guitar on the track "So Far Away" and the guitar solo on "Tonight the World Dies" on their Nightmare album in 2010. He played the outro guitar solos on both "Coming Home", from Hail to the King (2013), and "Angels", from The Stage (2016). In October 2017, Haner made a rare live appearance with Avenged Sevenfold at their all-acoustic concert at the Grammy Museum in L.A.[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 1980, Haner married his first wife, Jan (Smith) Gera. The couple had two sons: Brian Haner Jr., the aforementioned lead guitarist for metal band Avenged Sevenfold, and Brent Haner, an insurance agent at Trinity One Insurance.[4] The couple divorced in 1990.

Haner is currently married to Suzy Haner, a comedic hypnotist. They have one daughter, McKenna, born in 1997.


External links[edit]

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