Copyright Controversy: A Look at the "Selos" Song, the Lenka Similarities, Online Responsibility, and Unexpected Publicity

The online world can be a passionate place, and recently, that passion ignited around a music copyright issue. A Filipino song titled "Selos" (meaning "jealousy") was flagged for copyright infringement on YouTube. The reason? Similarities between its melody and Lenka's popular song "Trouble Is a Friend."

As a fellow content creator, I understand the importance of respecting copyright. I've even had my own brush with it, unknowingly using copyrighted background music in a video. It's a valuable lesson – copyright protects creators and ensures they're fairly compensated for their work.

In this case, the resemblance between "Selos" and "Trouble Is a Friend" was significant enough to trigger YouTube's Content ID system. Additionally, fans familiar with Lenka's music likely reported the video.

Here's where the story takes a turn. The "Selos" video remains live on YouTube, with news that AHS Productions, the creators of "Selos," are working with Lenka and the recording company to potentially acquire the rights to the melody for a cover version.

Understanding Copyright, Fair Use, and Online Behavior

Copyright law can be complex, but the core principle is clear: it protects creators from unauthorized use of their original work. This includes melodies, lyrics, and recordings. However, there's a concept called "fair use" that allows limited use of copyrighted material for purposes like commentary, criticism, or parody.

Whether "Selos" falls under fair use is a legal question, but the situation raises questions about how we engage online. Sending hateful messages or insults to Lenka is never acceptable. Let's always strive to engage in thoughtful and respectful discussions, even when we disagree.

Unexpected Publicity

Interestingly, controversies like this often have an unexpected side effect: increased awareness. Many people, including myself, might not have known about Lenka's "Trouble is a Friend" before this situation. Similarly, even with its copyright issues, "Selos" has gained significant attention, even from those who might not typically listen to this genre of music.

Moving Forward: A Lesson for the Filipino Community & Beyond

This situation highlights the importance of understanding copyright, especially for online creators. It also underscores the need for greater online responsibility. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Always be mindful of copyright laws. Before using someone else's work, even a small portion, it's crucial to understand if it falls under fair use or if permission is required.
  • Double-check your sources. Using royalty-free music libraries or obtaining proper licensing helps avoid copyright issues down the road.
  • Open communication is key. If an issue arises, reaching out to the copyright holder directly can often lead to a positive resolution.
  • Think before you react. It's easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment online. Take a pause before commenting, and consider the impact of your words.

The internet thrives on creativity and open expression. By respecting copyright laws, fostering clear communication, and prioritizing kindness, we can ensure a vibrant online space where creators are valued, audiences can responsibly enjoy a diverse range of content – even if discovered through unusual means. 

To Lenka, we apologize for the disrespectful and hurtful messages sent by some members of our community. We can do better.

Additional Resources:

U.S. Copyright Office 

YouTube Copyright Information 


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