Back in July, I interviewed Dudi Patimer, who in his free time posted rare videos of old Israeli songs on YouTube and rescued the singers from oblivion. The 26-year-old uploaded some 1,700 songs, had a thousand subscribers and reaped half a million views.
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Basking in the publicity, Patimer received a regular spot on Gabi Gazit’s program on 103FM and was a guest elsewhere in the media, uncovering more and more treasures.
But on Sunday evening his fans were saddened to learn that his YouTube account had been shut and his life’s work erased. Idan Zeira, the son of Dov Zeira, owner of the Hataklit record company, removed from YouTube songs by Gila Edri and Ami Shavit that the company recently released in an album.
Zeira didn’t know about Patimer or YouTube’s strict rules, so when he reported a copyright infringement on specific songs, Patimer’s channel was automatically locked. Patimer’s Facebook page is now full of messages from fans mourning the loss of beautiful songs.
“How terrible, really terrible,” writes one. “Today I tried to get into Patimer’s page, and to my shock I got a message that they had taken down his song collections and all his hard work has gone down the drain. This is very sad and painful. I’m one of your fans; maybe if we get up a petition something will change.”
Amid the disappointment, Patimer received a letter of apology from Zeira. “Listen, I removed the pieces automatically because we reissued Gila Edri and Ami Shavit recently. If I had known that this was going to get your channel taken down, I wouldn’t have done it without letting you know first,” Zeira wrote.
“I googled you and now I’m feeling terribly guilty and didn’t sleep all night; I’ve destroyed your life’s work. We have to check if there’s a way of restoring the channel so you can remove the videos. But maybe it’s actually better to start with a clean slate, because [with the old channel] other large record companies would remove videos and you’d be messed up again. Please accept my apology.”
Patimer is losing sleep, too.
“It hurts that all that work is gone,” he said. “I posted Gila Edri’s songs for her daughter. I was doing her a favor; I wasn’t thinking about the copyright. As for Ami Shavit, he thanked me for posting the songs. And boom, they took them down without warning.”
According to a source close to the record company, the songs that were taken down are from albums that are currently in stores."From Patimer’s Facebook page, you get the impression that they were lost,” the source said.
Patimer notes that forgotten singers like Edri and Elisa Gabbai received new exposure because of his efforts, and that people might start looking for their albums after nearly 50 years of near oblivion. “Through my channel a young generation has been exposed to these musicians,” he says.
Zeira says that not all the songs will be lost, there just has to be a little order.
“We’re behind the reissuing of all the albums that were originally put out by the Hataklit and Makolit companies,” he said. “We’ll post refurbished clips on YouTube in an orderly way. Everyone is free to use YouTube, but in an organized way, not a piratical way.”
Though Patimer has launched a new channel and couldn’t resist posting a few songs by singer Arik Einstein, who died last week, he sounded crushed. “This was my whole life, my life’s work,” he said. “It’s like taking your heart and ripping it to shreds.”