Megaupload Suing Universal Over Pulled YouTube Video

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Megaupload Suing Universal Over Pulled YouTube Video

Universal Music is now faced with a federal lawsuit accusing it of using underhanded tactics to remove a YouTube video featuring hip-hop stars singing an ode to popular file-sharing service Megaupload.

You've got to admire the sheer audacity of this one. The YouTube video on the right was commissioned by Megaupload to promote its file-sharing service. The video features a glut of hip-hop talent, including Kanye West, Macy Gray and Alicia Keys, serenading us with classic lines such as "I like to use Megaupload," and "M.E.G.A. Upload to me today. Send me a file."

What Megaupload probably didn't tell the performers was that, of its 50 million-plus daily users, a rather large proportion are of the rum, parrots and scurvy appreciating persuasion.

Universal Music quite naturally freaked when it saw some of its biggest names promoting what it claims is a piracy-enabling service. It contacted YouTube, claiming that the video used an unauthorized performance belonging to Gin Wigmore, and promptly had it pulled from the site.

"This is an on-going dispute that surfaced several weeks ago with respect to the unauthorized use of a performance from one of our artists," said a Universal spokesperson. "We heard from a number of our other artists (and their representatives) who told us they've never consented to being portrayed in this video. As a result, at least one of them has already sent a takedown notice for this unauthorized use."

YouTube, like most online service providers, loses its legal immunity for its users actions if it doesn't remove allegedly infringing content when asked to by rights holders. The funny thing is, Gin Wingmore isn't even in the video.

"They were claiming she was in the video when she wasn't," said Megaupload's attorney, Ira Rothken.

Rothken maintains that the stars all knew what they were signing up for, and that Universal Music took down the video illegally. Megaupload is seeking undisclosed damages and wants the video returned to YouTube. The copy above was uploaded by a concerned user.

"How can you claim a copyright in a performance of artists singing that they love Megaupload?" Rothken asked. "It doesn't pass the giggle test. It's a sham."

"There's agreements signed by each of the stars," he added.

A second takedown notice came from will.i.am, bespectacled member of infuriating pop-rap-goblin-horde The Black Eyed Peas. According to his attorney, will.i.am never gave permission for his appearance in the video. Which does seem rather strange considering that, at around the 25 second mark, he stares earnestly into the camera and says "When I gotta' send files across the globe, I use Megaupload." Presumably that just came up in regular conversation.

Source: Wired

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I hope Megaupload was smart enough to keep copies of those video release agreements, and that they smack Universal as hard as the legal system will let them.

As a disclaimer, I've nothing against Universal, but any company stupid enough to overstep it's bounds deserves to get taken down a notch.

The next time someone tells me that singing about videogames is cringey, or calls me a sellout, I'm going to show them that Megaupload video.

What has the music business come to?

Oh Universal, you so funny, SOPA isn't in effect yet, you have to wait a bit before you start acting like a mass murdering dictator in public.

MiracleOfSound:
The next time someone tells me that singing about videogames is cringey, or calls me a sellout, I'm going to show them that Megaupload video.

What has the music business come to?

It's not quite like they're selling out.

More like they're hiring a job applicant with a long history of embezzlement for a high-office position, then gladly providing a character reference when he asks for one three days later, "just in case". After all, Domino Masks and shirts with thick black-and-white stripes don't usually fit office attire rules.

OT: I'm sort of confused as to what revenue they are going to be suing to get back. I mean, I guess they have premium accounts, but I typically don't drop subscription money on the word of P. Diddy and his pals.

Catalyst6:

MiracleOfSound:
The next time someone tells me that singing about videogames is cringey, or calls me a sellout, I'm going to show them that Megaupload video.

What has the music business come to?

It's not quite like they're selling out.

More like they're hiring a job applicant with a long history of embezzlement for a high-office position, then gladly providing a character reference when he asks for one three days later, "just in case". After all, Domino Masks and shirts with thick black-and-white stripes don't usually fit office attire rules.

OT: I'm sort of confused as to what revenue they are going to be suing to get back. I mean, I guess they have premium accounts, but I typically don't drop subscription money on the word of P. Diddy and his pals.

Well chances are they paid the starts for their time in order to create an ad. The ad isn't being shown.

Over 4 minutes of people I dont recognise singing about a webapp that I dont really care for, meh. On the plus side, it lyrics probably contained more thought provoking content that all their albums put together so I guess I may have just witnessed the high point of all their respective careers.

Also with the Will guy saying he didnt give permission, its not that hard to believe. Its likely he agreed to say the line but stated he required to see a recording of it first before giving permission for it to be used in the final cut.

Fasckira:
Over 4 minutes of people I dont recognise singing about a webapp that I dont really care for, meh. On the plus side, it lyrics probably contained more thought provoking content that all their albums put together so I guess I may have just witnessed the high point of all their respective careers.

If you don't recognize them, how do you know the content of their albums?
Feigning ignorance on pop culture isn't always trendy.

gphjr14:
If you don't recognize them, how do you know the content of their albums?
Feigning ignorance on pop culture isn't always trendy.

Because I dont know them. If I haven't heard of them, Im assuming they arent particularly great to the point that I'd have someone rush up and tell me I have to listen to them.

Difference between feigning ignorance and genearlly being ignorant. Interesting to think that my ignorance on any level could be considered trendy though.

EDIT: And I also did state "probably" to reflect that level of ignorance.

I can't imagine that any of those "stars" made any commitment to the project without signing a contract stating what they where getting payed for.
If universal doesn't like who their muppets "sing"(a term used very loosly here) for they have to take it out on said muppets for signing such a contract - usually you fire an employee who is discovered with an unsightly second job, not sue the strip club he/she is working for.

In the spirit of things: Hey youtube - Quickly take down any and all videos from universal music! My best friends uncle did the accounting for most of those projects and never consented to releasing all those videos in those aspect ratios.

Sue the shit out of Universal and Youtube. Set some precedent against these absurd laws.

When I gotta send files across the globe, I use an FTP server. It's not only easier to use, but also paying a modest fee to a web provider is worth my friends not having to put up with popups, throttling, captchas, and other BS.

But my friends are worth more to me than whoring my name out to the first guy with a fat wallet.

Presumably that just came up in regular conversation.

Of course it did. A Dyna-Gym! I'll personally demonstrate it in the privacy of your own home! I often have my promotional partners come up A king-size Titanic Unsinkable Molly Brown waterbed with polybendum! in conversation.


MiracleOfSound:
What has the music business come to?

The storied industry that spawned or helped spawn:

payola,
ClearChannel,
extension of copyright for corporations while stripping content creators of their own copyrights,
the Sony Rootkit,
manufactured fad bands,
DMCA PROTECT-IP SOPA and PIPA,
the RIAA and the IPA with their lobbyists telling government who to bully next;

couldn't come to anything, they've always been there.

gphjr14:

Fasckira:
it lyrics probably contained more thought provoking content that all their albums put together

If you don't recognize them, how do you know the content of their albums?
Feigning ignorance on pop culture isn't always trendy.

Key word "Probably"

I didn't even watch the video, and I can assure I don't know who any of them are.

I only know of the "Black Eyed peas" because one of their songs is in a game I play (Lumines), I don't know what any of them look like, and I only know about West because of his rudeness and people's over used dumb jokes about it... I don't know what he looks like.

The other names mean nothing to me.

I live under a proverbial pop culture rock... just where I want to be, because current pop culture sucks.

Bwahaha! To everyone involved: Bwahaha!

Of course Youtube had to take it down, for if they did not, they'd lose the little amount of freedom they have left... again... and it doesn't matter if Gin Rummy (Um?) was in the video or not, because Youtube is on a thin line and can't really protect themselves.

...even with reality...

Universal can go take a flying leap off the nearest cliff but the real problem I have is with Megaupload, yarr. If there is any one (ONE) way to mess up youtube for a long, long time, it's by suing over it's actions (that they had to take). Yes, I know they're actually suing Universal, but it's over something on which Youtube had ultimately made the decision.

So, finally, a message to Megaupload: Quit yer' bitchin' about supposed lost revenue from a YOUTUBE VIDEO. Get that made into an actual advert that shows up on (a lot of) other websites. I would think you'd know how to actually get your name out... y'know, other than YOUTUBE.

That's a Mega load of something i'll tell yeah that.

Mega-Upload be trollin'.

That song felt very forced and far too long. We need an interesting hook damn it! And it did sound like Gin Wigmore or at the very least, someone trying to sound like her.

DVS BSTrD:
That's a Mega load of something i'll tell yeah that.

I love this post.

Draconalis:

gphjr14:

Fasckira:
it lyrics probably contained more thought provoking content that all their albums put together

If you don't recognize them, how do you know the content of their albums?
Feigning ignorance on pop culture isn't always trendy.

Key word "Probably"

I didn't even watch the video, and I can assure I don't know who any of them are.

I only know of the "Black Eyed peas" because one of their songs is in a game I play (Lumines), I don't know what any of them look like, and I only know about West because of his rudeness and people's over used dumb jokes about it... I don't know what he looks like.

The other names mean nothing to me.

I live under a proverbial pop culture rock... just where I want to be, because current pop culture sucks.

I only know who Kanye West because of the South Park episode with "Do you like Fish Sticks?"

I love a hearty dose of irony in the evening.

To me this reminds me of a lesser version of the 'Cake' scandal generated by the legendary Chris Morris. Where he not only got celebs to make nonsensical statements to camera against a new (ficticious) drug threat, but actually got it raised in Parliament.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass_Eye

Megaupload's pretty much proved that there's not much in the way of 'art' being defended here when they can throw a few thousand to these 'artists' and they'll sing the praises of anything, seemingly without doing any research into what they're promoting.

I'm fairly sure that if I went round representing 'Kitten Stabbers dot com', claiming to be working on reducing the amount of feline contamination in the world, I'd not get many people signing up to sing my praises.

To me, Megaupload are simply playing by Universal,EMI, and all the other big guy's rules, and it stings when your opponent slaps you with your own dick, after years of slapping everyone else around with no comeback.

MiracleOfSound:
The next time someone tells me that singing about videogames is cringey, or calls me a sellout, I'm going to show them that Megaupload video.

What has the music business come to?

Seriously, every single person cited in this article is at wrong: the "artists" for being complete sellouts, Universal for overstepping its boundaries, and Megaupload for encouraging sellouts.

Oh the delicious irony of a bunch of music "artists" singing about a site that's widely used for piracy. That's too fucking funny. I bet The Pirate Bay or Demonoid could find some more work for them if they are still looking. Maybe they could get together and make their next video singing the praises of Usenet.

SenseOfTumour:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass_Eye

I fucking loved the 'cake' sequence. Comedy gold.

Grey Carter:
Which does seem rather strange considering that, at around the 25 second mark, he stares earnestly into the camera and says "When I gotta' send files across the globe, I use Megaupload." Presumably that just came up in regular conversation.

Oh, all the time. Sometimes I'm just walking about and people will be all "Hey, what up Amnestic?" and I'll be all "When I gotta send files across the globe, I use Megaupload!" And then people video tape me and steal my soul words. It's really annoying! I totally sympathise with will.i.am. This isn't a laughing matter.

So y exactly did Will.i.am sing that line if he never wanted it to be seen? what that megaupload just wanted to waste everyones time and money? o.O

Well this case should be settled pretty quickly.

Heres hoping they don't open up another can of worms. I have premium on Megaupload. (the only file sharing client that doesn't cap free dl speeds and can give me a full 6.25MB/s download)

MiracleOfSound:

What has the music business come to?

*sigh* It is quite sad how artists become "sellouts".

Now, that whole term is completely overused, but there are some cases where I feel like it's appropriate. Is it a bad thing that the artists do something because they want to make money? No. But when the artists "betray their own lyrics" and former attitude, I can't help but feel... disappointed. When the artists sell out, the song loses the meaning...
Of course they are all humans, but all I am asking for as a listener is that they stand by their lyrics, and their message.

Once, Kanye West did songs like this where he is basically saying that he won't bend over for the cash: http://bit.ly/13ZEag
Now he appears in a MegaUpload ad...

*sigh*

Now, one is not a sellout if s/he sings about one thing, no matter what it is, and then changes the things s/he sings about later on. Like I said, sellout is someone who betrays his/her own lyrics/cause...

Grey Carter:

A second takedown notice came from will.i.am, bespectacled member of infuriating pop-rap-goblin-horde The Black Eyed Peas. According to his attorney, will.i.am never gave permission for his appearance in the video. Which does seem rather strange considering that, at around the 25 second mark, he stares earnestly into the camera and says "When I gotta' send files across the globe, I use Megaupload." Presumably that just came up in regular conversation.

I've always said that William (No, I'm not putting the dang periods in there. That is stupid.) was one of the biggest sellouts in the music business, kowtowing to whoever paid him the most money. Nice to know I just got some more ammo for my arsenal.

image

Yeah, that sums it up quite perfectly.

I like the term "Sellout."

Seriously, what the flying fuck do you people think these people went in the damn business for? Dicks? Waffles? The new fancy Megastar Fireworks system?

No, it couldn't be money. Wanting to eat would make them a sellout!

I'd say everyone here is a sellout... but at the same time, I'm glad they're standing up for their right to upload videos..,. hu.

Has anyone bothered asking, you know, the actual artists? Why don't we ask Kanye West, Alicia Keys, and Macy Grey about this? Or even Gin Wingmore, she might find all this interesting.

So yeah, anyone thought of just asking them? Don't the artist's opinions matter since apparently that's who Universal is trying to "protect"?

MiracleOfSound:
The next time someone tells me that singing about videogames is cringey, or calls me a sellout, I'm going to show them that Megaupload video.

What has the music business come to?

Pretty sure the music business has been this way since before I was born >.>

Hahhah.

I truly hope Mega upload is correct here and they get punch of money from universal. Would be so funny.

More to the point -
none of this is copyrighted by Universal or the artists. It's a classic "work for hire" dispute, and at best Megaupload violated contract law.

Which has nothing to do with the DMCA... so Universal did, in fact, falsely send a DMCA takedown for content they don't own.

Par for the course, from the industry that censors blogs for an entire year at a time without a whiff of due process. I hope they get smacked down hard on this, but I doubt they will - Faking DMCA takedowns, while illegal, is sadly rarely punished by the courts.

saregos:
More to the point -
none of this is copyrighted by Universal or the artists. It's a classic "work for hire" dispute, and at best Megaupload violated contract law.

Which has nothing to do with the DMCA... so Universal did, in fact, falsely send a DMCA takedown for content they don't own.

Par for the course, from the industry that censors blogs for an entire year at a time without a whiff of due process. I hope they get smacked down hard on this, but I doubt they will - Faking DMCA takedowns, while illegal, is sadly rarely punished by the courts.

The point is they should be punished.
Nobody should have a product, a shop, an ad or anything they produced removed from the public eyes because someone lied about it. It's an unethical business conduct.

Grey Carter:
...singing an ode to popular fire-sharing service Megaupload...

Is that the same one Prometheus used?

On-topic, though: All this over a ridiculous advertisement for a site that hardly needs any advertisement?

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