COPYRIGHT / CENSORSHIP
Internet, record labels

This story has been rumbling for while now but the ‘Mega Song’ dispute is taking all sorts of twists and turns. Let’s start at the beginning: MegaUpload is a file sharing platform that produced a video for what we will call the ‘Mega Song’ featuring numerous big name artistes such as Will.i.am, Chris Brown and Macy Gray all, well, ‘bigging up’ MegaUpload. This was posted up on YouTube. So far, so good. But it didn’t stay on YouTube for long as Universal Music Group (UMG) took umbrage and had it taken down under YouTubes takedown procedures (or so we thought).   MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom (ermmm, that’s actually not his real name, its Schmitz, but wouldn’t it be great if it was) responded insisting his company had permission from all of the artists involved and owned all copyright in the track. He then said he was launching an action against UMG for improper use of the USA’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Universal firstly (and seemingly) said that their actions were correct as they were acting on behalf of one of their recording artistes featured in the MegaSong who had not given their consent to be featured in the manner in which their contribution was used. Further reports then followed that said other artists who featured in the video had also raised concerns, though only Will.i.am was named and it seemed he had apparently issued his own takedown notice to YouTube in relation to his appearance in the MegaSong video. Kim Dotcom then said he’d personally spoken to Will.i.am who said he had no knowledge of any takedown notice being issued in his name.

But then in a rather alarming twist, UMG apparently said that they actually didn’t use the DCMA to remove the video – but used an agreement UMG have with YouTube which allows the music major to have any video it doesn’t like removed. One sort of wonders why anyone or any company would publicly say they had this right which sounds remarkably like censorship – as it is almost certainly going to be incredibly damaging for UMG – and no doubt for Google and YouTube too.  But I for one would love to know if such an agreement exists – and exactly what it says – and hopefully UMG can now provide an explanation. If not, This megaspat  could end up being fascinating!

At the time of writing the video (and its awful) was back online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAigW0Sa1yo