Monday, September 17, 2007

Purple Reign of Terror (or No, I Didn't Watch the Emmys So Let's Talk About Something Else, K?)

I ain't tryin' to hear this, BeckEye.

Word on the information superhighway is that Prince is planning to sue YouTube and other sites for unauthorized use of his music and videos. The Purple One doesn't like to think of it as "suing," but "reclaiming his art on the Internet."

Ok, look. I love Prince. That tiny little bastard is a mega-talent and has long been one of my faves. But now he's pissed me off. I will not die 4 him. I will not give him my extra time or my kiss. I mean, what happened to the Prince who didn't think that money mattered 2-night or yesterday? I guess he's gone, because this is clearly more about money than art.

What confuses me here is that YouTube is not like LimeWire. Now, I personally don't think that all file-sharing is bad, but I can at least understand why some artists have a problem with it. But, again, YouTube is not like LimeWire. YouTube is, quite possibly, the greatest thing to ever hit the Internet. It's fantastic for music fans because it's one of the few places we can see music videos these days. Where else are we gonna get them...MTV? VH-1? YouTube has essentially replaced the music video channels since they have become reality TV wastelands. When you go to YouTube to watch a music video, do you really care who posted it? Do you think for one second that the uploader is the owner of that song or video? Do you feel like, just by watching a video, that you're somehow infringing on that artist's copyrights? Let me go out on a limb and answer for, no and no.

Unlike Napster or other file-sharing sites, users can't actually download anything from YouTube. Users can embed the videos into personal sites, as I do weekly, but that still doesn't give anyone ownership of those videos. If anything, it's a form of free advertising for that particular artist! I can't fathom why anyone would be against this. Back in the heyday of MTV, fans could see their favorite videos over and over for free and had the option to tape them on their VCRs! In fact, most people who post videos to YouTube probably taped them from TV. That, or they've transferred videos to their computers from official DVDs or tapes that they purchased. In any case, no one is trying to sell anything. Well, I'm sure a few goofballs have tried selling their poorly-made Betamax video mixes to eBay junkies, but that's not the norm. Most of us just want to get a look at our favorite artists and we'd like to be able to see them whenever we wish. People who post videos to YouTube - especially the old, rare ones that we never see anymore - are doing fans and artists a damn service, as far as I'm concerned.

Prince has already removed about 2,000 videos from YouTube in the battle to "reclaim his art." I think what's gonna happen here is, after this is all over and done with, Prince is going to have to reclaim his fans. Not only will he be "out of sight/out of mind" thanks to his own efforts, but the only image he'll be leaving behind for us all to chew on is that of a greedy schmuck.


An80sNut said...

I believe he is also after "fan-made" videos. Pretty much anything that someone says they created but uses his music in the background. I can see a good reason for going about this from a legal standpoint. If an artist doesn't defend the rights to their work, they lose the right to that work in the eyes of the court. This is a good preventative measure but yes, it seems over-reaching.

Going after cheap products bearing his name, likeness and trademark being sold on eBay is another way of retaining those rights but also improving sales and the value of endorsed products (mostly through his paid web-site.)

Pirate Bay... well, that is just going after those distributing his studio, live and bootleg CDs and DVDs for free, diluting the product on shelves. Sadly, some people burn copies of these items and sell them in front of stores in more urban settings. (Seen this only a few times, personally.)

Yes, I sound like a fuddy-duddy here but I purchase all of my CDs. I'd be a bad role model (and an easy target for Feds) if I didn't.

Beth said...

Excellent post and argument, BeckEye. I was amazed when Comedy Central jerked off all the clips from "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." YouTube is the greatest marketing tool to come about in the last two decades. I'd think any artist (except for Metallica) would love having their videos on YouTube -- R.E.M. started its own channel on the site -- because it is the only place for videos.

Hell. Prince is headed to Vegas. He left us years ago.

deadspot said...

So Prince is Metallica, but with extra stupid?

Bond said...

stands and applauds

i do use limewire on occassion BUT only grab things I own on vinyl at the moment..and when i get my usb turntable soon i will not need it then

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Well ranted, Beckeye. Prince really is just shooting himself in the foot here. I always gave him credit for being a little more business savvy than that, but perhaps ego got in the way of common sense this time.

Alice said...

well argued. i do see the reason behind limewire etc, like you said, but seriously! youtube! does he think we'd all be lining up to buy imaginary copies of his videos at best buy otherwise or something?

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

Prince has a lot of talent, but get over it already. You'd think he'd WANT peopel looking at him perform. What ever happened to artists perfroming for the joy of it, not just the money or the rights or whatever.

The people pulling their stuff off YouTube are just getting their fans pissed off at them and disappointed rather than being flattered that people still WANT to see their music videos.

Hey on another subject totally....I am reading "The Heroin Diaries" by Nikki Sixx, just the book itself, with the glossy pages and red blood spattered look and red ink, is cool to look at. Its pretty intense.

pistols at dawn said...

I hate Prince, and if there's less of him in the world, I'm happy. I hope YouTube removes him from the world, although living in Minneapolis is good enough.

Dale said...

Nothing Compares 2 UTube - highlarious Beckeye, my Beckeye but aren't you worried the little one is going to come after you too now?

Molie said...

I find this odd. Prince just this summer in the UK gave away thousands of his CD for free inside "The Daily Mail" and it seriously pissed off a lot of music retailers.

BeckEye said...

80s Nut - I don't have much of a problem with him going after bootleg goods on eBay. My issue is just with his stance on YouTube. I really don't even think going after the fan made pieces is necessary. I think it falls under the "tribute" or "fan art" category, which artists should be flattered by. I don't think anyone is trying to pass his music off as their own, they just like a particular song enough to use it in their video or animation. I don't see the big deal.

Beth - Most of us woudln't even know that musicians were still making videos if it weren't for YouTube.

Deadspot - I don't know...they don't come any dumber or more annoying than Lars Ulrich.

Bond - USB turntable?? What is this doo-dad that you speak of? Sounds intriguing.

Barbara - He always was a weird guy, but this is just plain stupid.

Alice - You'd think he'd use any means necessary to give away some copies of "Under the Cherry Moon."

Barbara - There are so many videos that I've posted here that are no longer available! It really annoys me.

Pistols - Imagine. You and I having a difference of musical taste. How strange.

Dale - Let him try. I will go Sinead on his ass. No, all she does is tear up pictures of people. I will emulate another bald star, Britney, and beat him with an umbrella.

Molie - Yeah, I heard about that. Strange. Apparently Prince just doesn't want anyone to benefit from sales of his records. He should just start selling CDs out of the trunk of his little red corvette.

chelene said...

I'm just worried that others will follow his ridiculous example. I still love him but I think all those years inhaling the fumes from dove poop and incense has addled his brains.

deadspot said...

Dove poop and incense... Ha!

Anonymous said...

He's a quirky little guy isn't he ? Still I absolutely adore the purple one and plan to see him every time he plays in close proximity to here, my new town. PHILLY!~!

Cheesy said...

I do love it when you rant, cause I laugh so hard my cheeks hurt (yes, the ones on my face...LOL).

I agree with you completely. With attitude like that, I certainly won't contribute any money by purchasing another thing from him. Which sucks, because I've been a fan!

Scott said...

Prince has been doing this for years. He used to make websites remove photos of himself. He's a bit of a control freak.

It actually is possible to download & save videos from YouTube, I do it all the time (especially when I'm watching something copyrighted that I know is going to be taken down later...)


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