removed from the site. The kicker? Universal evidently does not have any legal claim to the rights of the song or any of its contents.In a potential abuse of YouTube's system for reporting copyright infringement, Universal Music succeeded yesterday in having a pro-file-sharing song
The track was commissioned by file-sharing site Megaupload as part of a campaign to generate support for the controversial service. It features several mainstream artists, including Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and P Diddy, praising the service, which happens to be one of many thorns in the sides of major music executives everywhere.
The song had no trouble capturing the attention of music industry execs, as it began to go viral on Sunday and eventually resulted in a trending topic on Twitter. After initially being removed from YouTube due to a copyright complaint, the song was briefly restored to the video site, only to be taken down again.
The track should be especially embarrassing to music label executives, because it features several popular, mainstream artists endorsing a service that the RIAA and other industry groups have sought to paint as a rogue file-sharing website that hurts artists. It's exactly the sort of site UMG and similar companies would be itching to have shut down should the industry succeed in having the U.S. Congress succeed in passing some version of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
Google Wants to Fight Piracy, But Does This Go Too Far?
Google has put a renewed focus on catering to the needs of content rights holders and big media companies lately, in the hopes of cleansing its allegedly pro-piracy reputation among such players. The search giant not only wants to avoid litigation like the $1 billion lawsuit Viacom filed against it, but ultimately wants to forge better relationships with these companies as it moves towards more content-centric products. Without those relationships, initiatives like Google Music and Google TV are dead on arrival and YouTube doesn't stand a chance of competing with Netflix or Hulu, sites to which YouTube is slowly being repositioned as an alternative via premium content deals and a through, recent redesign.
One of the ways that Google has tried to assuage the concerns of rights holders is by making YouTube content takedown requests easy to execute and by responding to them more quickly.
If the allegations being made by Megaupload are true, Universal may be abusing the system YouTube has erected for reporting legitimate copyright claims and if that's the case, perhaps a revision of the process may be in order.