Will The RIAA Shut Down Public School Kids From Singing Pop Songs On YouTube?

from the questions,-questions... dept

Dave Title points our attention to a public elementary school in New York City (PS22) that is making news for putting together a chorus that sings various pop songs (and sings them well!). The videos are quickly spreading around YouTube:

Apparently, Stevie Nicks was so touched by seeing them sing the Fleetwod Mac song above, that she’s asked the group to sing at a Fleetwod Mac show in NYC. But, of course, Title wonders how the RIAA feels about all of this:

However, this seems like a video ripe for takedown by the RIAA. These kids did not get the rights to perform this song and they are now spreading their cover for free! This is just the sort of activity the record industry seems to keen on stopping – whether it is a chorus of school-kids or a couple of people doing a karaoke version of the latest Beyonce tune.

Of course, the idea that this video could somehow create a direct negative impact to the sales of Fleetwood Mac songs is simply absurd. That won’t stop groups like the RIAA from spitting out takedown notices and DMCA claims faster than you can say, “hey, that was cute.”

Admittedly, the world of copyright law is beyond complicated but we need to find a way to let people legally play with all the content released into the world. People are going to play with it no matter what so it?s really just a question of whether or not energy is spent prosecuting people or facilitating them. I wonder which choice would make more money in the long run.

Indeed. Hopefully the RIAA knows better, but, remember when the Girl Scouts were threatened for singing songs around the campfire?

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: riaa

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Will The RIAA Shut Down Public School Kids From Singing Pop Songs On YouTube?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Another anonymous coward says:

Re: Anonymous Coward

Yea corporations gotta get paid with the few money the poor people have. That is exactly why i will never buy a cd, i will NEVER pay for a movie or a game.
You are indeed a coward. All what we need now is a corporation claiming the air and selling it, so when you breath you pay. Fuck the system!!!!

R. Miles (profile) says:

I hope the RIAA sends a notice!

This should be very interesting to watch.

If the RIAA files, backlash from public outrage will certainly occur.

If the RIAA doesn’t file, then current cases should pay attention as it becomes evident RIAA isn’t about “justice”, but picks and chooses battles for the sole purpose of recouping revenue. It can also be used as an argument to dismiss any future attempts at a lawsuit.

Either way, the RIAA is between a rock and a hard place.

Karma. One’s gotta love it.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: I hope the RIAA sends a notice!

Copyright isn’t like trademark law, they don’t have to go after the infringers, and that inaction cannot be used against them. They also could go directly to these kids and offer them a license on the cheep or even free just so they can keep suing without looking like hypocrites. Both these options assumes that the RIAA aren’t idiots and do look ahead, but we all know that they are and will probably sue despite potential backlash.

Tgeigs (profile) says:

“Admittedly, the world of copyright law is beyond complicated”

And isn’t that a huge part of the problem? Isn’t it an egregious mistake to create a law system that supposedly takes 6-8 years of schooling to understand, and then apply that system to EVERYONE (most of which won’t do those 6-8 years)?

It’s that complication that allows groups like the RIAA to potentially take legal action against these kids, then when asked they can just shrug and say “Hey, the lawyers said we had to do this”.

Hugh says:

I’m sorry but this is just tee totally stupid. Your telling me ASCAP is telling summer camps that they cant have sing-a-longs? You know from that article about the girl scouts, this is how far the RIAA and every other IAA has blown copyright out of perportion. This is going to cause kids that are growing up now to hate music, and guess what the RIAA and ASCAP will just go bankrupt because the kids they said couldnt have sing-a-longs today will not listen to music as they get older. Then as the CD generation gets older and cant hear music anymore, they will no longer have the money coming in. Then after they fail maybe someone will say sure you can teach or sing any song you care too, theres no one left to sue anymore.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

This may be old news but it demonstrates the issue with Copyright and public performances. I doubt the intent of the law was to extract a fee from every group of people singing a song in a non-commercial manner.

If you recall, right after 9-11 a bunch of Congressmen and Senators gathered on the steps on Congress to sing God Bless America. I wonder if ASCAP sent the Congress a bill for their ‘public performance’?

Anonymous Coward says:

Boycott anything RIAA related

Just boycott anything RIAA related. It they do not want free promotion then do not promote any RIAA represented product.

There is lots of alternatives to RIAA represented product and purchasing RIAA represented product. Personally I followed this boycott for a few years now – undoubtedly RIAA blames me for lost revenue and would incorrectly assume I was a pirate (but my music purchase have increased but not to the benefit of the RIAA). After all as more ‘artist’ see non-RIAA products getting more money they will drop the RIAA and follow the money.

Overcast (profile) says:

Of course, the idea that this video could somehow create a direct negative impact to the sales of Fleetwood Mac songs is simply absurd.

Right now the main thing impacting the sales of various songs is in fact the RIAA and it’s HATE on consumers.

Maybe it’s silly, trivial or absurd – but many people will buy or not buy on principle.

Seriously – they are trying to tax radio stations to play their crap now. They are more or less stating to the public “if you use our stuff, we will bleed you for every cent we can”.

And as far as that goes… I can find other things to do. Most of the music I like, I own now. However; there’s still a lot I would like to get – but if it means the RIAA gets a cut – forget it. I’ll not help fund their crusade against consumers.

wendy halle(y) says:

correction re RIAA

The RIAA represents the interests of record labels who control master use rights of recorded music, not the use of musical compositions. Moreover, the RIAA itself doesn’t have the ability or the right to request to have this content taken down, or to stop schools from covering music. It’s the music publisher who administers this Fleetwood Mac title (or the writers themselves), who have the right to get this video taken down from YouTube or to sue for infringement. Granted the major music publishers are owned by the major record labels, but in many ways, they operate separately. Music publishers have their own trade association, the National Music Publishers Association, which so far has not attacked consumers the way the RIAA has.

Anonymous Coward says:

F–k the RIAA. The longer I live, and the more I read about the RIAA, their hired goons, brilliant legal minds, and gifted PR strategists, the more I consider a move to bootleg music. I’m one of those schmucks still paying for music, and I’m starting to wonder why I even bother being an honest consumer. If the RIAA is going to engage in guerrilla legal tactics against elementary school children, then their music product has become the grapes for my generation.

I’ll boycott the RIAA’s f—ing grapes until they stop beating up on housing project twelve-year-olds (a few years ago in New York, a child’s mother was pressured into handing over $2 grand in a dubious ‘settlement’ agreement with the RIAA goons) and elementary school children.

Anonymous Coward says:

It is a bit tiresome to keep reading all these references to the RIAA when, in fact, this is just plain wrong. If blog sites want to make fun of some of the extreme acts by copyright holders and their agents, then at least use the names of the holders and the agents. Anything less is being just plain lazy and inaccurate in relating accurate facts.

Anonymous Coward says:

The longer we boycott the more musicians will have this in mind when choosing to whom to sign with. As any new band I become interested in , I check the RIAA board to see if they are under them and if so, I keep looking….

There are a lot of good music out there and bands that don’t want to get caught under the RIAA radar.


Thank you Stevie, Love your music! Glad to see you on the right side. You were great last Oct in Rosemont Il, Thank you!

JGM says:

Re: Re:

Shoddy, yes, but reporting of what, exactly? The only “fact” here is that these kids sang this song and it’s on YouTube. *Everything* else is Mike parroting another blogger’s (ill-informed and mis-directed, as you and others point out, and likely completely baseless to boot) speculations about what somebody else *might* do about it, with some ad-hominem attack thrown in for good measure.

Such is the pressure in the blogosphere to keep pumping out the content that a even a “respected” website will try to drum up a “story” out of thin air like this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Welcome to what I consider the “Masnick Effect” on blogs. You post an opinion, that links to another opinion, that is based on an opinion column, that is based on rumors or opinions of others. Then you wait a few weeks, and when you right a post about similar material, you link to it as fact (or without suggesting it is only opinion).

So a couple of weeks from now, we will have another anti-RIAA spew from Mike, and in there will be a line like “RIAA is screwing around again, just like when they went after innocent children”. It will appear as a fact, when it is really just a series of opinions and unchecked details.

I figure if Mike is so shoddy at checking facts and properly couching his posts, I would have to wonder about his ability to forecast the future of digital media.

Brian Reich (user link) says:


Have you seen the pilot for Glee, the new show on Fox about a school glee club? They sing popular songs — and there are rights issues that are raised as a result. The creator was interviewed by Terri Gross and talked about how they dealt with it (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104199257). In a nutshell, he said they write the script with the songs they want to use and then approach the artists directly and ask for permission. So far, they have had a lot of support from the artists because they appreciate the ways to get their songs out to a new audience.

TonsoTunez (profile) says:

Mike ... Before Getting Your Panties In A Bunch...

Please, please, please … just for once, try to get your facts straight before choosing to display your ignorance.

Your favorite whipping boy, the RIAA, has no involvement whatsoever with these types of uses. Their interest is only in copyrighted, commercially released recordings owned by their members …

This is a songwriter, music publisher issue.

YouTube has licenses with the performing rights societies (BMI, ASCAP, SESAC) so that aspect is covered…

The only possible hiccup might be with music publishers if the school did not secure a licenses that allow the synchronization of audio with video … Most schools are careful about handling such details … and most license for such uses are granted gratis.

I know you feel it is you duty to wake up each morning, stumble out of bed and find something new to be wrong about … but, your inability to comprehend anything you rant about is getting a little tiresome.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...