Universal Music Takes Down 50 Cent's Official YouTube Video

from the how's-that-work-now? dept

Remember how the music labels like to say that everything they do is for the sake of the artists on their label? Yeah. Then remember how Universal Music had 50 Cent’s own personal website declared a pirate site? It seems that UMG quite frequently works against the interests of its artists — both big and small. It’s no secret that 50 Cent and his label (UMG-owned Interscope) are in a state of constant disagreement. But what happens when 50 Cent decides, on Christmas Day, to release his latest “official” video? Universal Music takes it down. 50 Cent’s own YouTube account put up the “official video” for the song “They Burn Me,” but within hours, if you went to that page, you saw the following:

We’ve been hearing lots of similar stories lately of UMG being pretty quick on the trigger to take down videos, even ones that its own artists have been releasing. The label got a lot of attention over the bogus takedown of the MegaUpload video, but it seems like UMG pretty much feels free to take down videos all the time, even those that the artists they’re claiming to “protect” want up.

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Companies: interscope, universal music, youtube

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Comments on “Universal Music Takes Down 50 Cent's Official YouTube Video”

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108 Comments
Hulser (profile) says:

Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

Remember how the music labels like to say that everything they do is for the sake of the artists on their label?

No, I don’t. I know this is a bit of innocent hyperbole, but even if some representative of a recording company said something that outrageous, it wouldn’t be taken seriously. It’s understood that the primary purpose of any company, much less a recording company, is to make money. Now, organizations like the RIAA, on the other hand, do claim to represent the best interests of the artists. (A claim that is almost, but not quite as laughable as it would be if made by a recording company.) I’d see your main point about hypocrisy being relevant if it were the RIAA who somehow got the video pulled, but not UMG.

For the record, I think it’s counterproductive to UMG’s profits to pull the video, but I think they’re within their rights. It may be stupid, but not hypocritical.

Killercool (profile) says:

Re: Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

Actually, I don’t think it IS in their rights.

Please explain to us how, if this video is official, it can be unauthorized, ever? Because while UMG might have the ultimate ownership, their subsidiary, Interscope, has management of it.

Once again, just because you don’t like the use of a thing, doesn’t mean you necessarily have a right to prevent it.

Hulser (profile) says:

Re: Re: Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

Please explain to us how, if this video is official, it can be unauthorized, ever? Because while UMG might have the ultimate ownership, their subsidiary, Interscope, has management of it.

Please explain to us what distinction you make between ?ownership? and ?management?? You seem to be implying that because Interscope is ?managing? the video, it somehow trumps UMG?s rights in ?owning? the video. It clearly doesn?t. Of course I don?t have access to the contracts, but I?d bet money that even if UMG is taking the funds to make the video out of 50 Cent?s cut, they still retain ultimate ownership of the IP. Just because someone put an ?Official video? stamp on the video doesn?t change this.

Killercool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

I would have thought the distinction was quite easy to see. The owner is the person who funds an endeavor, and sets it’s goals and direction. The manager is the person (or in this case, group) who decides the best way to achieve those goals, and takes responsibility for such. That’s why, when someone decides to do it all themselves, they are an “owner/manager.”

Hulser (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

I would have thought the distinction was quite easy to see.

What’s quite easy to see, to everyone but you apparently, is that my question was about the distinction as it relates to your baffling implication that somehow the “managers” have more control of IP than the “owners”. Are you sure you don’t work for an online help desk? They use the same trick of addressing a single sentence out of a paragraph and ignoring the actual question being asked.

I’ll try again…

Because while UMG might have the ultimate ownership, their subsidiary, Interscope, has management of it.

If UMG has the “ultimate ownership” of the video, what relevance does it have who manages it or whether someone designated is as “official”? Do you really think that these factors override who owns the copyright?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

And why wouldn’t one point out the inherent hypocrisy in the assertion that this arrangement is ‘for the artist’ as the lobbying groups that represent the labels and act at their behest often do loudly and incessantly?

I don’t think anyone is arguing they don’t have the ability to get the video pulled (clearly the do). I think some would argue they don’t have the right under the terms of 50’s current contract and the provisions of the DMCA however that fact is largely irrelevant to reality since they don’t need a ‘right’ to get the video pulled thanks to the third party agreement between UMG and YouTube that exists as a directly result of the liabilities created under the DMCA. So in the end what we have a system that’s actively used against an artist’s best interest or wishes that was created in their name to the rallying cry ‘for the artists.’ i.e. hypocrisy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

It’s important to remember that apparently Mike Masnick loves piracy, and loves to give reasons to rip off the major labels.

Even when they’ve done nothing wrong, apparently if he can lie and spin a situation to make them look bad, he’ll do it.

That’s just the kind of person Mike Masnick is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

UMG was completely correct in pulling it. 50 cent is the one doing the ripping off. UMG paid for the video, so it is supposed to go on the UMG channel. 50 cent grabs it, gets all the new views, and thus keeps all the ad revenue himself despite UMG being his venture capitalist in this. Totally douche move.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

I thought there was no money to be made from free videos?

Also if that is the case why didn’t UMG or interscope just rerelease the video on their page? Instead of blocking 50s official version and act like it was off the internet, and not on about 100 other peoples pages already.

rooben (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

But, doesnt 50 cent actually pay for the video, since they take it out of royalties, before he gets paid?

So, UMG gets to deduct the cost of making the video from 50’s salary, and then has a right to the profits from advertising on youtube.

See, what you sre being dishonest about is yes, the probably have the legal right to do so, but that doesnt make it the right thing to do. That is what people get upset about, OF COURSE UMG can do it. But we also feel powerless as entities like UmG get to make all of the rules, and stack the deck, because their money provides undue influence.

50 cent COULD have negotiated video rights, but more likely NO MAJOR studio would sign him if he insisted on it, so it is either play at local clubs your whole life, or sign the contract that is inherently one sided.

Great choice. So, now 50 does some “civil disobedience” by directly releasing the fruits of his labor, his sponsor’s profits be damned. And somehow, you think this makes him an asshole…no, the real assholes are the execs who rely on their underlings to correct their bad decisions, and rake in the profits that this virtual monopoly creates.

Profits are NOT a constitutional right.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

So it’s not really about the artist and supporting said artist; it’s all about the labels.

Thanks for confirming this for us. Now whenever any of your ilk comes along ranting about how Techdirt never supports artists, we’ll just forward them to your representative statement. Because it was never about the artists; any attempt by them to make a little extra money is a douche move.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Maybe you're thinking of the RIAA?

Pulling the video isn’t what’s hypocritical. It’s hypocritical of them to lobby congress under the mantra “we need take-down provisions ‘for the artists'” and then use said take-down provisions to fight said artists. Where the hell do you think organizations like the RIAA get their money, talking-points, and lobbying agenda? Companies like UMG. You’re making a distinction between the two that’s without any functional difference.

Anonymous Coward says:

But UMG had to take down the video to protect the artist!

It’s just like security, imagine if a guy walks up to you at work and says “I’m here to protect you from thieves” and then punches you in the face so hard you’re knocked unconscious for a few hours.

When you wake up you ask “why did you punch me if you’re here to protect me from thieves”.

And the security guard replies “thieves can’t steal what you didn’t make because you were unconscious. I just helped cut down your losses on piracy, your welcome”.

Anonymous Coward says:

By 50 cent putting it up himself, he takes in all the ad revenue, which, considering UMG paid for the video, doesn’t take into account that UMG is his partner in the venture. Dick move on 50 cents part.

Of course UMG should pull it.

And if you weren’t such a disingenuous, intellectually dishonest slimeball, Masnick, you would have done some research and explained that- instead of just waiting for someone that actually understands music to do it for you.

Killercool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

before the crazy guy (AC#3) comes back, I’d like to issue a correction.

This song is under the “Aftermath Entertainment” label, not “Interscope.”

While a petty correction, as Aftermath is also a subsidiary of UMG, my getting the label wrong will probably be used to somehow “disprove” my own, and others’, actual point.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Any use that doesn’t involve sending money to the artist (via the label of course…artists wouldn’t know how to properly manage or distribute money if you just gave it to them…) is STEALING. Every time you hear a song playing on someone else’s car stereo, even if you don’t know who the artist is or can understand the lyrics, you should find out who the artist is and send them a chunk of your paycheck. If you watch a movie that has someone’s music playing it in, you should not only pay to see the movie, but you should send royalties to the label. Sure, the movie producers licensed to play the music in the movie, but did you license to hear the music also? Of course not, because you’re a thieving thief stealer pirate.

Obligatory: /sarcasm

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You might want to explain your position on this one, because you’ve just idiot’ed yourself into a corner. No one ‘stole’ a damn thing. No one even /copied/ a thing. THis is about the artist posting the artist’s work, so how is the artist stealing the artist’s work and keeping the artist from making money?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

This particular video (and the majority of 50’s videos) is one he made to promote a mixtape he released for free. It’s not an official video for his album, it is promotion 50 paid for out of his own pocket.

A little research goes a long way when making statements born of assumption and presenting it as fact. It

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You don’t understand what you’re talking about.

ANY track or music video done while 50 cent has been with UMG was funded at least in part by UMG. His contract stipulates that all of his *music* videos are released via the official label YT site. Basically all artists have this in their contract.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

EMI doesn’t exist anymore- it was sold to… UMG. Google is your friend, freetardo.

50 cent doesn’t have the right to post that video on his personal site and make all the money.

But what do you expect from the second wealthiest rapper/hiphop guy in the world- a multimillionaire who wrote “How to Rob”?

As for the rest of the stupidity you freetards are babbling about, it’s just more inane record label hate so you can try and justify stealing music.

Exactly what Mike Masnick wants you to do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

He’s the President of his own RIAA member label giving him the right to release anything he wants to from the imprint. As far as the EMI/UMG thing that’s relatively new and you would be correct, though it really is irrelevant considering the it is nothing more than a distribution deal. You want me to link you to the definition of that or you think you can handle that all by your lonesome?

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

While I do not have a UMG contract in front of me, do you really doubt that they have a clause in them that says that anything created by the signing artist during the duration of the contract is owned by UMG despite who pays for it, when it’s done, or how it’s done?

He could probably spend ten minutes farting into the mic and UMG will claim ownership if enough people go to see it. That’s why they took down the Megaupload video, they don’t own the artists’ creations, they own the artists.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Who said anything about stealing anything? How are we stealing/promoting stealing from artists by watching, wanting to watch or discussing watching a video the artist released for free?

Is anyone who points out that the labels are behaving stupidly a thief just because you can’t think of anyway to defend their stupidity other than attack those speaking against them?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Who said anything about stealing anything?

The article is yet another lying hit piece by Mike Masnick trying to make record labels look bad. That’s how he tries to help pirates justify ripping music off.

Mike Masnick has an incredibly weak business model in mind for himself, but it depends on piracy. That’s why he spends every day trying to stop piracy enforcement.

hothmonster says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Suuuuuuureeeee, see you later.

Hey who the fuck stole all the tinfoil!

But back to the point, this story has ZERO to do with piracy. Yet anyone who thinks the what the labels did was completely stupid is a “thieving fucking pirate” despite this again having nothing to do with piracy. So I will ask my question again, “Is anyone who points out that the labels are behaving stupidly a thief just because you can’t think of anyway to defend their stupidity other than attack those speaking against them?” and add an addendum: or is because you are a looney nutjob and anyone who doesn’t agree with you must be part of some conspiracy to support piracy or is it just that anyone who doesn’t like copyright or the corrupt actions of the labels must just be a petty thief because otherwise it would shatter your worldview?

sumquy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

ANY track or music video done while 50 cent has been with UMG was funded at least in part by UMG. His contract stipulates that all of his *music* videos are released via the official label YT site. Basically all artists have this in their contract.

why? because you own him? asshats like you are the reason it took 80 years and a bloody war to end slavery in this country.

RD says:

and yet...

And yet, Universal and all the other *AA’s and labels and media companies INSIST that Google, Youtube and ISP’s can stop all piracy overnight, because they should “just know” what is and isn’t infringing, when clearly UMG doesn’t even know what it’s own artists are doing, and then moves AGAINST them to take their content down when it’s clearly legit.

Anonymous Coward says:

This particular video (like the majority of 50’s videos) is one he made to promote a mixtape he released for free. It’s not an official video for his album, it is promotion 50 paid for out of his own pocket, for a project his label put nothing into.

A little research goes a long way when making statements born of assumption and presenting it as fact.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Wait, I thought the mantra here was that nobody needs record labels and they’re all going to die? And that everyone can do it themselves using the internet?

Get your propaganda straight.

oh, and if all the labels ceased to exist and all artists sold their music directly, would you stop stealing it?

Of course not.

You buffoons are transparent.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Wait, I thought the mantra here was that nobody needs record labels and they’re all going to die? And that everyone can do it themselves using the internet?

Wow, then you really haven’t been paying attention. Stop projecting your fears onto us.

oh, and if all the labels ceased to exist and all artists sold their music directly, would you stop stealing it?

Still fixated on getting people to pay for music I see. Cute.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Talk about missing the forest for the trees. People don’t just say record labels are going to die, that you don’t need them anymore and you’re better off self-publishing and using the internet in a vacuum. They say this is light of the legacy content publishing industry fighting change at every turn. That’s what they’re wishing death on and suggesting folks can do without, the idea that the future should be fought at every turn. If labels had a history of innovating quickly and responding to consumer demands with convenient products at reasonable prices do you really think those kinds of comments would proliferate at the rate they do now? People say these things not because they ‘hate labels’ but because they thing the labels failing to adapt is a forgone conclusion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Foul!

@Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 11:43am claims:

“His contract stipulates that all of his *music* videos are released via the official label YT site.”

I claim FOUL! FOUL! FOUL!

YOU of all people have actual access to 50cent/UMG contract??? You’ve seen this clause on 50cent/UMG’s signed comtract? Really????

And then you make the further claim: “Basically all artists have this in their contract.”

Really? Really??? You’ve access to other comparable artists/UMG contracts to provide a statistical analysis? Can you give the actual percentages with standard deviation of contacts so analyzed? Enquiring minds want to know!

I have no idea what’s in 50 cent/UMGs contract. But I do know not to make such stupid assumptions. I also know that 50cent is considered a ‘major artist’. I also know that ‘major artists’ generally have a bit more clout with regards to negotiating the conditions included in their contracts.

‘Assume’ makes an ‘ass’ of ‘u’ and ‘me’. But I’m just going to shorten this to ‘ass’ as in “You’re one.” Leave ‘me’ out of it. I make no presumptions regarding any particular contract I haven’t read myself.

My best guess is that 50cent most likely does indeed own his own promotional material particularly as a result of his own contract negotiations. Of course, I’m just guessing.

If you want to prove me wrong, then post this mythical actual copy of the 50cent/UMG contract you imply that you have access to. Otherwise, stop making up bullshit.

Stuart says:

Re: Simple

It is not slavery.
These are people who because of the changes to the market in the last 5 or more years do not have to have a label. They sign with one because they get cash up front and then the fame be easy.
Fuck em. If an artist signs with some scumbag label, let them. I am cool with idiots looking for a quick buck and easy fame to get fucked.
50 cent is a complete moron. Here he is with all his fame and fans and he continues with a label? Really? Why?
A label that owns HIM. Idiot.

Anonymous Coward says:

Looking at it, there seems to be a lot of “official” claims going on, but it’s not clear who is really official and who is not.

I am suspecting that the video was put up before it’s official release, and UMG moved to get it taken down before it spread.

I would say that much of the “official site” and “official channel” stuff I am seeing for Fiddy ain’t looking so official.

TY says:

UMG have no right to take this down because this track in particular isn’t owned by them it was made from 50`s own cash. Mixtape songs have nothing to do with major labels their from the artists funds for self promotion. I saw some ignorant comments so i just needed to get that out there and the youtube channel and 50`s site aren’t owned by Universal do your research.

Michael says:

Telling it like I see it

The major record labels are the biggest thieves I can think of. When an artist signs a contract with one of them, they basically own that person like a slave and hoard what should be the artists’ rightful profit. Furthermore, they have full control over their stable and copyright all of the artists’ works as their own. Signing to a major label is basically submitting to indentured servitude. Therefore, I don’t feel sorry for 50 cent nor any of their other corporate slaves. If he were an independent artist, he could do whatever he wanted, but he’s not.

Your Retarded says:

Other Rights

I don’t know details of the song in question here, but UMG may have pulled this video because underlying rights weren’t cleared for inclusion on YouTube.

There are more than just artist/label rights embedded in a sound recording (for example, each embedded sample must be cleared with its owners) that 50 may have forgotten to check on before releasing. Online music is more complicated than you think, so check the facts before jumping to conclusions.

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