Songwriter Claims He Was Exploited By Google... But A Few Seconds Of Logical Thinking Disproves That

from the ok,-let's-work-this-through dept

A bunch of folks have sent in the latest PR attempt by some musicians in the recording industry to force Google to pay unsustainable rates to keep their music on YouTube. Pete Waterman, who apparently co-wrote the Rick Astley "Rick Roll" song Never Gonna Give You Up has come out saying that Google "exploited" him, because he earned a grand total of £11 last year, even while the video was a hit on YouTube.

There are probably more details here, because no one actually says how much Google paid overall. For example, part of the problem may simply be the deal that Waterman himself signed concerning his royalties. But, more to the point, it's not Google that's doing any exploiting at all. Here's the simple logic process to run through (which Waterman and all the folks supporting this PR stunt failed to do):
  • How much attention did Waterman's song get last year thanks to YouTube?
  • Fine, take away YouTube. How much attention would Waterman and his song have received last year
Yup. No one would be talking about Waterman or his song at all in the absence of YouTube and the rickrolling phenomenon. The only "exploiting" being done is now, by Waterman, because he got totally lucky in that a bunch of internet jokesters happened to pick his song (mainly for how bad it is) to use as part of an internet joke. He deserves to get paid for that? It could have just as easily been any other ridiculous pop hit in the 80s. And, if it had been, then no one would be talking or caring about Waterman at all.

Furthermore, it was never YouTube making use of the music, but it was all these people on the internet, adopting the meme. YouTube was just the platform they used for it. So, no, Waterman wasn't exploited by YouTube in the slightest, though he seems to have no trouble at all trying to exploit the fact that he got lucky and whine about it -- even though it's the only reason his name is now in the news again.

Filed Under: exploit, pete waterman, rickroll, videos
Companies: google

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    hegemon13, 13 Apr 2009 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Just making a great movie (replace with song, software, whatever) is apparently no longer enough."

    Sure it is. I see few movies in the theaters because, with two children, it means seeing a crappy kids' movie or paying a babysitter, which is more than I am willing to pay for a movie. I usually wait to Redbox them.

    That said, I went to both Dark Knight and Watchmen in the theater. Dark Knight was all because of recommendations. Guess when I decided to see Watchmen? When I saw the "3 minutes of Rorschach" segment online. For free. Had I seen the whole movie, I would only have been that much more pumped to see it in the theater. The movie is visually stunning, and it deserves a theatrical presentation. It gave me a reason to go out and see it, so I did. Same with Dark Knight.

    If your argument, that no one will see a movie more than once, were actually true, then no one would buy DVDs. First, the theaters would have "destroyed the market" for those DVDs by daring to show the movie. Then, movie rentals would have killed off what's left. If no one watched a movie more than once, there would be absolutely no reason to buy rather than rent.

    Yet, DVDs sell by the billions. I will buy Watchmen, despite having already spent $15.00 for a "fork-and-screen" showing. I will also at least rent the "Black Freighter" animated tie-in. Seeing a rip online would have changed none of this.

    Clearly, you have no f-ing clue. Just because you would not buy or attend a movie you have seen before, does not mean no one else will, and many do. At least 30% of the retail DVDs on my shelves are movies that originally entered my library in DivX form.

Add Your Comment

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

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.