from the everybody-hurts dept
REM's music has found itself at the center of copyright disputes in the past, but those instances have mostly occurred in the more traditional sorts of disputes, such as accusations that one band copied another band and blah blah blah. It's part of a series of stories that are old, tired, and contrary to the way popular culture works these days, but at least they contain a shadow of relevance to the original purposes of copyright. However, this time what is on display is the result of a culture of permission run amok, as an Australian politician had his video reading mean tweets about him removed because an REM song was playing in the background.
On Thursday, Baird tweeted a video link of him reading mean tweets, a take-off of US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel’s popular videos. Everybody Hurts by REM played in the background as Baird read the hate mail, including a tweet that said: “You look like the ‘smiling assassin’. Your charming smile hides your black, Liberal heart.” But by Friday, YouTube had pulled the clip, citing a copyright claim by Warner Chappell, which publishes the US band’s music.Welcome to our world, Mr. Politician, where copyright and the culture of permission have been so twisted into insanely idiotic knots as to remove a funny video under the notion that a portion of an REM song somehow inhibits REM's ability to make new music. Picture, if you will, teleporting the original creators of copyright law into the present, sitting them down at a boardroom table, and having the executives over at Warner Chappell explain to them how the copyright provisions authored so long ago would result in this sort of thing. After those old guys were done accusing you of witchcraft for showing them the video in the first place, there would likely be much head-scratching over how this whole thing could have gotten so misused.
“Mean tweets video removed,” Baird tweeted on Friday. “Working with YouTube and Warner to resolve. Fact: everybody hurts, sometimes.”
One can only hope that having this happen to a politician that deigns to have a personality such as Baird might be the impetus for some kind of reform, even if it's only local reform.
He appeared confused about a tweet that said “The Premier hates Justin Bieber”.Or the current state of the application of copyright, for that matter. Because this kind of thing isn't what copyright was meant to be.
“Yeah, of course I hate Justin Bieber. Who doesn’t hate Justin Bieber?”