Probably the most aggressive major record label, when it comes to supporting ridiculously overaggressive attacks on infringement and things like taking down websites, would be Universal Music -- the company whose ex-CEO once gleefully declared to the world that he was too clueless
to hire someone who understands technology (he has since moved on to lead Sony Music
). Of course, we always discover that the most aggressive copyright maximalists are later caught infringing themselves... So it's not surprising to hear that the release of the album for Universal Music recording artist Tyga has run into some copyright problems
. While the album had been sent to retailers and was available for pre-order on iTunes, it was yanked off iTunes, and a note was sent to retailers telling them to "pull and return" the album.
The issue? Apparently the title track, "Careless World," has some sound clips from a Martin Luther King speech... and no one bothered to clear it. Oops. Of course, many of us think that locking up
MLK's works are a travesty, but his heirs have been incredibly aggressive
over the years in claiming that they deserve to get paid for any attempts to honor MLK. Of course, if Universal Music wasn't such an extreme copyright maximalist we might have a bit of sympathy for their plight. But given that they've made this bed, there's a bit of irony in noting that they now have to lie in it.