I know, that title sounds like a cruel joke. Those who have been reading this blog for awhile know we sometimes post something fun on Fridays around here, and "copyright infringement," isn't normally a lot of fun to talk about, but hang with me just a moment.
Did you know you can copyright using the word "Friday" 24 times in a song?
Ever since 13 year old Rebecca Black sang a song written for her by a company paid to help teens produce videos (mostly just for fun), and it somehow went viral, there has been no shortage of jokes and spoof songs about Friday being the day after Thursday - right before the weekend. The lyrics are only slightly more enlightening than the old "Mairzy Doats" song, and are not nearly as clever, as there is NO double meaning - the song is literally all about Friday and the where it is placed in the weekly line-up.
But now that there is money involved, this poor girl's parent are fighting with the "record label," (those are finger quotes) over who has the copyright to the song. She didn't write it, but she has the rights to the recording, and the lyrics would be pretty useless without her having recorded it, and the argument goes round and round. The Hollywood reporter has a thorough report on the topic HERE.
So this brings us to the point that relates to us, which is that we, as bloggers, webmasters, and social networkers can seriously never afford to forget how important copyright law is - no matter how silly or insignificant the topic might seem. Unless you're actually re-selling the content (e.g. writing a book, or printing a quote on a T-Shirt to sell), most of what we do on our blogs and websites is usually covered legally under the "fair use" laws. However, proving such in court can be very expensive in a legal battle, so choose your battles wisely. In most cases, it is wise to have a policy to immediate take down (as YouTube has done) any content that is not owned by the webmaster of the policy upon the request of the owner. In all of my years of blogging, I've only had to do this twice (not on this blog). In one case, I had quoted someone who had second thoughts about her employer seeing what she had written elsewhere online, and she was contacting every blog which had reprinted it to try to cover her tracks. In another case, I had used material I believed belonged to a friend, and unwittingly stepped into a flame war between that friend and someone else. In both cases, I was well within my "rights" as a blogger, but the fight simply wasn't worth it, and I immediately took the material down, and confirmed I had done so to the requestor with an apology for the inconvenience. I never heard from either of them again. Had I stood my ground, and insisted on my "rights," the story might have ended quite badly.
The same is the case with YouTube and the Friday video, except in their case, they have deep pockets, and are A LOT more likely to be sued than I ever would be. My guess is that all of this will be resolved and the video will be back up very quickly. As Aaron Moss asked in The Hollywood Reporter link above, "[W]ho would admit to liking this song, let alone owning it?"
Oh, yes, I promised you some Friday Fun, did I not? Here's Team Coco with the song that came before Friday:
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.