When Universal pulled a Megaupload video featuring many of the label’s A-list musicians promoting the media sharing company, YouTube and Google were quick to respond with claims that Universal’s control of media was unlawful. Although Universal has now put Megaupload’s promotional video back up on YouTube, the event put into question the ethics of controlling internet media.
When UMG first pulled the video from YouTube, the label claimed that Megaupload had no right to include musical endorsements from artists like P Diddy, Will.i.am, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, and Chris Brown. When it came time for the court filings, however, UMG had a different defense.
Universal attorney Kelly Klaus stated that UMG was simply utilizing a media removal system that Google had provided, stating, “What actually transpired was UMG’s use of YouTube’s Content Management System, which UMG is contractually authorized to use pursuant to its written agreement with YouTube. That is a matter of contract between two private companies-UMG and YouTube-not a notice sent pursuant to the DMCA.” Although UMG argued that they have the right to manage media on YouTube, they never stated any reasoning as to why the label wished the Megaupload video be pulled from the website.
In this case, YouTube’s parent company Google sided with Megaupload, stating, “Our partners do not have the right to take down videos from YouTube unless they own the rights to them or they are live performances controlled through exclusive agreements with their artists.”
Since UMG had no right to control this media on YouTube, “YouTube advised UMG Recordings, Inc. that it would restore full access to all instances of the Video on YouTube as of this past Tuesday (as apparently has happened), and UMG told YouTube that it will take no further action regarding the Video pending the resolution of this litigation.”
UMG argued that Megaupload should receive no compensation for the harm and damages since the video was restored within days. Megaupload CEO Kim Dotcom responded to this claim by saying, “Our legal battle with UMG is ongoing and we are going to reveal the whole truth about this censorship and the illegal take down. Lets join together against Internet dictatorship by corporations.”
Here is the video that inspired the controversy.