But apparently, in a world where terrestrial media formats are paying next to nothing in royalties, it seems like any Internet media format is stuck with the bill. With Slacker Radio, Rhapsody, Spotify and other streaming apps and websites shelling out billions of dollars in royalties to artists and music publishers, somehow the money-hungry giants, spearheaded by the Recording Industry Association of America, certain politicians and licensing organizations, are demanding more money.
Weird Al Yankovic made a fortune off of doing parodies for more than 35 years. You don't see them going after him - he believes in fair use of hit songs for parodies. Of course, some top acts, such as Prince and Paul McCartney, have expressed their disinterest in Yankovic doing parody of their songs. A rivalry between him and Atlantic Records would brew up following his parody of James Blunt's "You're Beautiful", titled "You're Pitiful" and that rivalry would spill over into his "White & Nerdy" parody video.
Let's move on to one of the most popular parody musicians in the digital age: YouTube's Bart Baker, a Chicago-area native. Baker has been making music parodies for the past three years, parodying songs like LMFAO's "Sorry For Party Rocking" ("I Should Have Worn A Condom"), Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball".
A recent video that has come under scrutiny is Baker's parody of Lorde's "Royals", which was taken down due to a so-called copyright infringement request made by SONGS Music Publishing (which has offices in NYC, LA and London) stating that the parody is not considered as "fair use". Of course, YouTube networks for creators and brands, such as Fullscreen, would disagree with SONGS' stance on the ordeal and that the takedown and copyright strike against Baker was inappropriate.
Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos would take to task and take on SONGS CEO Matt Pincus on Twitter regarding the issue for not only Baker's channel, but other channels managed by Fullscreen:
Of course, even during the back-and-forth on Twitter, Pincus manages to throw the National Music Publishers Association’s suit against Fullscreen for allegedly using unlicensed music in their partners’ videos in Strompolo's face. I would proceed to make a tweet of my own:
Pincus did in fact made a response to my tweet, but he has since removed it. So after a few days offline and hundreds of thousands of missed web impressions, SONGS removes their copyright claim and the video has since been restored.
It still doesn't help that the fact that YouTube's copyright strike system is flawed and that some people get away with posting videos for copywritten media while those who upload parodies of copywritten music are the ones getting picked on by the music industry giants.
Whether YouTube fixes their own internal issues or not depends on the YouTube network of content creators. It's going to take a dedicated group of people to get the message across to them that the current system isn't working.
bart baker's recent parodies
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