Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jack Johnson is a jackass

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

On Thanksgiving day, I received this missive:

Dear papabradstein,

Video Disabled

A copyright owner has claimed it owns some or all of the audio content in your video 3B Plays with a Friend. The audio content identified in your video is We're Going To Be Friends by Jack Johnson. We regret to inform you that your video has been blocked from playback due to a music rights issue.

Replace Your Audio with AudioSwap

Don't worry, we have plenty of music available for your use. Please visit our AudioSwap library to learn how you can easily replace the audio in your video with any track from our growing library of fully licensed songs.

Other Options

If you think there's been a mistake, or you have other questions, please visit the Copyright Notice page in your account.

The YouTube Content Identification Team

I'm sure the timing was determined by some bucket of bits and bolts, not by the jackass himself, but receiving this on a day when people come together to give thanks and enjoy each other's company was icing.

Let's set the record straight on a few issues here
  • I'm all about artists making money, making lots of it, if they can.

  • I had a choice when I acquired that song, and I chose to buy it because...well, see my first point.

  • As I'm sure you know, jackass, you had a choice--hell, you could have even made money off my video, which is what you're all about it seems.
There are other artists who have automatically granted permission for the use of their songs in videos of mine. Of course, there are others who have refused, as you did, to grant permission. If it's true that a man is known by the company he keeps, then I'm sure that you're happy to keep company with the greatest self-absorbed, cornrowed, plastic surgery victim of our time, who also refused permission.

What is it with you artists who think that by blocking your fans from using and sharing your work you can make more money? Are you really that stupid?

Let's be honest here, jackass, this comes down to money, and my use of your song didn't cost you a dime. In fact, I bought your album so I could use that song, so you made out pretty well on this deal. And you're not playing on street corners, hoping for enough spare change so you can buy a bottle of Boone's to keep you warm while you bunk under some overpass. I'm doing all right too, but certainly none of what I have comes courtesy of you. I'm not making any money off of you, jackass. What I have done is akin to borrowing a cup of sugar from a neighbor.

I know that this whole sharing idea isn't a foreign concept to you, jackass, but perhaps you should point your army of suits to your own words before you set them loose on nice, if foulmouthed, fathers.

Johnson has stated in several interviews that a big part of his success involved his friends recording "bootlegs" of his tracks and distributing them at surf competitions. Johnson has also stated that he supports the sharing of live recordings and bootlegs of his music, many of which can be found here.

"It's pretty crazy. There's stuff I would find online that I'd only given to one friend, so I know how it got there," Johnson says. "It's been a spider-web effect. That's the whole reason all this [success] started. I'm sure there's lots of people who hate [downloading], but I really dig it."
Speaking of your own words, I don't suppose that you have to mean every word that you sing, so I wonder...can you tell me which of these you didn't mean when you sold them to us like a box of used lightbulbs?
If you have two
Give one to your friend
If you have three
Give one to your friend and me
It's always more fun
To share with everyone
I also wonder what it's like. As Ani sang,
I wonder if you miss your old friends
Once you've proven what you're worth?
Yeah I wonder
When you're a big star
Will you miss the earth?

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  1. I watched that current video of 3B, so current I was not sure which bald headed baby he was, and the music that played seemed to reflect what you have done. "Express yourself." I am not sure if that was the original music that went with it, but it seems fitting now.

    It just shows what the internet can and cannot do.

  2. I should have mentioned that I was able to find one suitable track among the few that YouTube offers as replacements, most of which come from bands that you've never heard of, unless you lived next to their mothers' houses when they were recording in their garages.

    I didn't mind the double entendre of Express Yourself either.

  3. Clearly you were about to take down the entire entertainment industry. Glad they got you.

  4. VDaddy: And I quote...
    Here they come here come the bastards
    Bury your head deep in the sand
    Anonymity is a virtue in this day and age
    Amazing hand dexterity
    Flagrant misuse of security
    Better run, run, run, run, run
    Run Run Run Run, here they come

    Steve: Well, now you've given away my whole nefarious plot. I guess I'll just have to come up with another.

  5. I am glad to see that the entertainment industry is so quick to police violations. Maybe we should hire them for airport security too.

  6. Anonymous11:48 PM

    Those music industry lawyer types are so behind the times. Don't they know about viral marketing, for heaven's sake? Word of mouth, baby. Share the love.

  7. CAGirl: I left out the part of the email where they asked me to take off my shoes while I read their message.

    Amama: What's galling is that the artists get it, but they're just employees of corporations that don't get it.