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Now you know me as Dirty Spaceman, yeah!
October 23, 2011 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Bad Lip Reading's parody video Dirty Spaceman has been removed by YouTube following a DMCA takedown request by Universal Music Group. (previously)

In theory, parody is protected under "fair use", but defining fair use is costly in court, and the 9th Circuit Court has weakened the defense when they denied fair use protection to the Dr. Seuss O.J. Murder Trial in 2007.

Dirty Spaceman parodies Check It Out by Nicki Minaj and will.i.am, who also appears in BLR's Everybody Poops parodying the Black Eyed Peas.

There isn't much information about whether any of BLR's other videos have takedown requests pending against them, but presumably the music videos are all vulnerable. His recent video Morning Dew depends upon three different original source videos, for example.

I would assume that BLR's videos of American presidential candidates are safe however. Oh, Michele Bachmann apparently loves her bad lip reading video.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, BLR explains that his mother's deafness is origin of his interest ing lipreading and his describes his production process, noting that his improving skill at lip reading has started causing some problems.
posted by jeffburdges (24 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Anyone else notice that BLR kinda casts apl.de.ap as the Android in Everybody Poops?
posted by jeffburdges at 10:54 AM on October 23, 2011


I've found a non-facebook source for the Dr. Seuss O.J. Murder Trial text, not sure what the original book looked like though.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:56 AM on October 23, 2011


The link to youtube works for me. Missing something?
posted by leotrotsky at 11:01 AM on October 23, 2011


Oh geez. I'm a copyright hag, and think this easily qualifies as Fair Use. Every time some bullshit like this comes up, I want to quit my job...
posted by queensissy at 11:02 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Working for me too. Weird.
posted by Samizdata at 11:05 AM on October 23, 2011


leotrotsky, Samizdata: someone reposted it under a different Youtube username. I'd assume this will disappear soon too.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:07 AM on October 23, 2011


Thank God I bought the iTunes song. Hope they can't pull an Amazon and steal it off my iPod :-( I absolutely LOVE BLR and was so happy when it was posted here and I got to explore all their awesome vids. And the funny thing is, that because of those parody videos, I BOUGHT a lot of the original songs (I even bought a Nicki Minaj album, having never heard her stuff before). So, for me at least, parodies are not only a good and fun thing, but they are also a great potential source of advertising and even revenue. The only thing I think BLR could and should have done was to list the actual original videos/songs used so people could refer to them and perhaps purchase them.
posted by 1000monkeys at 11:19 AM on October 23, 2011


Samizdata would be a perfect term for things like the "Dirty Spaceman" YouTube video, which is passed around the web like the samizdat texts of old, on the run from DMCA takedowns.
posted by Kattullus at 11:40 AM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I doubt the song has any copyright issues, 1000monkeys, given he composes completely new music for the videos. It's only the videos that face copyright problems.

I enjoy the BLR songs myself, even not watching the video, but interesting I won't listen without the video playing somewhere, like a minimized window. Very odd.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:54 PM on October 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


What the hell is it about record companies that makes them do stuff like this? I can understand why, if your money was made selling Black Eyed Peas CD's, you wouldn't want people out there ripping Black Eyed Peas MP3s and posting them on the web for free.

But do they really believe that Bad Lip Reading is somehow getting money that might have gone to them instead? As strategic business decisions go, this is like my presidential campaign where I am courting voters who are angry at Obama because he's busy trying to trick the bridesmaid instead of fixing the economy.

I'm polling very well in the likely voters with dementia demographic! They can't all be declared unfit to manage their own affairs in the next year!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:11 PM on October 23, 2011


Kattullus: "Samizdata would be a perfect term for things like the "Dirty Spaceman" YouTube video, which is passed around the web like the samizdat texts of old, on the run from DMCA takedowns."

Yeah, well, that's kind of why I stole it shamelessly from William Gibson's Red Star, Winter Orbit for my old domain name and used it for my online identity.
posted by Samizdata at 4:15 PM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


(Although I did take the liberty of changing one "S" to a "Z"...)
posted by Samizdata at 4:16 PM on October 23, 2011


IMO his music production kicks the originals to the curb. His versions just sound better ... and are hilarious.
posted by vicx at 4:35 PM on October 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's okay, William Gibson had all the good ideas first.
posted by Kattullus at 4:38 PM on October 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


What the hell is it about record companies that makes them do stuff like this? I can understand why, if your money was made selling Black Eyed Peas CD's

They also posted the actual video themselves on their own youtube account.

posted by delmoi at 4:43 PM on October 23, 2011


Kattullus: "That's okay, William Gibson had all the good ideas first."

Yeah, that and my OCD hatred of numbers used as identity distinctions, like usernamexxxx, because username was taken.
posted by Samizdata at 6:12 PM on October 23, 2011


In theory, parody is protected under "fair use", but defining fair use is costly in court

And it would be up to YouTube to do it. Yeah, no way they don't honor this takedown.

presumably the music videos are all vulnerable

of course they are. they're using other artists copyrighted video material.

I agree it's clearly fair use, but should YouTube really fight for it? I don't see why. It's not like YT is hurting for quality content.

A lot of the links in the Slashdot link are broken. Maybe put a few more links into the FPP (from the more inside)?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:04 AM on October 24, 2011


The best way YouTube could fight is by not fighting. Instead, just take down "Check it out" from that official channel above. Not for copyright, but just because YouTube isn't obligated to host the studio's video. If studio's want YouTube to host their video, they need to be cool about fair use. Otherwise, the video gets dumped.
posted by BurnChao at 3:14 AM on October 25, 2011


Check It Out currently has 40,842,455 views alone, which is more than twice as many as BLR has total with all of its videos (not to mention the views that UMG gets as a whole).

So no way. Sorry, yeah, I wish YouTube was a paragon of IP virtue as well, but it's a for-profit entity. Even the risks of a lawsuit cost too much to bother. The risks of pulling "Check It Out" off YouTube are enough of a cost to pull down one BLR video.

It sucks, but YouTube is not a monopoly. BLR can publish Dirty Spaceman on another video-sharing site. If users are upset at YouTube's actions, they should stop using the service.

And if BLR is shut down at every video-sharing site, I'm sure they could countersue UMG for damages if they wanted. America the Beautiful.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:11 AM on October 25, 2011


At first I assumed it would be basically the same song with the lyrics replaced, but when I tried to watch the original to find out what they did with the "Lucy got a secret Showcat - MYAAA!" bit, the music was completely different and the video was edited differently at the end.

So it's not riffing off the music, it is just riffing off the video, so if you listen to Dirty Spaceman without the video that inspired it, it loses that connection, and it's just a song with crazy lyrics.
posted by RobotHero at 11:28 AM on October 25, 2011


Next with a new interview.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:06 PM on October 26, 2011


Oops, cortex deleted the Washington Post interview post, which is way better than the Rolling Stone interview I linked here.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:15 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I watched the Michelle Bachman video and that doesn't look anything like what her lips are actually saying .. I guess the whole joke is "bad lip reading," but then you could put whatever text you want in there ... which again, the whole point ...
posted by mrgrimm at 3:33 PM on October 27, 2011


Senator Leahy has been trying to make this sort of problem much much worse.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:40 PM on October 27, 2011


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