The saga of the Megaupload viral video takedown just got weirder. Universal has responded that several of the artists portrayed in the video did not consent to appearing in it, and Techdirt reports featured artist will.i.am filed a takedown notice of his own for that reason. Megaupload insists that it has contracts for all artists and material featured in the video, so someone on one side or the other is obviously either lying or mistaken.
I do wonder why those artists allowed Megaupload to film them singing its praises if they didn’t want Megaupload to use what it filmed. I mean, it should seem pretty clear that they weren’t just going to lock that footage away in a vault against a rainy day. And, as Techdirt points out, it would seem that will.i.am’s dispute with Megaupload should be contractual, rather than copyright-related.
Techdirt suggests that Universal might be unwittingly helping Megaupload’s ad campaign via the Streisand Effect. But on the other hand, that depends on whether any publicity is good publicity. If Megaupload wants to look like the friend of the artist, it’s definitely a black mark against it to be accused of disrespecting those artists’ rights.
At any rate, this doesn’t change the broader issue—that big media companies want to expand their ability to force immediate removal of things they don’t like (whether music, videos, or e-books) without any sort of due process. We’ll eventually learn, in court, whether Megaupload had the rights it said it did in the video—but in the mean time, the video remains unavailable.