June 21st, 2011
Preface: I first read about this yesterday morning and have been singing “Friday” to myself ever since. I’m praying this song never is newsworthy again because it takes me days to get it out of my head.
The YouTube hit video “Friday” by Rebecca Black is currently disabled due to a pending lawsuit between Rebecca Black and the song’s producers/writers Ark Music Factory. Currently in its place reads: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Rebecca Black. Sorry about that.”
If you haven’t heard of “Friday” or Rebecca Black: (1) you’re lucky and (2) you’ve missed out on a pretty major internet sensation. Originally posted on YouTube on March 14, 2011, the video amassed over 167 million views in a mere three months. The most interesting thing though is that most of these viewers vehemently hate the song. It had over 3.1 million dislikes on YouTube when it was taken down. But people keep watching it for some reason.
The video is still available (most likely unofficially) on other websites, although it seems likely that these sites may receive take down notices soon.
The lawsuit mainly centers on the issue of who owns the song. Black’s mother and representatives claim that the $4,000 fee paid to produce the song involved the agreement that Black would have master and composition ownership rights. Ark claims that they own the composition, arguing that their contract with Black was not effective because it was not court-approved. New York law requires court approval over entertainment contracts involving minors; however, the process of gaining such approval can be costly and time consuming. The procedure is in place largely to protect the adult party from having the minor later revoke the contract by claiming incapacity because of infancy. As Ark Music Factory as a party is not considered a minor, there argument about the lack of court approval seems weak, considering that Rebecca Black is not the party trying to get out of the written agreement. As I haven’t seen the terms of the actually contract, it’s hard to know what was actually agreed upon, as the parties’ public statements have been conflicting.
It is very likely that this case will settle and even more likely that the “Friday” video will be back on YouTube and bigger than ever.