Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Who's the Creep Now, Prince?

The "karma police" are coming for you, Prince.

An interesting battle is taking place on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) YouTube between the eccentric pop star and rock-critic fave Radiohead.

Prince has been adamant about protecting his likeness from appearing on YouTube or taking down unauthorized recordings when they crop up on eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) . His Purpleness must have figured that issuing a round of takedown notices on YouTube would be a breeze, after fans uploaded video recordings of him performing at last month's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California.

He was wrong.

Prince's self-owned record label asked that the clips be removed on YouTube, and the video-sharing site complied. However, the most popular clips were those of Prince performing a cover of Radiohead's first mainstream hit, "Creep."

When alerted about the move during an interview, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke responded by saying that Radiohead should have the rights to decide whether to block the clip. What would you do if you were YouTube?

YouTube has had run-ins over copyright-trampling in the past, including last year's notorious $1 billion lawsuit from Viacom (NYSE: VIA  ) .

Now it has a unique question of intellectual capital ownership. Who has the right to block or unblock a clip? Is it the fan with the cameraphone who shot the concert footage? The performer? The owner of the song?

Some of YouTube's most popular channels belong to guitar-strumming crooners like Mia Rose and Marie Digby, who will occasionally belt out an acoustic cover. Do the songwriters have ownership sway there? If so, then Yorke clearly has a point.

The face of YouTube is changing lately, with corporate giants overtaking the small fry. The channel with the most views this week on YouTube is Hulu, the partnership between News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS  ) Fox and General Electric's (NYSE: GE  ) majority-owned NBC Universal, filling the site with legal Family Guy and The Simpsons clips. The three channels with the most views of all-time on YouTube are now Universal Music, Sony's (NYSE: SNE  ) Sony BMG music label, and CBS (NYSE: CBS  ) .

This doesn't mean that you can't feed your daily fix of sneezing pandas, laughing babies, and subway rants on the site. But it certainly means that YouTube has a lot of companies with fat legal teams watching the site even more closely today.

Who's right, Prince or Radiohead? Has YouTube gone corporate? Lend us your thoughts by posting in the comment box below (yep, just like on YouTube itself).

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a "clip culture" fashion victim. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. eBay has been singled out in Motley Fool Stock Advisor. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 655480, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/25/2016 7:22:24 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,169.27 -53.76 -0.30%
S&P 500 2,143.16 -8.17 -0.38%
NASD 5,283.40 -26.43 -0.50%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/25/2016 4:00 PM
GOOGL $828.55 Down -7.19 -0.86%
Alphabet (A shares… CAPS Rating: *****
CBS $55.99 Down -0.36 -0.64%
CBS CAPS Rating: ***
EBAY $29.05 Down -0.17 -0.58%
eBay CAPS Rating: ****
FOX $25.71 Up +0.04 +0.16%
Twenty-First Centu… CAPS Rating: ***
GE $28.65 Down -0.27 -0.93%
General Electric CAPS Rating: ****
SNE $31.85 Down -0.29 -0.90%
Sony CAPS Rating: ***
VIA $41.85 Down -0.05 -0.12%
Viacom CAPS Rating: ***