The "karma police" are coming for you, Prince.
An interesting battle is taking place on Google's
Prince has been adamant about protecting his likeness from appearing on YouTube or taking down unauthorized recordings when they crop up on eBay
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
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
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.