Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

DeepStream Reflect

Posted by adusheck on February 26, 2017

Prior to doing the Deepstream assignment I had no idea how many examples of copyright infringement existed, or how long issues like this have been around. As you can see from the Dave Grohl video and the drama surrounding Vanilla Ice, music copyright has been an issue for quite some time. When thinking of copyright controversies, I immediately think of Taylor Swift and Spotify. Swift had her music removed from Spotify in 2014. She is very protective about her work and wants it to receive the praise and compensation she believes it deserves. Swift wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, writing that she believes free or virtually free music has lost what music is really about: “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free…I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.” Swift also wrote an essay to Apple Music urging them to compensate artists for streaming their work. Artists such as Swift, Radiohead and Beyoncé and large corporations all have either taken all of their music off of streaming sites such as Spotify or only posted portions of their discography. These artists and companies believe that the hard work and passion that they put into their albums should be compensated and not given for free. Whether it revolved around other artists flat out stealing work, or Napster starting the streaming debate that persists to this day with more advanced sites such as Spotify and Apple Music as previously mentioned. This can be seen in some of the videos that ask the grueling question of “should streaming be legal?” although we pay for streaming it is not nearly what artist would make without access to streaming because many companies cut deals for students and families. I personally have a student Spotify account where I pay 4.99 a month to download basically unlimited amounts of music other than music such as Taylor Swifts and Beyoncé’s’ who are unavailable in full. This is such a small price when one album is typically between 11 and 15 dollars. When numbers are involved this shows why some artists such as Swift feel that artists are undercompensated while others such as Grohl think that that line of thinking is greedy. Is it greedy or are artist somewhat undercompensated the typical college kid who makes minimum wage pays 4.99 a month to listen to unlimited music and a millionaire/billionaire says they think that that is unfair?

The videos about YouTube licensing and copyright brought up issues that I was unaware existed until now. The FineBros (two online producers, made popular on YouTube) took a huge hit in subscribers, and consequentially, money, when they announced that they were going to attempt to trademark ‘React Videos’. This sparked a debate about YouTubers vs. ‘the little guy’ when it came to content on YouTube. Not only did this spark debate about the famous/wealthy vs. ‘the average joe’ but also brings us to an interesting question of what can one trademark? Where is the line between that’s ridiculous and okay that seems reasonable? How can someone trademark a reaction? That’s basically all that news is, a reaction to an event or product. You watch a particular type of news station based on your political standpoint because they have the same bias as you and are going to REACT similarly to you. Another big thing dealing with reactions are reviews. Reviews are reactions no matter what form they are given in text or video and that is something that most people rely on before talking themselves into buying something so to try to trademark a react video would bring a ton of questions that are extremely difficult to answer. Since the idea of YouTubers having a large amount is a new one, I think it will be interesting to see how situations such as this play out in the future. I think a lot of these videos show the battle between artists wanting to be compensated for their work and wanting to please their fans.


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