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Getting Past the Industry to Love Music Again
Is Prince Just a "Creep?"
06/02/08 at 07:21 AM by Adam Pfleider
So, pretty much all of my friends, even my best friend who isn't that into the band, has seen Radiohead...and not me.

He came back from Bonnaroo a few years ago and said he went and checked out Radiohead's performance. Earlier in the afternoon though, Beck was performing, and did a rendition of "Creep" because he knew the band wasn't going to perform it that night.

Dustin Kensrue has covered the song. So has Damien Rice. Actually, I'm sure at least one local rock band in your area has busted out the song. And after these past few weeks, Prince has been added to that list, and then to YouTube, and then taken down from YouTube, then up on another site, then down, then up, then...

"Really? He's blocked it? Surely we should block it. Hang on a moment." Yorke added, "Well, tell him to unblock it. It's our ... song."

This was Thom Yorke's plea to Prince after talking with the Associated Press. When it comes down to it, who has the right to say upload or take down?

Well first, from what I have learned in school, pretty much what's on the Web is the public's domain. Once it is up, there's only going to be a long drag out fight to take it down. Surprisingly, if some cases went to court, 80% of the content would stay up, but instead of wasting time and money, which could be used on gas, sites just take down the content. One major complaint, then no questions asked. Same thing with any hosting site.

Still, does the man of Purple Rain have the right to take down his cover of another band's song?

In America, and there are more across the globe, we have Performance Rights Organizations. The two biggest in the U.S. are the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI).

Now these organizations pretty much collect royalties from radio, restaurants/bars and media outlets that use artists' music, but BMI also specializes in live concert royalties. Most of these fees are paid monthly by venues.

One last point, both Radiohead and Capitol Records own the rights to "Creep," so why isn't Capitol stepping in?

With all this information, even I don't have a clear cut legal answer to this, I'm simply stating the facts. Even though the performance is of Prince, he may have a small say in asking YouTube to take down the video, though it'll just pop up on other sites. Since Radiohead and Capitol Records, which hasn't said a word, owns the real rights to the song, maybe they have even more of a right to put the video up as a moment in history.

Personally, I didn't think it was that great. If I were Prince, I would have taken it down too.
Tags: Radiohead, Prince, YouTube, ASCAP, BMI
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