The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.
Jun 25, 2010

Earlier this week, someone sent me a music video of 20 Robots dancing to Beyoncé Knowles’s popular song, Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It). The video has been seen 41,000 times since its release just seven days ago. Check it out.

According to strict interpretations of copyright law, mashups like these are considered illegal. Therefore, it’s probably only a matter of time before Myren the Beancounter launches a cease and desist letter, claiming that the robots are hurting Beyoncé financially.

As someone who wears two hats–content creator who supports artist compensation and businessman who supports the bottom line–I’m left with the following question: “Is Beyoncé being harmed financially or benefitting from said video?”

On one hand, she’s not receiving direct revenue from each time the video is played. On the other, she’s benefitted from 41,000 new earworm opportunities to send fans to iTunes.

Content creation and distribution technologies are changing the way we do business. They cause us to question fundamental assumptions that formed the cornerstones of entire industries. Ten years from now, we’ll probably look back on these issues and laugh. Until then, we’ll sit on the sidelines watching Myren protect the top line while ignoring the bottom line.

What sayeth you?


Filed under: Content Development


Is there really a question here?? What you've asked, “does it harm or help.” is precisely what Byoncé and the copyright owners/managers have the privilege of answering for themselves. It's not for the animation artist here to decide. Now, if Byoncé and her team want to get creative and make for a simple PayPal click-through license to use her song and rendition in animation videos for a low license fee as long as the user includes a link to purchase the song, that would be creative. But, again, it's the copyright owner's privilege. There really is no gray area here, is there?

July 8, 2010

You are correct, Guest. According to the law, there is no gray area. Without permission from the copyright holders, this particular video is a copyright violation and the fan who created it is liable.

The point of this post is to open up a discussion about present copyright law and fair use.

July 8, 2010

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