"Friday," the sappy earworm of a paean to the beginning of the weekend, was taken off YouTube -- or was it?
Everyone from People Magazine to Mashable is reporting that Rebecca Black's career-launching music video was taken off YouTube following an apparent dispute between Black and Ark Music Factory, the obscure record label which originally produced it for her. The video was briefly offered as a $2.99 rental. Black said on Twitter she had "nothing to do" with the move to charge to watch the video, and tweeted that she was getting her manager and lawyer to take action.
Challenge apparently accepted by her legal team: The video says it's offline "because of a copyright claim by Rebecca Black." Sounds official! So the original video with hundreds of millions of views is offline. But a high-fidelity copy of "Friday" is still on YouTube under a channel maintained by RebeccaBlack4Real.
So is that really Black's YouTube? So far, the singer and YouTube haven't responded to tweeted requests for confirmation of the channel's authenticity. And Rebecca Black's official website oddly still embeds the original version which now displays a copyright warning. You'd think that she'd update her own site with the new version, if RebeccaBlack4Real is her actual YouTube channel.
But the other videos posted on the channel -- responses to pop stars Nick Jonas and Justin Bieber, and clips from Good Morning America -- suggest it might be the real deal. Here's why I say that: If it weren't Black's official channel, where she'd presumably obtained permission in advance to share the clips in question with her fans, wouldn't Popstar Magazine and ABC, not to mention Black herself, have issued takedowns for their material on her channel?
Adding to the mystery of who's got the copyright to the video, a so-called "director's cut" appeared early Friday morning on YouTube. But that appears to be a clever fake: While the channel is named RebeccaBlackOnVevo, the usual format for official artist channels licensed by Vevo, the music-video joint venture between YouTube owner Google and the big music labels, there is no such artist or video on Vevo.com itself. (Vevo videos normally appear both on YouTube and Vevo.com.) And sure enough, the account and video were terminated Friday afternoon "due to multiple or severe violations of our Community Guidelines," YouTube's site reports.
RebeccaBlack4Real also favorited Katy Perry's new "Last Friday Night" video, in which Black appears as a partying teen:
We'll update as we find out more -- but for now, you can relax and play "Friday" to your heart's content.