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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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January 13, 2010

Marshal McLuhan Paging OK Go

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Marshal McLuhan is a famous media theorist; among his best-known aphorisms is the notion that "the medium is the message." How does that apply to pop hit band OK, Go? Well, it's like this...

Back in 2006, OK Go were just your average unknown 4-guy pop band. Then they released a video onto YouTube and it went viral. Suddenly their song was getting attention, airplay, and the band was made men.

McLuhan's essential message is that the medium influences how the message is received. So if you're the now-popular band OK Go you should just put your new video out on YouTube and presto it'll go viral. Right? Wrong. The problem is that the band's new video is locked up in a foolish copyright-grasping box.

As reported on fan blogs like station.newteevee, the video both can't be viewed in non-US countries (which is to say YouTube is blocking large ranges of IP addresses) and the Google subdivision has blocked all attempts to embed the video. Which is to say not only is the medium not part of the message now - since embedding is such a key part of the YouTube experience - the band is also sending large chunks of its potential fan base a "we don't want to show this to you" message, if they happen to be accessing things from the wrong IP address space.

But wait, there's more. In a move pretty much guaranteed to piss off anyone who's not a trufan, OK Go have put out a plaintive "why aren't we popular anymore" video. As NewTeeVee points out, it comes across as blaming the fans for not watching the video when in many cases they can't and even where they can, they can't embed it so it will be seen by other fans.

Dear OK Go: The medium really is the message. Putting locks and chains on the medium changes it, and therefore changes your message. Like it, fix it, or leave. - Marshal

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Markets and Monopolies


COMMENTS

1. Jesse on January 14, 2010 12:19 AM writes...

I like the copyright angle, but I have to suspect that this also has something to do with the fact that "Here It Goes Again" was a much catchier song than "This Too Shall Pass".

Permalink to Comment

2. DrWex on January 14, 2010 10:29 AM writes...

Jesse: I think you're right. The 2006 track was very catchy. The problem is that we can't really do an apples-to-apples comparison because the situation has changed. Sort of sad, really - I like the idea of bands using sites like YouTube and MySpace to publicize themselves and draw attention.

Permalink to Comment

3. justin on January 14, 2010 9:49 PM writes...

the band isn't in control of their youtube stream anymore. and their success is basically at fault. when they posted the first video years ago, the label didn't have any reason to fear youtube, or probably even know what it was. now they have a deal that pays them for streams. so they lock it down. the band basically finds themselves exactly where they were before the treadmills made them famous--once again putting up videos without label permission in places where they can be shared. mcluhan would have a field day with that idea.

Permalink to Comment

4. mike on January 18, 2010 10:23 PM writes...

the band has been discussing this on their website today.

http://www.okgo.net/2010/01/18/an-open-letter-regarding-non-embeddable-youtube-videos/

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