Warner Music to Warner Music: You are pirates!

Stephen sez,

Over on the Sire Records web site, they have a big page full of music videos from all their artists... Except that if you actually click on any of them to play, they've *all* been taken down for copyright infringment... by Warner Music Group, Sire's parent company.

Their long arm of the law has stretched all the way around the internet to spank themselves in the ass.


Coincidentally(?), if you go to Warner Music Group's YouTube channel, the first many pages of comments are just angry users lashing out about deleted videos.

You'd think Warner'd be more receptive to people sharing and spreading advertisements for their artists. But they're in such a panic about infringment they've gone so far as to ban even the official videos. Amazing.

Sire Records (Thanks, Stephen!)


  1. I can’t wait to see the angry internet corporate apologists try to defend this decision!

    Thanks for sharing the link!

  2. This is actually a by product of the agreement between youtube and WMG. Or rather the lack of an agreement. It was news a few months ago. When negotiations broke down between youtube and wmg, all of their official videos were pulled off the service.

    It’s definitely a hilarious clusterf***, since their sites and artist sites link to youtube, but technically, it’s not a copyright issue. Even thought the error message suggests that it is.

  3. “You’d think Warner’d be more receptive to people sharing and spreading advertisements for their artists.”

    The biggest problem is that kids are no longer looking at these videos as ‘advertisements’. Back in the day of MTV, it was near impossible to control the video you wanted…I had a dual VCR editing deck, and that made it easier…but the average person didn’t.

    Not having control meant that you had to go to the store to buy stuff…me? I was content to watch music videos all day long without buying records…the only reason I did was the social need to communicate with people I wouldn’t have spoken to otherwise…

    Now? The very thing that is what ya’ll are calling ‘advertising’ is the premium version of the content they are purchasing. Hmmm…just audio or AV? With my iphone and laptop and Boxee’d up Mac Mini hooked to my TV, what am I going to want?

    Of course the music videos are going to need restricted if they want to sell it. After all, MOST people don’t care for the deep cuts on the albums and simply go for the ‘single’ (or whatever they are calling it in this age).

    These aren’t my opinions on the subject, but I’ve worked enough with the people who make these decisions to understand why they are doing this. Personally, I think they are shooting themselves in the foot with this…their models need to change…but then again, the I WUNT IT FREES BECAUSE IT ON INTERNET models need to change too. It is sad that there is no middle ground…no one willing to change how they feel and absolutely believe that they are right and everyone else is wrong. Nerds and MI Execs are pretty much the same people, looking out different windows…

  4. Hello!

    I suggested this story initially, and after a little bit more research discovered the reason the videos are all down. WMG was in negotiations for some kind of profit sharing for their content on Youtube when negotiations broke down and they pulled all their content.


    Some of their hatemail (hatecomments?) comes from pulling their own content, but apparently they’ve been extra-vigilant about infringment on youtube, up to and including a Lessing talk (see links in main article) and a teenage girl singing Winter Wonderland.

    Now, Clif, without any concrete data or studies, it’s going to be hard for either of us to prove that not seeing direct purchases from users who watch music videos on youtube increases or decreases revenue for WMG in the long run, but you have to admit… A teenage girl singing a christmas song on the internet has absolutely no impact on their bottom line. Pulling it is just mean.

    And, in any case, this happened back in *January*. The fact that all their broken links are still up on their home page 4 months later pretty clearly demonstrates (to me) that they have no real grasp on this whole internet craze.

    Maybe they think it’ll just blow over?

  5. Amazing! The entertainment companies seem intent on immolating themselves and their actions just end up providing more entertainment.

    Movie companies issuing take-downs for the content they themselves posted. What’s next? Radio stations playing a continuous “bleep”? Publishers that redact every page in a book?

  6. Suggest adding “EPIC FAIL” caption for the memeheads among us. Now THAT would’ve made me LOL.

  7. Clif may be right that people are just looking out two different windows but there is another problem for Warner and other studios. They are creating a vacuum that someone else with a better understanding of how to market to the internet can fill. The studios have also raised an entire generation that sees them as the enemy. Interesting business plan.

  8. @#10: While you may be right about the profit-sharing deal between YouTube and WMG falling apart, something about this doesn’t add up. If WMG was linking to their own music videos, wouldn’t they have posted them themselves? And if so, wouldn’t they just be able to delete the videos from their YouTube account? Instead, we see a link that was brought down as the result of a DMCA notice. That implies that they either: a) sent a DMCA takedown complaint over their own uploaded content, or b) linked to somebody else’s uploads, which they then sent a DMCA takedown to. Either one seems like strange behaviour.

    I agree with everybody else; more proof that WMG just doesn’t get this “internet” thing.

  9. Our content is so valuable that we cannot allow you to see it. We would like payment for producing it though, please send money through our payment form.

  10. The silver spoon genius Eddie Bronfman, Jr. must have his vision clouded by too many unicorn blood cocktails.

  11. Ha! If you click on the Sire Records link now it says: “And to think… we thought no one was paying attention! Our bad. Thank you, BoingBoing :) Check back here for new videos soon.”

  12. Warner Music to Warner Music: You are pirates!

    Warner Music to Warner Music: Fuck Warner Music!

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