As the digital diaspora grows ever larger, artists are increasingly portrayed as victims of copyright infringement. Of course, a lot of those portrayals come from the businesses who stand to profit by taking a sizable cut of the victimized artist's work. And whether you view YouTube and other uploads as piracy or publicity, that controversy can reach epically comic proportions when the artists involved are actually restricted from promoting their own work.
So of course it was only a matter of time before Lady Gaga stepped into the fray, with her official YouTube channel getting shut down yesterday. Fans visiting Gaga's page were greeted with a stern statement from the Google-owned corporation: “This account has been suspended due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s Copyright Policy.”
The account's back up now, so we can all rest easy. But so far, Team Gaga and Team Google have been uncharacteristically quiet in regard to what exactly those "multiple or severe violations" may have been. The theory being circulated by mainstream media and industry websites is that "LadyGagaofficial" posted a video of her own live performance, the rights of which were actually owned by Fuji TV.
Who knows? And, you may well ask, who cares? For those of us who can't even conceive of the money these entertainment monoliths rake in, it's kind of like watching Godzilla, Mothra and Mothra's evil twin Battra battle it out in the heart of Tokyo. No matter who wins, it's not like any of them will be helping sort through the wreckage and investing in urban renewal programs. (OK, the analogy's a bit of a stretch, but I still like it.)
For related reading, you may want to check out our Indy interview with OK Go, who confronted similar problems last year with their propensity for YouTube sharing. And as long as we're doing our own self-promotion, you can also read our interview with Gaga herself, from back in the days before anyone wanted to pirate her performances.