Monday, November 5, 2012

Daft inFrINGERgment

"Daft Hands" by user FrEckleStudios has obtained nearly 55 million views since it appeared in 2007. In this colossal Youtube hit, the lyrics of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" are written on different parts of a person's hands. The performer reveals the lyrics in time with the song by opening and closing her hands, rotating her wrists, etc. This creative expression has gained much fame, placing the video on Youtube's 50 most viewed videos list at number 19.
                I must state that, without this video, I probably would not have been turned onto Daft Punk. Even though "Harder, Better" came out in 2001, "Daft Hands" helped the song resurface, claiming more fame along with its initial release. Recently after I saw "Daft Hands," I went to iTunes and purchased Daft Punk's song. For a while, Youtube played a very strict card regarding the use of copyrighted content in Youtube videos. I have heard of many cases in which individuals have gotten videos removed because they had copyrighted music in them. With this focus on "protecting" the intellectual property of the artist, the artist was actually being denied a massive outlet to fans. Youtube made the right choice in creating a feature that essentially turns an individual's borrowing of music into an advertisement for others. Below the view count of "Daft Hands" is a little message saying "buy 'Harder Better Faster Stronger" on: Google Play, iTunes, AmazonMP3" with hyperlinks to each company. This allows for ease of access for anyone who liked the song (such as myself) and immediately wanted to know how to obtain it. 
                Understandably, there are some drawbacks; the fact that the song in full is on Youtube may cause some users to avoid actually buying the song--rather relying on the video itself as an outlet to Daft Punk's hit. There are several songs that I know I could buy, but I have a high quality, free (and legal) alternative on another website that is easily accessible. The other element of this has to do with an issue of merchandise. So, Daft Punk now has more listeners because of a Youtube video that is not actually taking money away directly from them. However, as a result of their popularity, FrEcklestudios is now selling merchandise based on their hit video. At this point is when direct competition can begin. Daft Punk has its own merchandise attributed to their music. If an individual wants a shirt on the subject of Daft Punk, s/he has a choice to get one from Daft Punk, or to get one from FrEcklestudios. With the now widely popular "Daft Hands", I would say people are more likely to get a shirt from FrEcklestudios. This wouldn't be a problem if Daft Punk and FrEcklestudios had an agreement, allowing for Daft Punk to take a portion of the profits from FrEcklestudios' merchandise, but nowhere on FrEcklstudios' website is such an agreement alluded to.

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