The Case Of The Missing Zeppelin

Approximately 20,000 concertgoers saw Led Zeppelin at London’s O2 arena December 10th.

But what if you didn’t win the ticket lottery, or pay a king’s ransom to scalpers for the honor of seeing the band’s first full-length concert in 27 years? Is there any other way you can experience what many are calling the concert of the year?

Well, there’s always YouTube.

But two days after the concert heard around the world, it appeared that YouTube was removing videos of the event almost as fast as they were posted. What’s, more, clicking on some of the videos resulted in a message stating, "video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Warner Music Group."

As it turns out, neither WMG nor the band was responsible for YouTube’s Zeppelin purge. Instead, that dubious honor goes to third-party copyright infringement fighter Grayzone, according to Silicon Alley Insider, which posted the following statement from Grayzone:

"Grayzone regrets that it erroneously issued takedown notices to YouTube regarding footage of Led Zeppelin’s December 10th concert. The error is ours alone. We acted without authorization from the band or Warner Music Group. Unfortunately, an automated system mistakenly attributed the removal of the content to a copyright claim by Warner Music Group. That was inaccurate. We have informed YouTube of the error and we regret any inconvenience this may have caused."

You gotta love that line about "an automated system mistakenly attributed the removal …" As far as we know, human beings are still the only species on the planet, carbon-based or otherwise, capable of making mistakes. And systems, even automated ones, only do what their human overlords tell them.


Universal Streams For Imeem

Universal Music Group is the latest label to make an advertising-supported streaming deal with social networking site Imeem. Similar to deals the company has already closed with Warner Music Group, EMI and Sony BMG, the UMG agreement makes Imeem the first social networking site to have all four major labels in its corner.

Imeem began life in 2004 by offering instant messaging and file-sharing software but evolved into a social networking site consisting of more than 19 million users.

The Universal / Imeem deal is the latest online agreement for Universal, whose chairman Doug Morris has been looking at different, that is non-traditional, ways to create revenue streams based on the label’s catalog.

The label recently closed a deal with Nokia to supply music for the latter’s "Comes With Music" promotion involving Nokia devices pre-loaded with songs.

"Universal Music Group is committed to exploring new ways for consumers to discover and enjoy our artists’ music online," Morris said. "Imeem has developed an innovative way to make our artists’ music a central part of the social networking experience.

"More importantly, they’ve done so the right way – by working with UMG to provide an exciting musical experience for consumers, while ensuring that our artists are fairly compensated for the use of their works."


Movie Vudu

Vudu is raising the bar for downloadable film. The online movie service started offering a high-definition version of "The Bourne Ultimatum" the same day the movie was released on DVD.

Vudu is a closed system consisting of the Vudu Box, a $399 device that connects to your television. Kind of like Comcast’s On Demand service, Vudu uses a broadband Internet connection to send movies directly from its servers to your television.

However, not all movies offered by Vudu are the same in regards to what you can do with them. Instead, each movie’s usage rights are assigned on a case-by-case basis. Some movies are available for both renting and purchasing, while others are strictly rentals, with rentals remaining in the Vudu Box for up to 30 days before the first viewing. Once viewed, users have 24 hours for repeat viewings before it vanishes.

Vudu is offering "The Bourne Ultimatum" for sale only and is pricing the flick at $24.99. As most films’ post-movie theater marketing strategies are based on releasing DVD versions first and rentals much later, the tandem release of "The Bourne Ultimatum" on DVD and as a Vudu download is another example that Hollywood is still experimenting with digital distribution.

But downloading a flick from Vudu, even if you decide to purchase rather than rent, is not the same as actually buying the DVD. That’s because the Vudu Box does not allow for DVD burning. Buy a movie from Vudu and the film stays in the box, a sign that Hollywood still isn’t ready to give movie fans the same portability with downloads that it does with physical DVDs.


Faux News

It would be an oversimplification of facts to say the current Writers Guild strike is all about the Internet.

A quick perusal of Web sites for both sides, such as representing the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and sites for the Writers Guild Of America West at and its East Coast counterpart at, shows very complex issues involved, with major disagreements between all parties hardly boiling down to a few sound bites.

Now you can add a another Web site to the mix. And, while the site is on the writers’ side, the difference between itself and sites repping the writers is that this site comes with laughs.

First off, its Web address is remarkably similar to the Web address for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Except it ends in .com instead of .org.

And what does one find when surfing A site that looks very similar to However, there are a few differences.

For example, next to the AMPTP logo on is the slogan, "Our thinking is as creative as our logo." Furthermore, a message dated December 10th reads:

"We are heartbroken to report that despite our best efforts, including sending them a muffin basket, making them a mix CD, and standing outside their window with a boombox blasting Peter Gabriel songs, our talks with the WGA have broken down."

In other words, is a fake site. One that mimics the producers’ alliance site while clearly supporting the writers in the current labor debate.

"Still, we must be clear," reads the message on the faux site. "Under no circumstances will we knowingly participate in the destruction of this business. If we destroy this business, it will only be through accident and incompetence – that’s the AMPTP Pledge!"

The owner of the domain is a self-described "military and police technical advisor to movies and TV shows" by the name of Bill Davis, reports the Los Angeles Times. According to the Times, Davis has owned and for more than a year, and has even received offers to sell the Web addresses. So far, Davis has refused all offers.

Maybe that’s for the best. While both sides of the debate use their official sites for spin purposes, is providing a few much-needed chuckles. Especially since the current strike has pretty much silenced the daily dose of topical humor from late-night shows.

"Their proposal for Internet compensation could doom the Internet media business before it ever gets started. (Projected start date: October 4, 2012.)," reads’s bullet point regarding Internet payments to writers. "We have already offered the writers a very generous $250 per episode for using their work on the Internet. Sure, $250 may not sound like much, but it adds up – a whole season of ‘Heroes’ would cost nearly $6,000! Who’s going to pay that money?"

Meanwhile, the strike continues …