June 17, 2011 at 9:43 AM ET
Calendars claim that it's the end of the week, but we have our doubts. After all, how are we supposed to get down on Friday and start lookin' forward to the weekend unless we can watch Rebecca Black's infamous video — which is mysteriously missing from YouTube?
TechCrunch reports that the official version of Black's video disappeared from YouTube less than 24 hours ago, only to be replaced by a message informing us that a copyright claim is to blame. When YouTube was asked for more details, a spokesperson simply provided what sounds like a generic one-size-fits-all reply:
YouTube takes copyright infringement very seriously. When we receive a complaint alleging that a video infringes another person or company’s copyrights, we remove that video. Users who believe that a video was removed in error can appeal the copyright takedown.
Gossip site TMZ provided a potential explanation for the tight lips and evasive responses though:
TMZ spoke with a rep for Black who tells us, "We can confirm that we submitted a Take Down Notice to YouTube as a result of the dispute we have with Ark Music regarding the 'Friday' video."
[Apparently] Black's people have threatened legal action against Ark — claiming the company is wrongfully exploiting her image and her song because Ark does not own the rights to either.
There you have it: Our ability to secretly re-watch a somewhat catchy video trick our friends into seeing the most annoying thing ever created has been spoiled because of a dispute between some folks in suits and a girl who just wants to have fun, fun, fun, fun.
The greatest irony in that? Ark Music is what is considered a "vanity" production company. This means that wannabe artists — or in Black's case, parents of wannabe artists — shell out thousands of dollars for videos such as "Friday" to be written, filmed, and promoted. As the New York Times revealed as soon as the video began turning into a viral sensation, the song we love to hate cost the Black family a total of $4,000:
[W]hile [Black's mother] knew the video would go online, she knew other young performers who had worked with Ark, and their views reached a few thousand, if that. It never crossed her mind that millions of people would pay any attention to her daughter. She did take some precautions — paying an additional $2,000 so that Rebecca, and not Ark, owned the master of her video (bringing the total cost to $4,000, twice what has been widely reported; Kelly says she paid it in installments, because she did not have it all at once, but adds that it was a worthwhile investment, similar to what one would pay for a month of sleepaway camp or private school.)
We sincerely doubt that a trip to sleepaway camp would leave someone with over 167 million YouTube video views, talk show appearances, and nearly $25,000 in weekly profits, but we suppose that's a reasonable enough comparison. The point is that Black's family seemingly owns the rights to this video, yet has to fight for it and in the process ruin our fun.
Ah well, at least there are plenty of unofficial versions of the video to be found on the Internet.
Update 1: Stop the presses! Cease the crying! While "Friday" may have disappeared from its old YouTube home, a "director's cut" version of the song has shown up on Vevo — a Google and YouTube powered music video site which was born from a joint venture between several record companies. Still no sign of the original clip which won our hearts and stole our souls though — unless you count the versions re-uploaded by individuals who aren't Rebecca Black.
Update 2: The folks of Dailymotion shot us a note to point out that they're still hosting the original version of Black's video.