Kanye West has been very vocal on social media lately. Whether he’s declaring his inability to think creatively or asking Mark Zuckerberg for money to clear his debt, Kanye is never far from the media spotlight. However this time he seems to be going one step too far, as his latest stunt is costing YouTube creators around the world their livelihoods.
Over the last couple of days, there has been rumblings in the YouTube and hiphop communities that Kanye West (the person or his representation) is shutting down every single video featuring one of his musical performances. It’s still unclear whether this action is coming from Kanye sat his own computer or whether it’s the Universal Music Group who technically own the copyrights to his content, but it’s happening in a terrifying quantity.
Soon, we can predict that the only Kanye West performances left on YouTube will be the ones uploaded to his personal VEVO account, such as the one below when he performed Black Skinhead on SNL.
Popular hiphop YouTube channels such as Miss Info and XXL have all spoke about about Kanye’s attacks on their Twitter profiles, with the former announcing her submission the the “evil overlords” behind Kanye’s legal team; “you win evil-overlords, that youtube of a music video premiere projected onto a public outdoor wall is too subversive. It must be wiped”.
The removal of this material follows a recent decision by Kanye West to exclusively release his newest album, The Life of Pablo, only on Tidal along with any future musical performances – such as his recent Yeezy 3 fashion show. The question of whether he is trying further this decision by cleansing YouTube of all his ‘public domain’ work is a possible answer to current events.
However, this does not defend the fact that some videos over four years old have received copyright actions against them and in the worst case scenario, entire channels have been shut down over the legal battles. As we reported yesterday, more and more YouTube creators are suffocating under the unfair Fair Use and Copyright Policies that YouTube have put in place, and in response have launched the campaign #WTFU on Twitter.
No one from Kanye’s representation have commented on the action, but it’s certainly a trend that needs to be followed until it’s logical conclusion – if there is one when Kanye West is involved.