The issue of music ownership and what can be posted online has come to a gridlock thanks to a battle between two of rock's most respected figures: Prince and Radiohead.
At the core of the issue is Prince's performance of the British alternative group's "Creep" during his set at the Coachella Music Festival. It's one of Radiohead's most popular songs, and music fans were anxious to check out how Prince handled it. Unfortunately for them, Prince's record label NPG removed the clips from YouTube, citing copyright violations. This both humored and incensed Radiohead, who not only wanted to see the video for themselves, but couldn't understand how Prince could claim any ownership of a song they wrote and performed in 1992.
"Really? He's blocked it?" said Thom Yorke, the vocalist and primary songwriter for the band. "Surely we should block it. Hang on a moment. Well, tell him to unblock it. It's our ... song."
Prince's side refused to comment, but the artist has been touchy on YouTube before. The performer shut down his website during 2012, and in September said that he was going to take legal action against YouTube for not properly censoring copyrighted material. Although thousands of copyrighted videos exist on the site, due to the near impossibility of taking them all down, Prince has managed to get all of "his" "Creep" clips taken off. If Radiohead has their way however, he'll be forced to reload to video up for the public, as "Creep," regardless of who plays it, is the band's intellectual property. Radiohead has long paved the way for free music, being one of the first band's to experiment with the "pay-what-you-will" method of online release when it dropped "In Rainbows" in 2007.
There's some humor to the story as well, for those who know Radiohead's personality well. The band infrequently plays "Creep" live because Yorke grew irritated with fans that focused only on the hits. Radiohead would often get opening acts to play the song for them prior to the band coming onstage, so that fans got what they wanted, and Radiohead didn't have to play it.