Censors Weird Al

    October 31, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

MTV, which recently made a super smart and exciting YouTube-combating move by making its music video collection available online, just ruined it. They’ve censored Weird Al.

Yankovic, in case you didn’t know, or the only musician that’s managed to light up the otherwise dim formerly Music Television channel with spoof and satire consistently for 25 years.  His video for “Don’t Download This Song,” an indictment of the music industry for treating fans like criminals, has four bleeps in it that it didn’t have before.

The opening lyrics read:

Once in a while maybe you will feel the urge
To break international copyright law
By downloading MP3s from file-sharing sites
Like Morpheus or Grokster or Limewire or KaZaA

The four file-sharing networks are now those that shall not be named on MTV. At first the bleeping seems like a joke, but Yankovic also posted his video on his YouTube channel, where it is uncensored. (It’s not, however, available for embedding.) Censors Weird Al
MTV sparked controversy in the past for bleeping out words referring to guns and violence, or misogynistic words like “bitch” and “ho,” but at least those cases of selective censorship seemed geared toward decent ends. Censoring the names of places where people can share files (not just music or copyrighted material) is not only heavy-handed—come on, you think they don’t know already?—but also comes across as sheer corporate protectionism, taking the side of the once-demonized-on-MTV machine instead of the rocking audience that used to rage against it.  

And now, an open letter to MTV:

What happened to you MTV? We used to be buds, but you sold out. Remember all those good times we had in 80’s and early 90’s? Remember that? Remember Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney? White Snake, Hammer, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Snoop? We Are the World, all that? Twisted Sister, and how Dee Snider took it to Tipper Gore and Rockin’ the Vote? Remember how cool you used to be?

I know what happened. Everybody traded their David Lee Roth pants for Brooks Brothers, their Rage Against the Machine CDs for cufflinks and went to work for Viacom. My whole generation, the generation running things there now, sold out.

Remember, though, when you used to be Music TV and everybody but Tipper Gore liked you? Remember when sharing music was a good thing, when Voices that Care were crying out loud because music was our bridge to the world and Metallica sold out but at least everybody knew they couldn’t be silenced and MTV wasn’t gonna silence them, either right?

That was before Napster, before the other file-sharing networks popped up and record companies and musicians went from making hundreds of millions of dollars to making, erm, hundreds of millions of dollars but complaining about all the possible money they could be making. You used to be cool, MTV, but now the M in MTV stands for More-of-the-same-recycled-over-produced-nonmusical-garbage-and-retarded-superficial-empty-headed-mancandy-oh-snap-what’s-my-next-catch-phrase-line-we-even-let-Paris-Hilton-sing-here TV.

No wonder everybody thinks your target market is stupider than ever. That’s not true, just so you know, they’re smarter because of technology, but nobody’d know if they only watched your channel.

Sigh. I hate breaking up. But MTV, you suck.


Hat tip to TechDirt.