A video tribute produced by Apple employees in 1985 for Steve Jobs to celebrate his 30th birthday - and first widely circulated on news sites and blogs after his death last October - has been yanked off of YouTube, apparently at the request of Sony Music Entertainment.
The 5-minute film, a photo montage of Jobs' early life and Apple accomplishments, is set to the song "My Back Pages" by Bob Dylan, an SME artist. The takedown message on YouTube reads: "This video contains content from SME, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."
However, the Internet being the Internet, SME has not been able to erase the video altogether ... at least not yet (we'll get to where you can find it in a minute).
What blocking it has done, though, is leave a slew of news stories and blog posts featuring a YouTube viewer with this image ...
... that leads disappointingly to this one.
After Jobs died on Oct. 5, 2011, the clip was first posted to Facebook by former Packeteer CEO Craig Elliott, who worked at Apple when it was made. From there it was moved to YouTube by Technologizer editor Harry McCracken, who wrote:
On February 24th 1985, Steve Jobs turned thirty. His Apple coworkers helped him celebrate by creating a short film for him. They set it to the wonderful song "My Back Pages" by one of Steve's idols, Bob Dylan, and filled it with images from Jobs' first three decades. You know some of them, but only some. And they include many ones of a happy, relaxed, even silly Steve Jobs that most of us never got to see.
And here it is. The tribute must have been deeply moving for Steve and his colleagues at the time it was made, and if you can watch it today without getting at least very slightly emotional-particularly as you listen to Dylan's lyrics-you're reading the wrong blog.
McCracken noted a few days later that the video had drawn more than 200,000 views.
Many others picked it up, too. Among the sites showing the now-unwatchable YouTube video are: PCWorld (McCrackin's piece); Peter Kafka's blog at All Things D; Business Insider; Philip Elmer-DeWitt's blog on Fortune.com; International Business Times; Cult of Mac; Mac Observer; Mac Daily News; The Next Web; The Geek Center; Apple Web Master; BuzzFeed; and, The Venture Edge blog. Software.com CEO Marc Benioff even posted the video to his Google+ page, not that it can be watched there today.
It's also gone from Elliott's Facebook page.
As for where it can still be seen, you may have noticed that the takedown message included the phrase "in your country." Well, that may explain why the video still works on NDTV, New Delhi Television. I'm just linking to it here in order to spare our legal department some work, but there is embed code available at NDTV (wink, wink).
While I don't know when the video was removed from YouTube, the most recent comment on McCracken's Technologizer post indicates that it was still accessible four weeks ago. And the fact that I can't seem to find any complaints about its removal on any of the sites that hosted it might indicate that it wasn't disabled that long ago.
Sony Music Entertainment has yet to respond to a request for comment.
By the way, Jobs would have turned 57 this Friday.
(Next day update: The video was unblocked at least for a period of time last night, according to McCracken, who also fashioned a bit of a copyright workaround. Right now, though, it appears to be blocked again. Details here.)
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