Sony copyright blowin' in the wind: Jobs video on, off, on, off

UPDATED: Apple’s '85 birthday tribute featuring Dylan song was up, then down, then up, now down

Yesterday morning we brought you the tale of a copyright takedown by Sony Music Entertainment against a 5-minute tribute film produced in 1985 by Apple employees to celebrate the 30th birthday of Steve Jobs. The video, which features the Bob Dylan classic "My Back Pages," had received its first widespread public attention right after Jobs died Oct. 5 and Technologizer editor Harry McCracken posted it to YouTube and his blog.


There have been a couple of twists in the story overnight ... and McCracken, who hadn't been aware that the video was being blocked, has fashioned something of a workaround.

McCracken wrote last night on Technologizer:

But Paul McNamara of Network World noticed something about the video which I didn't know: It was missing. As he explains, when he tried to play it, he got a message saying it violated Sony Music Entertainment's copyright and was therefore blocked. After reading his post, I checked, and got the same alert that he did. ...

Here's the thing, though: I just checked the video again, and it's working again. For me, at least. As of right now. ... I see that it has a link letting you buy "My Back Pages" from iTunes, the Android Marketplace, or Amazon; maybe Sony is just as happy leaving the video up in hopes of monetizing it. If so, good!

And McCracken apparently went to bed last night secure in the knowledge that everything was right in the world of Steve Jobs tributes, Bob Dylan songs, and Sony Music Entertainment's copyright.


The video is gone again, at least according to this reader of Technologizer and my own eyes. I checked a bunch of sites where it had been posted and they're all blocked.

As was the case yesterday, you can still watch the video on at least one site, NDTV -- New Delhi Television -- apparently because they're located abroad.

In either case, McCracken had the clever idea of reposting the Jobs tribute to YouTube ... without the Dylan song, or any sound whatsoever. It's a lot less satisfying, but here it is:

If you watched, you'll have noted that it does feature a number of famous images of famous people and products, so who knows who might lodge what legal objection now. We'll let you know.

(Update, 11:45 a.m.: McCracken tells me via Twitter that the Dylan version of the video is indeed still -- or again -- working from where he sits in California. I can tell you that it's still not from where I sit in Massachusetts. Feel free to note your own experiences in the comment section.)

(Update, 3 p.m.: Now it looks as though McCracken's abilitiy to see the video may have been unique. Here's the latest update on his blog: "As commenter Jdoors explains, I can see the video I uploaded when I'm logged into YouTube. But I'm the only one who can see it--for everybody else, it's blocked.") 

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