By this time everyone is familiar with Rebecca Black, her infectious hit song ‘Friday’ and Ark Music Factory, the company that her mother paid to write the song and produce the music video for her. But it seems that now that Rebecca’s overnight fame has set in, money is the big thing on everyone’s minds and Rebecca and her mother may be suing Ark over the song.
Pamela Chelin of Rolling Stone writes that Rebecca and her mother “are accusing Ark Music Factory, which produced ‘Friday,’ of copyright infringement and unlawful exploitation of publicity rights.” They say that Ark Music Factory has not only failed to provide them with the master recordings of the ‘Friday’ video and song, but are also exploiting her likeness on their own site, as well as on YouTube, Amazon and iTunes, and have created a ‘Friday’ ringtone without their permission.
According to Rolling Stone, Black and her mother’s lawyer Brian Schall sent a letter to Ark Music Factory with the allegations, but Ark Music Factory founder Patrice Wilson denied the claims, saying, “I have met with Rebecca Black’s mom and everything is fine. She will get the masters and the song. They can have it all.” He also denied claims that Ark was presenting Rebecca as their exclusive artist. “Once an artist meets with us and one they blow up, they have a choice to retain us or move on if they can. Rebecca is now signed with someone else.”
Rebecca’s mother paid Ark $4,000 back in November to produce the song and video and signed an agreement that said that she had 100 percent ownership and control of the song. Rebecca and her mother are pulling for these full rights. However, Ark Music Factory’s lawyer, Barry Rothman, has other ideas in mind. He says, “The agreement was not court-approved. They say they own the composition. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Rothman says that if Rebecca and her mom tried to copyright the song in their name it would be copyright infringement. Patrice Wilson’s partner at Ark, Clarence Jey, whose team wrote the music and lyrics for ‘Friday’, agrees. He says, “Suddenly, everyone is seeing big dollars and everyone is getting greedy and it sucks. My team just needs to be looked after to some extent. They need to be compensated for something.” Additionally, according to Rolling Stone, Jey says that Wilson has blocked his access to the Ark Music Factory Website and is saying that he doesn’t work with Ark.
I’m gonna have to agree with Clarence Jey on this one. It looks like everybody started to see the big dollars and got greedy. If this success can catapult Rebecca Black into a singing career then that’s great and the response she has gotten thus far is worth even more than $4,000 if you ask me. I understand where she and her mother are coming from—I’d want to milk this thing for all it’s worth too—but the truth of the matter is that the music video went viral not because of the singer but because of the song…and embarrassingly enough for the songwriters, the reason was because it was claimed to be the worst song ever written. So shouldn’t the writers get a piece of the action?
Who do you think is in the right in this situation? Should Rebecca Black and her mother get complete rights to the song and the video, or should the writers be entitled to part of the action?
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.