With the nation still buzzing over the impending SOPA/PIPA legislation, and a host of websites like Wikipedia and Google doing blackouts in protest, many are watching as well as taking sides on the issue of Internet freedom and piracy. And now, hip-hop mogul Swizz Beatz has landed at the forefront of the issue, as it’s been revealed that he is the CEO of the famous file sharing website MegaUpload. And apparently, his former record label, Universal Music Group, is none too pleased with his website, and a huge legal battle is now underway between the two parties.
According to the New York Post, the trouble started last year when Swizz persuaded a number of big-name artists like Diddy, will.i.am, Kanye West and even his own wife, Alicia Keys, to appear in a “Mega Song” video promoting the site, which has come under fire from the music industry for its use in music piracy.
However, Universal Music Group took offense when the video appeared on YouTube last month, saying they never gave approval for their artists (Diddy, Will and West), to appear in the video, and the record label promptly issued a “take down notice” to YouTube.
Swizz and MegaUpload then fired back at UMG, filing a lawsuit against the company to stop them from blocking distribution of the “Mega Song” video.
“We have never received any word that any artist has [individually] filed a take-down . . . [we have] legally binding agreements with the performers that appear in the video. . . . They promised that they had the rights to enter into that agreement and it’s not interfering with any third-party rights,” said a rep for MegaUpload.
Clearly, fans of the World Wide Web aren’t the only ones fighting for free use of the Internet, a fact that protesters of SOPA and PIPA will likely be glad to hear. As for Swizz , he isn’t the only artist to take on a big record label. Below are other artists who’ve decided to challenge the powers that be in the music industry. –nicholas robinson