Two figures of the internet era have gone toe-to-toe.
Days after FCC chairman Ajit Pai starred in a YouTube video that used internet trends to make a case against net neutrality, musician Baauer and his label Mad Decent briefly got the video taken down due to its use of Baauer’s famous track “Harlem Shake.”
In the video, which was uploaded on the YouTube channel of conservative media company The Daily Caller, Pai lays out “things you can still do on the internet after net neutrality.” Along the way, he appropriated internet trends past and present, including cute animal videos, fidget spinners, and the “Harlem Shake,” which became a global phenomenon in 2013 thanks to its use in a viral meme.
Baauer did not take kindly to the presence of the “Harlem Shake” in Pai’s video, and he vowed on Twitter that he would do “whatever I can do to stop this loser.” A day later, on December 15, Mad Decent hit the Daily Caller with a takedown notice, citing its unlicensed use of Baauer’s intellectual property.
I’m Taking action. Whatever I can do to stop this loser https://t.co/Ajo6wBATdF
— Aa (@baauer) December 14, 2017
The video was unavailable for seven hours before the Daily Caller was able to counter Mad Decent’s claim by invoking the doctrine of fair use. The outlet termed Pai’s clip a clear parody, though the truth may be murkier. If you want detailed arguments for both sides, The Verge has provided in-depth coverage.
For now, though, it looks like Pai’s smarmy defense of his unpopular policy choice will stick on YouTube, though it will be drowned in negative feedback. It currently has more than 215,000 dislikes; even if you don’t have an opinion on net neutrality, the video is worth thumbing down if only because fidget spinners are so May 2017.