December 5, 2008
Revoking Spreadable Media: Soulja Boy take-down notices

Last week, just in time for the holiday season, CMS colleague Kevin Driscoll received a Youtube DMCA take-down notice for Crank Dat Roflcon (video viewable here on Fred Benenson's blog). Crank Dat Roflcon was part of the Internet Conference held at MIT last year in conjunction with Harvard Free Culture and the Berkman Center, as well as the follow-up to our own CMS Soulja Boy project, Crank Dat MIT with free software guru Richard Stallman.

Those of you who follow the C3 blog may remember last year when we picked up the Soulja Boy phenomenon as an exemplar of the power of spreadable media in a networked cultural economy. I've previously discussed his social media strategy and some of the social and cultural implications of the phenomenon through an analysis of the official music video.

Given that Soulja Boy's success has been built on people remaking both his song and dance and posting, sharing, and discussing the videos, it is both disappoint (though sadly unsurprising), that one of them would fall victim to the DMCA takedown-bots.
In the spirit of Soulja Boy, Kevin and a couple of the Roflcon crew, put together a response video regarding this event, working in a number of references to Soulja Boy's youtube debates with Ice T (see if you can catch them).

All of this just goes to show that the systems in place from industrial behemoth model of media still fail to account for what makes media work in a spreadable environment. And if this incident isn't ironic enough, consider too that the official Crank Dat music video has embedding disabled, thereby preventing spread throughout the social networks, blogs, and other sharing platforms that made Soulja Boy what he is.