It's an Irish dilemma
February 27, 2011 5:01 PM   Subscribe

So, we wrote a song that got a few million views on YouTube.

In 1997 I was in a fun little band. We wrote some songs and put together an album. At the last minute we added an Irish drinking song to the CD. In 2007 a fan of ours put a video up on YouTube. (the irish drinking song). It kinda went viral. At one point there were multiple videos with millions of views. Some got pulled down for having film content that violated copyright. (we never pulled any) I think the total views of all the videos at the height of the frenzy... was about 8 million or so. One problem. Our song was being attributed to a number of different artists. There are videos, lyrics sites, podcasts, blogs.... everything under the sun.... that says someone else wrote the song. We've tried to do some damage control of our own but the ball seems to keep rolling downhill. We're going to put up our own video of the song soon... but that's just a start to fixing the issue of who actually wrote the it. We've had 13 years of internet goodness to overcome. What's the best and easiest way to straighten out the mess?
posted by Bighappyfunhouse to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm sure you'll get better, more comprehensive advice, but the first thing that came to mind was to create a Wikipedia page about your band, and another Wikipedia page about the song itself and the confusion that has occurred about who wrote the song. Include the entire lyrics of the song a) so it will show up in search results of the lyrics and b) because "Irish Drinking Song" is really generic, and people won't know which Irish Drinking Song the Wikipedia page is referring to.

People on the Internet tend to accept Wikipedia as a pretty trustworthy source, so if those pages remain unvandalized they can be a reference for you and for other authors/bloggers who are writing about your situation.

Of course, a good Wikipedia page cites original research from elsewhere. Are there any reputable music blogs or magazines that have an article about your predicament? What you need as a starting point is a third party backing you up.

And of course, you could just tell us which Irish drinking song it is (lyrics please, there are too many), and then everyone who reads this thread will know.
posted by Tehhund at 5:31 PM on February 27, 2011

Response by poster: The song is called "Fuck You I'm Drunk"

I bang on the door
But you won't let me
Cause you're sick and tired
Of me reeking of gin
You've locked all the doors
From the front to the back
And left me a note telling me I should pack

I walk in the bar and the fellows all cheer
I order me up a whiskey and beer
You ask me why I'm writing this poem
Some call it a tavern but I call it home

Fuck you I'm drunk
Fuck you I'm drunk
Pour my beer down the sink
I've got more in the trunk
Fuck you I'm drunk
Fuck you I'm drunk
And I'm going to be drunk til the next time I'm drunk

You've give me an option
You say I must choose
Between you and the liquor
Then I'll take the booze
I'll jump on to Western
Down to the south side
Where I'll sit down and exercise my Irish pride

Fuck you I'm drunk
Fuck you I'm drunk
Pour my beer down the sink
I've got more in the trunk
Fuck you I'm drunk
Fuck you I'm drunk
And I'm going to be drunk til the next time I'm drunk

(the wikipedia idea is wonderful. ty Tehhund)
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 5:42 PM on February 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

And the band name?
posted by AwkwardPause at 6:12 PM on February 27, 2011

Response by poster: Band name is - Bondo.

The song has been attributed to Flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys and many others. We've tried to correct the authorship issues but it seems to be a losing battle. The lyrics sites are a big part of the problem.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 6:25 PM on February 27, 2011

Best answer: Hmm, I see your dilemma immediately. I know the song well, and I always thought it was by Flogging Molly.

A wikipedia article is definitely the way to go. I also suggest that you attempt contact the admins of the various lyrics websites that a quick google search for "fuck you im drunk" display. They again attribute it to Flogging Molly, and thats the first thing that people are going to see when they search the lyrics.
posted by sarastro at 6:26 PM on February 27, 2011

Best answer: And a link to the band website you recently setup with a domain name at Bandzoogle or ReverbNation or VIRB or whatever?

Said site being, obviously, one of the authoritative sources for Wikipedia.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:29 PM on February 27, 2011

Google ad campaign. Buy up 'irish drinking song' and 'fuck you i'm drunk' and have the links go to your page.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:58 PM on February 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: How about a Bandcamp page for yourself?
posted by slightlybewildered at 7:27 PM on February 27, 2011

Well, once you establish a firm connection that it is your song legally, I would go after the other videos on youtube that mis-label the song and have them taken down. It's not their song to post, it's yours. I know you probably like having soo many views on your song, but no one knows it's you!
posted by XhaustedProphet at 7:37 PM on February 27, 2011

Best answer: Um... you could go after the videos misattitributing the song to others and instead of 'having them taken down' just ask them to reattribute the song correctly. This version, for example, already has a correction in the comments. Why not write to the poster of the video asking them to edit the title / notes / tags of the song and so on? As suggested above, setting up a Bandcamp page etc for the original band would be a big help there.
posted by motty at 7:46 PM on February 27, 2011 is also a reputable music site. Set up an account with them, and have that song be one of your featured.
Also, and this is a long shot, you could write a letter to flogging Molly, Dropkick Murphys, the Dubliners, etc. And ask them just to release an official statement, on their website, and say "this is not our song." All it takes is one sentence ftom them.
posted by shesaysgo at 8:53 PM on February 27, 2011

Best answer: You can look into the YouTube Content ID Program. It will help automatically identify YouTube videos that use your song. You can then ask the uploader to properly identify you. I think you can even set it up so that anytime the song is in a YouTube video, it will automatically add a thing that identifies the actual artist to the viewer, including a link to iTunes.

I think emailing a request for a change will be plenty for most sites outside of YouTube. I'd send them a link to your song on iTunes, which should be enough proof for most. I bet if you get it straightened out on YouTube and most of the top search hits, then things will be fairly well contained.

You can create a Google Alert to be notified of new mentions, so that you can stop the spread of the misinformation.

Consider creating a simple site for your band. Maybe just a single page with a brief history and information on how to buy your music. Create a separate page that talks about the song itself. Look at that page as more of a story than a statement. Talk about your experience of having your song go viral and become famous without you. The voice should be more "amusing thing that happened to us" and less "people are wrong and here is the truth."

When you ask people to correct their site, send them a link to that page. You could even politely ask that they post the link with their correction. By presenting it more as a story you are sharing than an error you are correcting, people are more likely to take it well. They're more likely to share your link or even tell the story on their blog. A correction that explains the error is much better than a correction that just changes it, because it makes it easier for someone to figure out who the actual artist is--even though you can't get rid of every misattribution.

You'll never get every reference changed. Focus on correcting the most prominent sites, then worry about new mentions.

Side note:
You said it was on a CD. I'd suggest you make sure you fully understand who has what rights before you do anything. Maybe even talk to a lawyer. You don't want to find out later that the company that distributed your CD has a marketing right or something else that you'd be violating by doing this on your own.
posted by chris p at 9:59 PM on February 27, 2011

Well, the first YouTube result for it gives your name, even if the rest say Flogging Molly...

Have you written to Flogging Molly about this? They might not know that their name is being attached to a song they didn't write, and would probably be more than happy to mention somewhere on the website I assume they have that the song actually belongs to you. I have no idea how easy they would be to get hold of, but it seems to me it would be worth a try.

That said, thank you for bringing this song to my attention! I do love me some Alkie Pride songs. Not that this necessarily says anything good about my personality or habits. (Though it may say something AWESOME about them.)
posted by Because at 2:51 AM on February 28, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you all for the help!
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 11:00 AM on February 28, 2011

IANARWC (I Am Not A Regular Wikipedia Contributor), but if you can get Flogging Molly and/or Dropkick Murphys to post on their websites/blogs that you, not them, wrote the song, you might cite those posts as sources in your Wikipedia entry in the "Misattribution" section of the song's Wikipedia page. I don't know what Wikipedia's standards are for sources, but those posts seem like enough to me.

Derail: is there anywhere that we can download the song such that you and your band get paid? Are you on Amazon or (ugh) iTunes? I tried to download this song a year ago and got a crappy techno song instead.
posted by Tehhund at 7:42 AM on March 8, 2011

Response by poster: I have someone working on the wikipedia entry.

It is now for sale on iTunes, Amazon and CDBaby. We've only had it up for a couple of months. It is selling. We set up a website as well.

It's a strange situation. We wrote that song 13 years ago. It seems to have taken on a life of its own. It's fun to be in a bar and hearing a group of people start to sing it. The song seems to make people happy. That's what life is all about.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 8:03 AM on March 8, 2011

Awesome, just got it from Amazon.

Derail: I was in a crappy cover band a few years ago. Our first paid gig was playing in a basement for a some college students' St Patty's Day party, and this was one of the songs that we learned just for the occasion. It was a big hit, everyone seemed to know it, and it holds a special place in my memory. And trying to remember the hazy details of that gig made me rekindle a friendship with an ex-bandmate yesterday.

So yeah, that song seems to make people happy.
posted by Tehhund at 11:28 AM on March 9, 2011

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