Saturday, 26 January 2008

Van Morrison videos purged from Youtube

As of yesterday, Youtube has not only removed all of my Van Morrison recordings from the 2007 Glastonbury Extravaganza but has also removed many videos posted by other Van the Man fans and has even suspended a couple of accounts of active Van fans. The net result of this is that ALL 35+ videos on my Van Morrison playlist have been deleted. Tragic. (1/9/2010 However, the playtlist still exists as a reminder to us all of what used to be available on YouTube - read it and weep)

New update 1/9/2010 You used to be able to read more of this story at The Bo Bice Underground but that site has also recently closed down, so I've removed the hyperlink.

Searching on this Van Morrison videos removed from Youtube with Google I came upon this, dated 12/13/2007 - Led Zeppelin Concert Clips Removed From YouTube and so we Van fans are not the only ones losing precious and unique musical events.

A new posting on Tim Anderson’s ITWriting blog indibts Websheriff as the party behind, at least, the (was temporary, now apparently permanent) removal of Michael Hayward's unofficial Van Morrison web site. The domain name is now up for sale and the site just a front, so I've removed that hyperlink too (1/9/2010).

The question is, are these isolated incidents or part of a concerted effort to rid the world of unlicenced music? Is Polydor just enforcing it legal rights? Or, did Van just have a bad day recently and decided to take it out on his loyal fans - present and future? Did WebSheriff just jump on the bandwagon once they saw the Youtube activity the previous week? Is this the first example of web ambulance chasing, I wonder?

New update 23/1/2008
Arctic Monkeys tribute site has also been served email writs by Web Sherry requiring that they remove

"unreleased ARCTIC MONKEYS tracks from your site immediately"
"a DMCA notification shall be forwarded to you and legal action by our clients' lawyers and the BPI / RIAA shall follow"
They go on to say
"On behalf of the artist's label, we do appreciate that you are a fan of / are promoting the Arctic Monkeys but, by the same token, you must also appreciate that, by posting a pirate copy of the album or tracks from the album pre-release (or linking to a pirate copies), you are potentially causing considerable damage and we are sure that you would not want to be held to be personally liable for all of the lost sales that could ensue"
Does that mean that if we can show that we have been responsible for increased sales, due to our promotional activities, we could maybe demand a share of the profits from the record companies?

New update 26/1/2008 I see from an old story (Nov 2007) on Vintage Vinyl News that Van Morrison, along with Exile Productions and Polydor/Universal, have announced a reissue program that will see all of the artist's albums reissued with bonus tracks. Could this perhaps explain the recent purges, or am I just being overly suspicious?

New update 31/1/2008
My wife, Maggie, has just posted an open letter to Van Morrison on her own blog - powerful stuff.


  1. They're no fun. Tell them to leave us alone. They better not do that to U2 or Bruce or Zeppelin or Bowie...

  2. Michael Hayward has moved his fabulous site, that he took down Monday after notice from, to The Unofficial Van Morrison Web Site.
    Still pondering why Van, Polydor, or Van/Polydor would take this action. What a waste of a fabulous library documenting a remarkable 40+ year career.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I'm surprised how little this story has been taken up elsewhere. I've updated my posting to show that this has happened elsewhere - with Led Zeppelin Concert Clips being removed from YouTube in December 2007.

  4. Michael's new site came down yesterday as the WebEarps applied more pressure.

    No bullies on the Net.

  5. I think Van has been playing with one of the Web Sheriff's pistols and has now shot himself in the foot with it!
    Van, What Are You Thinking?

  6. Stranger yet, Van Morrison/Exile Productions have been aggressively removing anyone else playing a cover of his song. And that would mean his fans. I don't see how a street musician playing a VM song takes money out of their pocket. But they cite "infringement". I guess they will be happy when the world is purged of it's clients music, cos it has certainly silenced me.
    My response to this can be viewed here:
    YouTube Video

  7. I agree - it's a shame to see so many great Van clips dating back to the early 70s removed by Youtube, and replaced with "official" Van Morrison videos with that rather obnoxious "VM" etched over the image. I heard Van speaking on a radio broadcast recently where he was lamenting the frequency with which he got ripped off in his younger days, and how it left him with a "where's the money?" kind of mentality. It's hard to change that in a person, once it's ingrained. So many people gripe about his personality, but I don't think the guy could ever fully understand how personally connected so many people feel to his music. I miss those videos, but there's something oddly rewarding about his mercurial, moody personality and idiosyncrasies. If the guy had a "smooth as butter" personality along with that uncanny sense for the moment, the music, the muse, and the spiritual behind the ritual .. well, that might be too much to handle.

  8. IMPBHO, Mr. Morrison is free to do what he wants with HIS STUFF.! It's HIS. He wrote it, performed it, etc. Groceries and rent aren't free. Automobiles and petrol aren't either.Why should art be free? Free speech( what we are engaging in now), not free beer (or art, or music).Peace

  9. I miss the really good music vids of Morrison's singing his own songs on You Tube.

    When I'm working online it was nice to listen to them as I worked.

    I listened to his live London - Have I Told You Lately, it lacks something. Can barely understand the words.

    On the other hand. He has to pay the bills like every one else. To down him for doing what you would do if someone was stealing "your" paychecks all in the name of being one with your fans?

    If he became a bum on the street? Oh, where did the fans go...?

    Just a little reality check. I guess it works. Now I have to try and find the CD. Sigh.

    Good article and discussion.

  10. It looks like the for the past couple of weeks, new Van Morrison uploads have not been taken down by the record company. I don't know why, but I am hoping it lasts, and that more Van Morrison videos are uploaded. I hope not all the uploaders were scared away.