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Eminem The Censor

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Weird Al Yankovic is set to release a new album of his special parodies, but hold the video: Eminem won’t let him make a video for his parody of “Lose Yourself”.

“Eminem gave his approval for me to use ‘Couch Potato’ (my ‘Lose Yourself’ parody) as a track on my new album, but he wouldn’t allow me to do a video for it,” Yankovic tells Billboard.com. “He somehow feels that a Weird Al video would detract from his legacy or make people take him less seriously. I have to respect his decision, but it’s obviously very disappointing for me — it would have been an absolutely amazing video.”

I’m not sure how Eminem legally could stop him from making a video, but just that he would even try to stand in the way earns him a #13 boot in the ass. This jackass goes out cursing Lynne Cheney for supposedly repressing his free speech, yet he’s making more of a censorship move here than anything Ms. Cheney has ever done. Name me one record that Ms. Cheney has actually tried to stop from being made or released.

Ms. Cheney and even the dreaded Tipper Gore have acted out of some idea that they were promoting the public good. I may not be sympathetic to censorship, but they have some reasonable point in being concerned about what kind of smutty stuff that children are inundated with in the popular culture.

Eminem, on the other hand, just doesn’t want to personally be made light of. That is not even a pretense at a worthy goal.

What a hypocrite Mr. Mathers has shown himself to be. He can make scurrilous and probably libelous attacks on, for starters, Britney Spears in song and video. However, he won’t allow even a likely very genteel parody from Weird Al. He can sure dish it out, but he can’t take it.

Marshall Mathers apparently believes in freedom of speech for me, but not for thee.

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  • Since Weird Al just changes the words and uses the music for his parodies, he has to get the rights. Mathers must have given him permission for the CD, but not for use in a video.

    Ofcourse if someone wanted to make their own video and put it online…

    Yeah, Mather might sue, but by then a QT file could be all over the net.

  • Actually, as a work of parody/satire, he would probably win in court if anybody tried to nick him for flat-out stealing the music (others have in similar cases), but he has always asked permission anyway, to avoid the legal conflict. It’s worth noting that Michael Jackson has always granted permission, while The Purple One never has. Once Weird Al filmed a video that many people found eerily reminiscent of When Doves Cry, but the song itself was not based in any way on Prince’s music or lyric.

    Al, as much as I sometimes thing you’re a blow-hard, I think you’ve nailed it here. By insisting on control over Weird Al’s work, even if it was derivative, he has put himself a step beyond Tipper and Lynne, who have (as far as I know) only ever wanted labeling.

  • Well, Weird Al would expect to pay standard royalties for the songs, considering them as basically cover versions. You don’t have to get some special permission to do a cover.

    Most singers are pleased to rate a Weird Al treatment. I suspect you’d find that many of them agree to give him a songwriting cut for his new lyrics, though I don’t think they have to.

    An independent unauthorized video for the “Couch Potato” track would be a groovy idea, though well beyond my skill set.

    The main point, however, remains that Eminem is being a big jerk. He talks a fine fanatic game about free speech, but the first thing that has even a potential of being critical of him, he’s all about squashing it.

    And thank you for your kind words, Mr. Winn. Even blow-hards are right sometimes. 🙂

  • Reverend Flash

    Al says you don’t need special permission to do a cover, but you do need permission to do a special cover. For instance, if Kathy Lee Gifford wrote a religious song called “Mary, Holy Mother” and I wrote a salacious parody of the lyrics, titling the parody “Mary, What A Lover”, Gifford could stop me from recording it. The owner of the publishing rights would have a right to stop any treatment of the song inconsistent with the original intent. She doesn’t have to be subjected to forever being known as the musical composer to my blasphemous parody. If, on the other hand, I wanted to cover it straight, with the original lyrics intact, and she just didn’t want me to record it simply because she didn’t like me, then she couldn’t do anything. She would have to be able to prove some kind of misrepresentation of her music by me beyond her personal dislike. Aerosmith didn’t need permission for their note-for-note cover of The Beatles’ “I’m Down”, but The Beastie Boys were turned down when they offered up a rap version with altered lyrics.
    As for composers giving Weird Al a songwriting credit for his parody lyrics, I do not believe they have say in that. In having their tune covered, they get credit, and in adding his own lyrics, he gets credit (usually noted in the credit as “parody lyrics by…”).

  • Of course I would regard Kathy Lee Gifford stopping me from parody as censorship. It may be within the law. I do not claim expertise in copyright law.

    Eminem may be within the law in censoring Weird Al, but the law is an ass.

  • Mr.R3m3Dy


  • Kristof

    First off, I’d say Mr.R3m3D has brain damage, but that would be an insult to brain damaged people. At least have the sense to type your drivel in two cases.

    With that out of the way, Weirld Al ASKED Eminem for permission to do the video. As I understand it, asking permission implies being prepared to accept both answers. If Weird Al had just done the video, that would have been something else. But Eminem’s denial of permission isn’t censorship. If you’re asked, you can say no.

  • somedude

    the fact eminem said no makes him a hypocrite

  • Patricia M.

    Eminem is who he is, a musical genius. So what if he doesn’t want Weird Al to make a video. Thats his right, it’s his song. Weird Al is lucky that Eminem let him do the song in the first place.

  • Maz

    What Marshall Mathers has done is hypocritical.

    Sure it is his right, good for him. …but all he has done is shown the entire world that he talks the talk but simply cannot walk the walk when it comes to freedom of expression.

    Had he allowed both Video and Audio parody of his work, he would have gained more respect, unfortunately, him turning one down has made a lot of talk and pokes by various websites at how hypocritical he is and so, he himself has caused what he originally did not want to happen by initially saying, ‘no’.

    I am sure I am not alone when I say that I for one, have lost respect for Marshall Mathers as well as faith in Marshall Mathers word.

    I won’t call him Eminem, he doesn’t deserve that title now, to me, and many others, he is simply the punk boy called Marshall Mathers.

    There is a well done video on You Tube with Lose Yourself vs Couch Potato, including the Al TV interview mixed in to the whole track. Kind of hits the nail on the head when I watch that from a You Tuber vs what Weird Al ‘could’ have done for Marshall Mathers instead.

  • Eminem had problems with a dog puppet. That’s really all you need to know, isn’t it?