HOT: Wiki War
The big post-Grammys story this year was Kanye West disrespecting the artists in the Album of the Year category (including the winner, Beck) by ranting about how the Grammys disrespect artists. Fans of the artist Kanye thought should have won — Beyoncé — used Beck’s Wikipedia page as a battleground. Among the dozens of edits Beyoncé fans made to Beck’s Wiki page: listing “theif (sic), stealer, life ruiner” under his “Occupation” and changing photo captions to things like “Old ass Grammy stealer” (for the record, Jay-Z is older than Beck). Some Beck fans got in on the action too, adding a note at the top of the page saying it was about “a man who achieved 3 decades of musical success … by himself. For the woman who needed 5 songwriters and 2 vocalists behind her … see Beyoncé.” The page was quickly restored with its original content.
WARM: Easy Rider
Despite the innocuous nature of most tour riders (detailing what an artist and crew will need for a performance), Jack White was reportedly upset when he played at the University of Oklahoma and the school’s newspaper ran his contract for the show. White’s “demands” are pretty meager for an artist of his stature, but the national press picked up on the “no bananas” clause and the inclusion of “fresh homemade guacamole,” the recipe for which was included. The paper obtained the contract via a Freedom of Information Act request and its publication led White’s booking agency to “blacklist” the school (though White said he’d be back). If the press hadn’t picked up on it and White’s PR firm hadn’t commented, no one would have noticed or cared.
COLD: Swift Justice for Crafters
When an artist claiming trademarks starts including song lyrics that are largely everyday phrases, it’s hard to feel sorry for the person when their trademark is infringed upon. Taylor Swift made news recently when she reportedly applied for a trademark for the phrase “this sick beat,” a lyric from “Shake It Off.” Taylor’s people are so concerned that unauthorized use of such phrases could harm her brand, they are going after those intellectual-property crooks on Etsy, a site that allows largely amateur DIY crafters and artists to sell their work. The intimidating lawyer tactics have mostly worked; according to NME, a dozen items that allude to Swift have been taken down so far. So grab those “Haters Gonna Hate Hate Hate Hate Hate” hand-quilted beer koozies now before you have to pay 300 percent more for them at ol’ Swifty’s official merch booth. (For the record, there is still a ton of Taylor Swift stuff on Etsy.) After the Etsy mess broke, news surfaced that Swift's people went after another hardcore criminal — her old guitar teacher, who had the nerve to buy the domain name "itaughttaylorswift.com."