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"Don't Download This Song"
Single by "Weird Al" Yankovic
from the album Straight Outta Lynwood
Released August 21, 2006
Format Digital download
Genre Comedy rock
Length 3:54
Label Volcano Records
Writer(s) "Weird Al" Yankovic
Producer "Weird Al" Yankovic
"Weird Al" Yankovic singles chronology
"Pretty Fly for a Rabbi"
(1999)
"Don't Download This Song"
(2006)
"White & Nerdy"
(2006)
Straight Outta Lynwood track listing
  1. "White & Nerdy"
  2. "Pancreas"
  3. "Canadian Idiot"
  4. "I'll Sue Ya"
  5. "Polkarama!"
  6. "Virus Alert"
  7. "Confessions Part III"
  8. "Weasel Stomping Day"
  9. "Close But No Cigar"
  10. "Do I Creep You Out"
  11. "Trapped in the Drive-Thru"
  12. "Don't Download This Song"

"Don't Download This Song" is the first single from "Weird Al" Yankovic's 12th studio album Straight Outta Lynwood. The song was released exclusively on August 21, 2006 as a digital download. It is a style parody of "We Are the World", "Hands Across America", "Heal the World" and other similar charity songs. The song "describes the perils of online music file-sharing" in a tongue-in-cheek manner.[1] To further the sarcasm, the song is freely available for streaming and download (legally) in "DRM-free" MPEG fileformat at Weird Al's MySpace page, as well as his Youtube channel.

Contents

Background

"Don't Download This Song" references several court cases related to the RIAA and copyright infringement of music. Among these are lawsuits against "a grandma" (presumably Gertrude Walton,[2] who was sued for copyright infringement six months after passing away) and a "7-year-old girl" (presumably a reference to Tanya Andersen's daughter[3] sued at age 10 for alleged copyright infringements made at the age of 7 ), as well as Lars Ulrich's strong stance against copyright infringement of music in the days of Napster. Mention is also made of Tommy Chong's time spent in prison.[4] The song is one of Weird Al's few overtly political songs.

Yankovic's own views on filesharing are less clear-cut:

I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I’m concerned that the rampant downloading of my copyright-protected material over the Internet is severely eating into my album sales and having a decidedly adverse effect on my career. On the other hand, I can get all the Metallica songs I want for FREE! WOW!!!!!

—"Weird Al" Yankovic, "Ask Al" Q&As for July 5, 2003

Music video

The death scene from the music video.

The music video, animated by Bill Plympton, premiered August 22, 2006 on Yahoo! Music. It depicts the vision of the capture, trial, imprisonment, attempted execution, escape, and burning of a young boy who burns a CD on his computer.[5] The boy's death, where he stands on top of a tower just before it explodes, parodies the film White Heat, where Cody Jarrett, played by James Cagney, dies in a similar fashion. Various people, from policemen to criminals to even sharks and dogs, are then seen celebrating throughout the ending chorus. But at the end, it turns out the boy is just imagining what would happen if he downloaded the song, and goes back to playing his guitar. As the song progresses, the video quality decreases from color to grayscale to dark grayscale to yellowed.

On MTV's MTV Music site where this music video is available, they have censored the names of the file sharing programs in the song, such as Limewire or KaZaA.[6] Weird Al explained that MTV contacted him and told him they would not air his video if the references to the filesharing programs were not in some way removed, so he "made the creative decision to bleep them out as obnoxiously as possible, so that there would be no mistake I was being censored."[7]

See also

External links

References

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