Rebecca Black, the teen star of the viral YouTube video, "Friday," has become caught in a copyright controversy over the video. Fans currently visiting YouTube to view "Friday" have been receiving a message saying the video has been removed due to a copyright claim by Black. The removal came after the video was initially placed behind a paywall by the company that recorded and produced the song.

"Friday" has received over 167 million views since being placed on YouTube earlier in the year. The blogosphere lit up with criticism about the song and the video, which addresses such deep themes as Black's indecision over whether to sit in the front or back seat of a car to cruise with her friends. The song and video were produced by Ark Music Factory, a record label out of Los Angeles that will write and produce a song and shoot a video for a fee (reportedly $2,000-$4,000), essentially the music equivalent of vanity publishing. Artists receive the master recordings while Ark retains publishing rights.

Earlier this week, Ark made the decision to place the "Friday" video in the rental section of YouTube, where viewers were asked to pay a $2.99 rental fee for 72-hour, unlimited access. The fee was removed for a short time before the video was taken off of YouTube altogether.

The dispute between Black and the record label centers on the rights to the song. Black, along with her mother, claims that they never received the master recordings and also cited the label's unauthorized sale of "Friday" ringtones as reasons for cutting ties with the label, reports Syracuse Online. Apparently, Black is not happy with the label's attempts to capitalize on the overwhelming popularity of the song, saying that Ark Music Factory is exploiting her image.


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Despite the absence of the video, Black's 15 minutes are not quite over. The young singer has been cast in the latest video by Katy Perry for the song, "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," and the "Friday" single is still available on iTunes.

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