“Hunker Down” Gets “Taken Down”

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Remember the video that Phillip wrote up a post on a few days ago from the McCracken campaign centered on comments made by Lee Leffingwell that the city must be prepared to “hunker down” due to the economic slow down?

Well, it appears that there is nothing else going on in the Mayor's race that the big story this week is about a YouTube video that was only seen 150 times. You see, the song used in McCracken's video Hunker Down by Josh Ramstek, aka Captain Josh, of Orlando, FL was used without the artist's permission, which is of course, slightly more embarrassing because McCracken has made such a big deal out of the music & film industries in Austin in his campaign.

*le sigh*

As a result, the YouTube video has been pulled and replaced with a stripped down version which is posted below (which I actually find more to the point than the Obama speech laden one originally posted).

Oh, and the artist is now going to do a performance/fundraiser for the Leffingwell campaign as part of his tour through Texas in May.

“I'm a working musician, and I certainly don't appreciate having my music stolen,” said Josh Ramstek, aka Captain Josh, of Orlando.  “Everybody knows that Austin is one of America's great music towns, so I'm sure all the working musicians there will appreciate exactly how it makes me feel to learn that my song was used in somebody's campaign commercial without my permission.  I'm not happy about it, to say the least.”

Captain Josh said he will play a benefit concert for Leffingwell in Austin at Leffingwell's downtown campaign headquarters as part of a scheduled tour through Texas in early May.  “I don't know anything at all about the mayor's race in Austin,” said Ramsteck , “but I do know that if one guy is willing to steal somebody's music for his campaign commercial, then I'm for the other guy.”  The benefit concert is set for 6 PM on Monday, May 4th.


About Author

Former Publisher & Owner of the Burnt Orange Report. Political Thinker, Digital Explorer, and Time Traveler.


  1. BeatrixKiddo on

    sometimes a closer look gains results
    You would think from this video that Leffingwell isn't for investing in clean energy, but of course he is.

    He did wait just 3 weeks to approve the largest solar array in the U.S., which turned out to be a good thing since they were able to add a provision that required any federal stimulus funds or tax credits the project received to be passed on as savings to Austin ratepayers. This could potentially save us millions.

    Of course if McCracken had his way the Council would have voted immediately and ratepayers would have been left holding the bag.

  2. Faux-crisis averted
    I'm on Brewster's campaign, and I'm the guy who didn't get permission.  Stupid. my fault. We had already pulled down the video BEFORE I got word of the Leffingwell campaign's press release.  It had run its course, and we we're urging supporters to see Brewster's new supporter video (http://tinyurl.com/cqcddz).

    For the record, I spoke with the artist (Capt. Josh) first thing this morning…after I got the release…and he was anything but upset.  Certainly nothing like the Leffingwell campaign press release implied.  In fact, he didn't know they were doing a press release, which made me wonder how they approved such precise and angry quotes.  But that's a different story.  The bottom line is that Capt. Josh is fine, no thanks to my permission blunder.

    On the bright side, the protest renewed interest in the video, and viewers of the stripped down version nearly doubled the number of viewers we had on Sunday.  It's worth a look if you haven't seen it (http://tinyurl.com/cqgq4a).  Thanks, guys, for pushing it.

  3. BeatrixKiddo on

    wow, how prescient

    That's amazing. You pulled the video down before this guy complained because it had “run its course” after 150 views? That's a pretty darn short course. Like going to the golf course and playing half a hole or so. Makes me wonder how much time you have on your hands if you create a video to show to 150 people and then pull it down.

    Also, according to the Statesman this guy says he said everything in the press release. Just sayin'.

    And now 300 views. Whoa! Victory is assured.


    Black Mamba

  4. What a Terrible Precedent
    I'm sorry, but I think the whole permission thing for a YouTube video was over the top. The “hunker down” meme was a over the top, too — and I spoke to that and, as KT did, the ridiculous Obama quotes when I posted the YouTube video last weekend — but rather than rise above it, the Lee team goes all out to reach the artist and demand faux outrage? I think I'm more bothered by that than the silly use of a random song in a YouTube video that no one was watching in the first place. This isn't a war or anything, and it's not a television advertisement. It's a frickin' YouTube video for a, quite frankly, increasingly snippy mayor's race.

    I, personally, have numerous plans to use music for some fun YouTube videos in the coming months of the campaign season. If a video is wide-spread — I'm talking at least tens of thousands of views — then OK, I can see where getting permission may be an issue. But 150 views and the Lee team gets outraged? That's like saying you need to get permission for using a song for a house party. Or permission to play the song 150 times on a stereo.

    I signed up for Blip.fm this weekend. It's a cool little online gadget that uses a Twitter-like platform. You search a song, the mp3 plays straight from your site, and you can “announce” it to your friends. It is a way to act like your own internet DJ, of sorts, and if I want to (which I do) I can update and link to the mp3 via a Twitter announcement. I have 133 supporters on Twitter — if I had 150, would that mean I was breaking copyright infringement by “publishing” a song online? I think not.

    The internet is supposed to be a medium where information and data is easily exchanged, and payments are based not on the actual work put into the product, but on the value of the product itself. Eric Clemons wrote about this in a great article, “Why Advertising is Failing on the Internet”:

    The internet is about freedom, and I suspect that a truly free population will not be held captive and forced to watch ads.  We always knew that freedom comes at a price; perhaps the price of internet freedom and the failure of ads will be paying a fair price for the content and the experience and the recommendations that we value.

    There was little value to the YouTube video the McCracken campaign put out — and I took more than my fair share of shots at it, and I'm pretty sure we were one of the only sites that even put it online anywhere. Placing monetary value to the song — and expressing outrage for that song — drives me crazy. It's like the person that says, “you are standing 99 feet from the voting booth — you have to be 100 feet away or you're breaking the law!” Come on.

    And yes, I believe in the music business as much as anyone, and I know not every artist can be Radiohead and not every album will be In Rainbows and everyone won't voluntarily pay for music. But this isn't Highway 61 Revisited we're talking about (or, for the rest of you, Sgt. Pepper's). It's hunker down for crying out loud. HAD ANYONE EVER HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE THIS VIDEO? No! Would this guy ever have been invited to play at the campaign rally before this video? No! The video actually helped him — so knock off the outrage.

    Maybe I'm just sleep deprived from writing 14,200 words in five days for my thesis. I certainly recognize that one of the only things that can deserve more mocking than faux outrage is the faux outrage over the faux outrage. (And the subsequent meta circles of hell that will follow). If you want to push the campaign to take the song out because you care about the artists' rights — fine. Do it privately.

    But using it as a position to leverage campaign momentum or whatever — that's even pettier than the whole scenario itself. Why get baited by the stupid video? The Lee team has something like 47,296 endorsements — they had to set this terrible precedent about using a song in a music video just so they could feel an artificial sense of moral superiority?

    I'm sorry, but I just can't hunker down with that.

  5. The 21st Century is the New 19th Century
    Reaching back is the in thing.  We're redoing the depression and Mr. McCracken will not be outdone.

    Mom and Pop living above the general store was the in thing in 1940.  Brew gave you the VMU!

    Trolleys and trains were all the rage in the 1890's.  They're now called light rail and you can get yours now for no money down.  Downtown that is!

    And today, Capt. Josh and Brew-beard bring you back in time to the swashbuckling 1700's with……Piracy!  

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