In an odd and perplexing move, Australians can no longer see “Numa Numa” on YouTube. Despite being on the site for nearly ten years, a copyright claim by Sony Music Entertainment has now geoblocked Australians from accessing one of the earliest viral videos on YouTube.
— Gary Brolsma (@Gman250) June 6, 2016
For those who need a refresher, the “Numa Numa” video features Gary Brolsma (pictured above) lip-syncing to the song “Dragostea din tei” by the Moldovan pop group O-Zone. After Brolsma uploaded the video to Newgrounds in 2004, the video quickly became a viral sensation. Figures from The Viral Factory in 2006 reported that he had 700 million views – second to the Star Wars Kid.
He then reuploaded the video in 2006 to YouTube – the very same video which has now since been geoblocked – in the leadup of him releasing a new video called “New Numa”. The reupload currently has 23 million views. It should be noted that other people have reuploaded the video earlier than him – one even receiving more than 43 million views – but were removed after Brolsma himself issued a copyright infringement notice to remove them.
The news was first reported on Reddit eleven days ago and people aren’t happy about it. It also appears that Australia is not the only country being blocked. According to this website that tracks where YouTube videos have been blocked, the video has also been blocked by Sony in almost every single country in the world.
Only a small number of countries – including the United States, Canada, Ireland, the UK, Italy, Germany and Japan – are not blocked by Sony from seeing “Numa Numa”. With the exception of Japan – where Sony Music does not have distribution rights to the song used in the video – it is unknown why Sony has not blocked them from seeing the video.
Now, a bit of a disclosure, I only found out about this story after NordVPN sent a press release late at night about the video being blocked to promote the fact that many Australians are flocking to VPN services, such as theirs.
However, despite this, it’s still an important news story to write about given the questionable nature of this move by Sony. While Sony is entitled to protect their copyright, doing it now – nearly ten years after the video was uploaded to YouTube – seems really stupid.