Millionaire British songwriter and entrepreneur Pete Waterman is upset with Google over the paltry royalty checks he’s been receiving from them for Youtube’s play of Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up,” a tune that Waterman penned.
Waterman only receive[d] £11 (about $16) in royalties last year from Google, despite being the man behind the song that spawned the Internet phenomena known as Rick Rolling. The number might be a tad on the low side, but we’d hardly call it exploitation. PRS for Music (the royalty collection agency that Waterman employs) and Google are working to reach a new licensing agreement, but have yet to strike a deal regarding how royalties should be dolled out for streaming online content.
Waterman, who in 2004 was estimated to be worth £47 million (just shy of $69 million), recently held a press conference in which he compared his plight to that of exploited migrant labor in Dubai.
We’re talking about a man with so much scratch that he collects antique trains– not tiny model toy trains, but actual, full-sized locomotives. Show me a migrant laborer in Dubai who has one of the world’s largest collections of antique locomotives, and then maybe I’ll care that you’re only getting paid a little bit of free money for doing nothing.
To be fair however, this is Dubai we’re talking about. For all I know, their idea of poor, exploited migrant labor could be displaced former AIG executives forced to drink 10-year-old (instead of 40-year old) scotch and sleep in 5,000 square foot, 4-bedroom “shacks” with no bidet.