Janet Jackson sues YouTube founders, demands $348 million in ‘muse compensation’
San Francisco, CA Pop singer Janet Jackson has filed a lawsuit against the founders of YouTube, demanding $348 million USD as compensation for her role in the creation of the popular video-sharing site.
The legal action, filed at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, California Friday, names Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim as defendants. The three co-founded in February 2005 what would go on to become the fifth most popular website in the world and Google’s second largest acquisition in November 2006. It has been widely reported that Google forked out a hefty $1.65 billion USD to acquire YouTube.
The lawsuit cites documented evidence of Karim mentioning in various interviews that the inspiration for YouTube came from the “Nasty” singer’s role in Nipplegate, the infamous 2004 Super Bowl half-time incident during which her breast was exposed. Karim has said he could not easily find video clips of Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” online at the time, which led to the idea of a video sharing site.
“Without Nipplegate, there would be no YouTube. Without Janet Jackson, there would be no Nipplegate. For all intents and purposes, Janet Jackson is the muse of YouTube.”
The singer is invoking the State of California’s Unfair Business Practices Act to demand proper compensation following the provision of an extremely profitable business venture idea, and has arrived at the requested amount after factoring in interest, stock trends and other industry variables.
Jackson’s primary lawyer Blair G. Brown said the requested compensation amount of $348 million USD is “a mere pittance in the grand scheme of things,” alluding to YouTube’s continued growth and success.
“Let it be clear to everyone that Ms. Jackson is not doing this for the money. She is doing this in the name of fairness,” said Brown. “Without Nipplegate, there would be no YouTube. Without Janet Jackson, there would be no Nipplegate. It’s as simple as that.”
“For all intents and purposes, Janet Jackson is the muse of YouTube,” Brown added. “It is but a fair thing to compensate the muse.”
The defendants could not be reached for their immediate comments, but lawyers for both Hurley and Karim have made statements denouncing the “frivolous lawsuit,” saying they hope the Supreme Court of California would send it to trial “just to show plaintiff how stupid this really is.”
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Super Bowl incident, which caused widespread uproar in conservative America and resulted in a Federal Communications Commission fine of $550,000 being levied against CBS, the network that aired the controversial event. The fine was later overturned by a federal appeals court. Jackson has since released three studio albums and a greatest hits compilation, and married billionaire tycoon Wissam Al Mana in 2012.