Strange things happen on the Internet all the time. The art of RickRolling was -- and for some, still is -- one of them, whereby for a short period of time it became vogue to trick people into visiting Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" video on YouTube. Even more strange than RickRolling becoming a thing is the fact that AVG Technologies managed to convince YouTube to pull the popular video yesterday.
Government bureaucrats have a reputation for being stodgy and without a sense of humor. Well, the aid tasked with running the @whitehouse Twitter account might have just proved that wrong. The White House just Rickrolled a user that complained about the entertainment value of recent Obama briefings. Take that!
We imagine getting Rickrolled would be just as annoying today as it ever was, only we wouldn't know because hardly anyone is lame enough to keep this prank going. But hey, if you do happen to fraternize with idiots who still get a kick out of Rickrolling, there's a new Firefox add-on that may help.
At this point, we can't even call it fashionably late to the party, it's just plain late. But whatever, "RickRemoval" version 1.0 promises to thwart Rickrolling attempts by cross-referencing every site you visit against a database of over 200 known Rickroll pages.
There's also a second layer of protection applied to YouTube destinations. The add-on scours the video page looking for any suspicious keywords, and if it finds too many warning signs, it won't load the page.
Sound like something you need? Then find a new group of friends. Barring that, you can grab the add-on here.
Rick Astley may never give you up, but that didn't stop YouTube from giving up on the 80s pop star. We're not sure exactly when it happened, but the video sharing site has pulled the plug on the original 'Rickroll' video, the one that recorded over 30 million views, nearly all of which were unintended.
So why did YouTube take the video down?
That's all YouTube and Google are so far willing to say on the matter. Nevertheless, don't let the take down give you a false sense of security. There are still plenty other videos of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" floating about on YouTube, as well as the rest of the Internet.
It's hard to condone the act of RickRolling, but desperate times call for desperate measures. In a recent blog post by Wi-Fi convention provider Codify, excessive BitTorrent traffic at last year's Tech.Ed conference in Australia forced them to take drastic action against anyone trying to file share. The cruel, yet effective weapon of choice was Rick Astley, and his now infamous song "Never Gonna Give You Up" .
According to Codify the problem with BitTorrent users on a public Wi-Fi network isn't bandwidth, but excessive port usage. “At this point you have to remember that we have a heap of bandwidth available. Some clients chomping through a lot of bandwidth isn’t a problem and running BitTorrent isn’t a problem per se,” saidCodify’s David Connor. Several options were considered to restrict traffic, but in the end it was determined nothing short of Rick Astley could save the day. “….we implemented certain, ahem, ‘interim countermeasures’,” wrote Connor. “We quickly built a list of all of the top torrent trackers around and got the nod from Jorke [Odolphi, Web Platform Architect Evangelist for Microsoft Australia] to add them all to the local DNS resolver and point them at a local web server containing some RickRoll scripts.”
Microsoft has collected the MAC address's of offending users, but is planning on enforcing a mandatory registration process prior to the next event to help identify users on the network. My guess is that this is to prevent any lawsuits for cruel and unusual punishment due to accidental Rickroll exposure.
Does the punishment fit the crime? If you can correctly answer the question pictured above, you have my sympathies.
British songwriter and producer Pete Waterman, now 62-years-old, could never have predicted that the Rick Astley hit "Never Gonna Give You Up" would become a phenomenon some 20 years after he co-wrote it, so it must have come as some surprise to see the song get 150 million plays in 2008 alone. He also couldn't have predicted that so much 'air play' could earn him so little money, yet that's exactly what has happened.
"There was I sitting at Christmas thinking, 'I must have made a few bob this year with the old Rickrolling'," Waterman said at a press conference to mark the launch of a website campaigning for a fairer deal for songwriters whose music is featured on YouTube. "I rang my publisher and they said 'You'll be all right,' until I saw the royalty statement. £11. If 154 million plays means £11, I get more from Radio Stoke playing Never Gonna Give You Up than I do from YouTube."
In U.S. currency, Waterman's royalty payment converts to just $16, which hardly seems fair given how much exposure the song has received. The PRS for Music organization doesn't think it's fair either and wants Google and YouTube to pay higher royalties to songwriters for use of their work online.
"We absolutely believe that artists and songwriters should make money from the use of their material," a YouTube spokesperson said. "We previously had a license with teh PRS to enable this to happen and we are very committed to reaching terms so that we can renew our license."
Looks like Waterman got screwed, but we found a way he may be able to collect on those royalties after all. If you're reading this Waterman, click this link.
Thanks to NBC, there's probably not anyone left who hasn't been Rickroll'd. It started out innocently enough as the characters from Cartoon Network's Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends strolled through the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But during one of the stops in which the creatures were in the middle of a song, 80s pop star Rick Astley emerged out of nowhere and started belting out the all too familiar "Never Gonna Give You Up." At the end of the song, one of the creatures exclaims "I like Rickrolling!" Apparently, so does NBC.
This isn't the first time event goers have unwittingly been Rickroll'd offline. In 2007, the New York Mets organization held an online contest intended to let the team's fans determine what would become the Mets' traditional eigth-inning sing-along. Instead, online pranksters sabotaged the poll and voted up Rick Astley's former hit song. Realizing what had happened, the Mets decided to play the top six selections, including "Never Gonna Give You Up," and let the crowd's reaction decide the winner. Not surprisingly, the crowd broke out in a chorus of 'boos' when Rick Astley's song started playing.