Frank Ocean’s first live performance in six years was all the rage across social media platforms when he headlined the first weekend of the 2023 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 16. Two weeks later, his concert is still the topic of discussion but for a much different reason.
Like any other performance, scores of clips were captured by fans and posted online. But as filmmaker Brian Kinnes recently learned, tediously piecing together the show into an unofficial movie of the Nostalgia, Ultra artist’s desert moment has prompted Coachella parent company AEG to take legal action. As reported by Variety on Saturday (April 29), AEG fired off a cease-and-desist letter to Kinnes, demanding him to remove and destroy all video and audio forms of the performance that have been uploaded to YouTube and other platforms. “Anything short of full compliance with this demand will lead to the initiation of immediate formal legal action,” wrote AEG in the letter obtained by the trade publication.
Prior to receipt of the cease-and-desist letter, Kinnes told Variety, “I’m not concerned with any legal repercussions because I do not plan on making a single penny from it. I will continue to upload it in places that [Ocean’s] legal team will not be able to find. I don’t know if I should tell that to a reporter… but it deserves to exist online.” He reportedly sifted through more than 450 videos of Ocean’s festival appearance, where he performed “Novacane,” “Bad Religion,” “Slide, “In My Room, “No Church In The Wild/Pyramids,” and several other fan-favorite tracks. In total, the concert footage spanned roughly an hour and 20 minutes.
Kinnes, however, feels that he has not done anything wrong by splicing together the Coachella footage. “I’m just combining what’s already publicly available. Essentially, [AEG’s] claims are pretty frivolous and almost completely baseless,” he later told the outlet. Despite his perspective, he has since removed all links, uploads, and tweets regarding the film, though that has done little to stop those who have already downloaded it from sharing it online. “I do think that if Frank saw the video, he would have a certain level of appreciation for the way I captured the performance. I don’t think he would have any issues with it,” he added. Variety noted that determining who owns the copyright to the footage is a gray area.
As previously reported, Ocean’s headlining show was not livestreamed by the festival as many non-attendees had hoped. And, after facing a host of production issues and an ankle injury, the singer ultimately decided to pull out of headlining duties for the following weekend. He was replaced by Blink-182, Skrillex, Four Tet, and Fred Again.