By guest blogger Josh Wolf

You Tube pulled R&B singer Rihanna’s latest music video from her official VEVO channel early Friday afternoon citing a copyright claim from the RIAA. The video has come under fire by family values activists over its violent narrative that tells the story of the singer shooting dead the man who sexually assaulted her.

VEVO is a music video Website and a series of YouTube accounts that serve as the official music video channel for dozens of recording artists. It is owned by three record companies and was originally envisioned as a Hulu for music videos.

So it makes little sense that the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA, which is also owned by the recording industry would file a copyright take-down notice on what’s essentially themselves.

After contacting VEVO about You Tube’s removal of the video for Rihanna’s song “Man Down,” VEVO posted a series of Twitter messages about the incident.

“We want to UnblockManDown — we’re looking into why it was removed from Youtube. … Some shady activity is going on, … We’re about to get our CSI on,” said the company on Twitter.

Rihanna herself responded on Twitter to the news that her video had been blocked on You Tube.

“…Cuz I’m black bitch. UnblockManDown,” posted the singer on her Twitter account.

When contacted by e-mail in Washington DC shortly before the end of business Friday, RIAA spokeswoman Liz Kennedy wrote to say that she would look into the matter, but later followed up to say that she was having difficulty finding anyone still at work.

Around three in the afternoon Pacific Time, VEVO reported on twitter that the official video was back online.

“When #RihannaNavy mobilizes, it’s breathtaking,” the company wrote. “To be clear, #ManDownVideo was not blocked because of the video itself. There was a phony copyright claim that we laid some smack down on.”

You Tube has not yet responded to a request for confirmation or explanation of the safe guards in place to ensure that erroneous copyright claims are not used to take down videos on the site in the future.

Before its release the video’s director, Anthony Mandler, told MTV it would be “dramatic and shocking and intense and emotional and uplifting and enlightening.”

“It’s just one of those songs that demands a strong narrative and visual, and let’s just say she let me go all the way”, said Mandler.

“Man Down” premiered on BET Tuesday night. By the next day three family values groups focused on television content had joined together to issue a press release condemning the video.

“‘Man Down’ is an inexcusable shock-only, shoot-and-kill theme song. In my 30 years of viewing BET, I have never witnessed such a cold, calculated execution of murder in primetime. Viacom’s standards and practices department has reached another new low,” said Paul Porter, a former music programmer at BET and co-founder of Industry Ears, in the release.

BET refused to pull the video saying that it met their content standards and guidelines, but The Parent’s Television Council fired back and urged MTV not to air the video.

“If BET is serious that the video ‘complied’ with its standards, we would like to know just what those ‘standards’ are,” said Parent’s Television Council spokeswoman Melissa Henson in a released issued on Friday.

Later that day the video was pulled from YouTube.