Are You Down With the Naptown Funk?

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It seems everyone loves a good spirit video. We’ve generated a tons of clicks and comments from charming lip sync videos made a phone’s video camera by bored servicemen and servicewomen.

Senior Naval Academy midshipman Ryan Tuohy has executed something that’s an entirely different order of magnitude: a cover version of the Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars song and video of “Uptown Funk” with rewritten lyrics and production values that are worthy of a Super Bowl commercial.

The video, posted Sunday, is quickly going viral.

According to The Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Tuohy went to the city and acquired permits to close down Maryland Avenue for the video shoot. The rewritten lyrics celebrate Navy life in Maryland’s capital city and Tuohy considers the clip a challenge to the Navy inhabitants of San Diego, Norfolk and Chicago to make their own answer videos. Tuohy’s work was reviewed and approved by John Schofield, a commander in the academy’s Public Affairs Office.

Tuohy claims the video was made for a budget of “$0” on his YouTube page. The city of Annapolis waived fees for the filming permit. He claims to own all the equipment used for the shoot, but some of those scenes look remarkably like crane or helicopter shots. And the engineers who recorded the vocals and mixed the track donated their time. As did the students who appear in the video. And, while a legal argument that the changes to the track are “parody” and qualify as “fair use,” there are quite a few music publishing attorneys who would be willing to argue that the film comes off as a promotional clip for the Naval Academy and therefore required a license, even if Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars would have been willing to grant one for free. So let’s get real: there’s probably at least $50K worth of donated time and skill in the video. Props to everyone who offered to work for free.

On the other hand, Tuohy’s not working for free: every play of “Naptown Funk” on his YouTube page has preroll advertising. Way to work the system, young man.

Let us know what you think of “Naptown Funk” in the comments below.