EDSON, Alta. – YouTube has reposted a popular video of an Alberta man belting out “Bohemian Rhapsody” while riding in the back of an RCMP cruiser.
For several hours, the website said the video was no longer available due to a copyright claim by EMI Music Publishing.
“It seems like a mistake has been made,” said Dylan Jones, a spokesman with EMI in New York.
He said the company often requests videos be pulled from the site if they are “disrespectful,” but it did not in this case.
Robert Wilkinson of Edson was arrested for impaired driving last fall and posted the video when he received it as evidence for his upcoming trial.
The 29-year-old sings the classic Queen tune, complete with hand gestures and head-banging, for six minutes while remembering nearly all the words.
The video had 6.5 million hits before it was pulled. Several people had also posted copies of the video that had not been yanked.
On Monday, Wilkinson wrote an apology to the band on his Facebook page: “Hey! Queen! Sorry, I love you!”
He also posted on Facebook an encore performance, “Handle With Care” by the Traveling Wilburys, apparently recorded at home. During the song, he wears a T-shirt that reads: “I don’t get drunk. I get awesome.”
Wilkinson said in an earlier interview that he didn’t want to send a bad message to people about drinking and driving. He has not been convicted, and his trial has been set for November.
Andrew Murie, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada, said EMI should pull the “Bohemian Rhapsody” video.
“I think people are forgetting the reason he ended up in the back of the police car,” said Murie. “The consequences of driving impaired can be very, very tragic, and it’s nothing to be proud of.
“It’s sad these days that we make celebrities out of people that start doing something wrong in the first place.”