Tag Archives: copyright

Dean Gray Tuesday…er…Wednesday

I didn’t get around to posting this yesterday, so I’ll tell folks about it now. Actually, I’ll let BoingBoing explain.

Today is Dean Gray Tuesday, a net-wide day of protest over Warner Brothers attempt to censor a stupendous noncommercial mashup album called American Edit that remixes Green Day’s album American Idiot.

For today, websites across the Internet are mirroring the American Edit album and/or turning their page-backgrounds grey. Mashup albums don’t hurt the sales of the albums they sample — at worst, they have no effect on sales, at best they can promote them. Artists who are signed to major labels can avail themselves of labels’ legal departments when they want to remix others’ work and get their samples cleared. Indie artists, hobbyists and fans don’t get legal assistance from labels’ high-priced fixers. This is pure patronage: in the old days you couldn’t make art unless the King or some bishop granted you permission; today you need permission from a studio executive.

The labels admit this. Last year, EMI made headlines by censoring DJ Danger Mouse’s Grey Album, which remixed the Beatles’ White Album and Jay-Z’s Black Album. I raised this with an EMI representative at London’s Creative Economy conference and she shrugged it off: "What’s the problem? We later hired Danger Mouse to make a mashup album for us."

The problem is that copyright law is supposed to decentralize the process of making art, moving the power to authorize art from royalty to the marketplace. Labels have no business setting themselves up as arbiters of what art can and can’t be made.

Happy Dean Grey Tuesday. Up yours, Warners. Link

Update: Matt cooked up this sweet Dalek/Warner lawyer graphic in honor of the day.

Here are a three more cool mashups for your listening pleasure. 🙂

The Kleptones – A Night at the Hip Hopera
Various Artisits – llegal Art
Various DJs – Flip the Swtich (Chemical Brothers Remixed)

I’ve added a button to my left sidebar with a link pointing to Banned Music. They have links to other mashups (like the infamous "Grey Album"). Check it out.

Absolut Bull$#!%

absolut-corruption-2politicaljunkies.JPGI’m a big fan and supporter of parody and I loathe petty litigation. The image posted here is brought to you by the fine folks at 2 Political Junkies. I’m not associated with them, by the way. The reason I have my own copy of the image is just in case they have to take it down for legal reasons. Ya see, apparently the owners of Absolut Vodka, V&S, don’t get the joke. They’ve asked 2 Political Junkies to take down the image.

"A lawyer for Absolut’s owners, V&S, e-mailed Lupinacci Nov. 14, saying the parody infringes on Absolut’s copyright and trademark, and requested it be immediately removed. The firm’s policy is to stay away from political statements of any kind, attorney Jenny Bergquist wrote, and ‘you are using the Absolut trademark in order to promote your political message.’"

So much for free speech and protection of parody.

"Although a parody can be considered a derivative work under United States Copyright Law it can be protected under the fair use of 17 USC � 107. In 2001, the federal Court of Appeals, 11th District in Suntrust v. Houghton Mifflin upheld the right of Alice Randall to publish a parody of Gone with the Wind called The Wind Done Gone, which told the same story from the point of view of Scarlett O’Hara’s slaves, who were glad to be rid of her. See also the Supreme Court of the United States case Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music regarding the song Oh, Pretty Woman."

In particular, parody advertisements are legally protected.

Unless and until lawyers start breathing down my neck, I’ll be keeping this image up. Welcome to America, V&S, land of free speech and home of fair use. Get bent!

P.S. I agree with the commenters who want a version for Democrats, too. Come to think of it, in response to V&S’s petty behavior, a parody of them in the same vein might be appropriate. 😉

P.P.S. Someone please hit this guy with a cluebat/LART/mallet o’ understanding.

Same Old Song and Dance

‘Twould seem the RIAA, record companies, and their pack of snarling, salivating
hyenas…er…lawyers, haven’t noticed that pay-to-download is a workable business
model that has people’s attention – and money. If record companies produced CDs
with 15 or so good songs, none of this would be an issue. Music piracy was a case
of necessity inventing. You want just one song from an otherwise putrid CD? Download
it. Now, some of those songs can be downloaded legally, for a small fee. The average
Joe is quite happy to stay legal when the customer is satisfied.

the PIRATE Act

“The PIRATE Act (S.2237) is yet another attempt to make taxpayers fund the misguided
war on file sharing, and it’s moving fast. The bill would allow the government to
file civil copyright lawsuits in addition to criminal prosecutions, dramatically
lowering the burden of proof and adding to the thousands of suits already filed
by record companies. It would also force the American public to pay the legal bills
of foreign record companies like Bertelsmann, Vivendi Universal, EMI, and Sony.
Meanwhile, not a penny from the lawsuits goes to the artists.”

“Don’t let the record industry use your hard-earned dollars to pursue this fruitless
war; tell Congress to sink the PIRATE Act!”