Derivative Artwork Inspiring Derivative Artwork -- But Will The Lawyers Ruin It?

from the but-what-about-the-copyrights? dept

We've written numerous times about the famed mashup artist Girl Talk (Gregg Gillis), who has created some extremely popular and well-reviewed albums by mashing up hundreds of songs together into songs that sound both entirely new, and which give appreciative nods towards the originals. Girl Talk has won various awards and has even been mentioned in Congress by Rep. Mike Doyle, as an example of why copyright should allow more such mashups and remixes, rather than having it crack down on the practice. And, of course, there's also been an excellent movie about Girl Talk, called RiP: A Remix Manifesto, which I encourage people to watch if they haven't seen it yet.

Of course, there are all sorts of copyright questions around this. Some folks are stunned that Gillis hasn't been sued over his widespread sampling. There are a variety of theories as to why that might be -- from the idea that Gillis' use might actually cause courts to recognize that such sampling should be fair use, to the theory that the music industry doesn't go after Gillis because he's "white, middle-class and educated," as opposed to those who often do find themselves on the receiving end of sampling lawsuits.

Either way, we may get to jump deeper into the copyright conundrum, as the NY Times magazine recently covered an effort to make an entire movie based on people dancing to Girl Talk's latest album, All Day. You can see the trailer below:
Even if you're not a fan of Girl Talk's music, the idea -- "an epic, 71-minute-long dance-music video" -- is pretty cool. It's tough to watch the video and not smile, just in general, at the joy it expresses (my favorite part is right in the middle where a woman in the background, who is clearly just a bystander, starts dancing along as well). The filmmaker, Jacob Krupnick, has also put up a Kickstarter page for the project, and it's more than met its goal (it had already, but I'm sure the NYT Magazine article has only helped it get a lot more money too).

What struck me as interesting wasn't just that Krupnick wanted to make a movie based on All Day, but that a lot of his inspiration came from both RiP: Remix a Manifesto and having briefly worked with the lead dancer, Anne Marsen, in a video shoot for a commercial a year and a half ago. As the article recounts, Marsen is a classically trained ballet dancer, who dropped out of the University of the Arts and has since:
gone rogue, dance-wise, taking three or four classes a day from studios all over New York City -- jazz, modern, tap, salsa, flamenco, belly-dancing, break-≠dancing, West African, pole dancing, capoeira -- borrowing gestures and movements and boiling them all down into her own unique B-girl bouillabaisse.
Basically, she mixes a variety of different styles in a somewhat freelance manner. Krupnick had been looking for another project to work with Marsen on, and when he heard the latest Girl Talk album, he realized the basic similarities in style:
As Krupnick listened to the album, it struck him that Girl Talk makes music the way Anne Marsen makes dance. "I started to hyperventilate a little bit, the way you do when you get excited about something that you really want to come true," he told me.
And this is how art gets created. Of course, it's interesting that no one questions Marsen for mixing all different kinds of dances that she's learned from others into her own style -- but when Girl Talk does it, people complain about how it's "stealing" and "infringing." Either way, take these two individuals (along with a supporting cast) and you get this entirely new and entertaining movie as well.

Derivative art creating derivative art.

That this goes against the claims of copyright maximalists will, undoubtedly, be ignored by those copyright maximalists. Of course, there's a separate question here: which is what about the copyright on the film. Gillis releases all of the Girl Talk stuff under a Creative Commons license. But, it's a license that does not allow for commercial use (which some find hypocritical on his part). I doubt he would object to the film (if he did, the social backlash would likely be quite strong), but given that Krupnick is raising money via Kickstarter, someone could make an argument that this is "commercial use." Separately, if Krupnick actually tries to do something more with the movie, he'll almost certainly not be able to get E&O (errors and omissions insurance). Last year, I covered the ridiculous difficulty that RiP's filmmaker, Brett Gaylor had to go through trying to get insurance for his film -- showing us his massive spreadsheet of samples he tried to clear, before giving up.

But the bigger question is whether or not any of the copyright holders on the music Girl Talk uses would decide to step in as well. While they might not have sued Gillis, there's nothing saying that they have to let this movie go forward. Beyond the copyright issues in the samples in the album itself, now Krupnick also has to worry about synch rights, which appear to be one of the lower levels of hell according to various filmmakers I've dealt with in the past.

One can hope, that as with Gillis' original works, that any rights holders know better than to call the lawyers -- and it would be a great story if that actually happens. But, I certainly wouldn't be surprised (though, I'd be very disappointed) if this wonderful idea for a film runs into legal problems. Assuming that happens, it'll be yet another example of copyright not inspiring new creative works, but stifling them (though inspiring legal fees).


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    The eejit (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 9:55am

    I think Krupnick should take a 'Gloriously meta' point. This is clearly meta-meta-copyright.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 10:51am

    It is clearly copyright violation at it's extreme, but who knows? If the copyright holders haven't attacked Girl Talk, why would they bother now?

    I think that without posts like this talking about the legal implications, nobody would care (or watch).

     

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  3.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 10:53am

    more like...

    Derivative Artwork Ruins Derivative Artwork.

    but I think dancing ruins some good standing around.

     

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  4.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 10:58am

    Dance moves vs music scores

    There's a really good point about the inconsistencies in intellectual property. As far as I can tell there is no comparable intellectual property 'protection' for dance moves compared to music scores. Even if Girl Talk merely covered parts of songs then they would likely be liable for royalties. I have to wonder if anyone who claims to understand why royalties are needed for cover versions of songs would be able to explain why the same doesn't apply for dancing.

    I guess in this case it wouldn't make a difference either way, as her style is a bit like free jazz, but it brings up an interesting issue. I would like to hear reasons from pro-IP people as to why dance should or shouldn't be protected by intellectual property law.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:05am

    RtB

    "Derivative art creating derivative art"

    There's your next T-Shirt, Mike.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Who's complaining about Girl Talk? No one. Masnick made it up. He linked back to his own story, and there's nothing in that story about anyone complaining.

    Just more Masnick Effect here, 2 + 2 = 5, etc.

    There's nothing particularly new about what's being done with the above work either; its been done in hip hop for years.

    But apparently we now know Mike enjoys highly derivative music. What a shocker.

     

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  7.  
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    Hiiragi Kagami (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:19am

    Synch rights?

    What. The. Hell.

    Seriously. The middlemen in this business can't die fast enough if they're grasping at fees like a "synch right".

    That's just stupid.

     

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  8.  
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    Jay (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    Re:

    You should really look at the ReMix Manifesto to understand the concept involved.

    I'll help:

    Where he got the discussion about GirlTalk and copyrights and the problems with them

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:23am

    lol.. the article on the main page has the wrong video.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:26am

    Re:

    Everything has been done in everything for years. That's all culture and art are. A process. One step enabling another step, ad infinitum. Pre-Internet, all this remained below the surface, but post-Internet and well . . . .

    The next ten years are going to be brilliant for culture and the arts. Thanks Internet.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:27am

    It doesn't take away the fact that they're building on other people's work. It's like me building a second story over your house, while you still live there.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:29am

    Re: Synch rights?

    It's just a term used for a license to use a work in a particular manner (in an audiovisual work).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:30am

    Re: Dance moves vs music scores

    dance choreography is subject to copyright protection.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:34am

    Re:

    No, it's like me building a house across the street from you on my property that kinda, sorta looks like yours, but not really because it uses inspiration from all your neighbors as well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:35am

    I think one of the reasons no one has sued Girl Talk is that the financial incentives just aren't there.

    If he uses clips from 100 different acts in his mashups, each act is going to have a hard time attributing any of his profits to *their* work, and that's before addressing the fact that he doesn't actually sell recordings.

    Maximum statutory damages for one or two songs aren't going to cover attorney fees if he fights it (and he would likely get some free representation).

    That plus the fact that he has a decent fair use case means (a) there's a chance the legal fees will be spent for nothing, and (b) even if the plaintiff wins it's not a very strong case for getting attorneys' fees paid.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re:

    It's not really like either scenario.

     

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    RadialSkid (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    I see you're still attempting to use your pet term "Masnick Effect," hoping it catches on here and elsewhere, so that you'll have an excuse to edit-bomb Masnick's Wikipedia page again.

    Just give it up.

     

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  18.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, not in the least.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:38am

    Re:

    "It is clearly copyright violation at it's extreme"

    That is by no means clear. He's got a decent fair use argument for a lot of his uses.

    Although he did use a pretty substantial portion of the Jay-Z song lyrics right at the beginning of the video clip.

     

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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    "Who's complaining about Girl Talk? No one. Masnick made it up. He linked back to his own story, and there's nothing in that story about anyone complaining."

    Did you read the comments section?

    "But apparently we now know Mike enjoys highly derivative music."

    Why am I not surprised that you jumped to that conclusion despite Mike starting a paragraph with: "Even if you're not a fan of Girl Talk's music".

     

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    Richard (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re: Dance moves vs music scores

    But individual moves (like individual words in a book) are too small to be protected

     

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    Anonymous, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re:

    I'm more than familiar with mash-ups. It's a cute novelty. I've yet to hear one whose sum is better than its parts.

    And considering all the musical hooks in these things were written by other people, shouldn't those other people be credited as co-writers?

     

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  23.  
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    Greg G (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:50am

    Re: RtB

    And under that, add:

    "BUT... BUT... COPYRIGHT!"

     

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  24.  
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    Donny (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    HOW???

    How is it like that??

    Do the original songs no longer exist? Is your mp3/cd/vinyl of Jay-Z now magically converted into the Girl Talk song that samples him?

    Or is it that if you reference your fondness for Jay-Z, or try and talk about what he means to you, that people won't understand, or will mentally plug in the name "Girl Talk" over your references and talk at cross purposes?

    Or is it that the meaning, the function, the purpose of Jay-Z's song is undermined, withered, defeated?

    In what actual tangible sense is any of the art here actually affected - actually infringed upon - by this new music, EXCEPT in a financial sense?

     

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  25.  
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    vivaelamor (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re: Dance moves vs music scores

    "dance choreography is subject to copyright protection."

    You're right. I had thought the protection wasn't the same but apparently it's just not used much.

    Still, I think there's an interesting issue here of why musicians seem so sue happy compared to dancers. Mike suggests in the article that her use of moves learnt from various schools is kinda like remixing, but perhaps the key difference is that she is performing dance moves rather than using excerpts from other dancers videos. The issue of royalties remains though, shouldn't dancers have a royalty system like musicians do? Shouldn't every establishment with a dance floor be required to pay an agency in case a copyrighted dance be performed?

     

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    The eejit (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Voices of the Lifestream from the OC/ReMix project. The OC/ReMix project does a lot of crazy things with game soundtracks that add to the experience, as did Nobuo Uematsu for Squaresoft during the Final Fantasy games.

     

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  27.  
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    Jay (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's not the point I was making. The Youtube video shows the amount that people ask for in regards to those mashups.

    So yes, credit is where credit is due. But putting a monetary gain for a mashup really does stifle derivative works.

     

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  28.  
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    Jay (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Re:

    I'm willing to bet that the copyright holders are looking for just the right license to micromonetize his expression.

    You used Michael Jackson? $5 per tour

    Ooooh, Celine Dion - $20 to ASSCRAP

    You used Lindsay Lohan...

    Anyway, point stands that the remix license would really be a boon to try to make the holder even more money.

     

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  29.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 12:41pm

    Re:

    We all know it's not about integrity or pride of ownership or protecting the work of artists; it's about a lawyer(s) getting paid. That appears to be the only possible incentive.

    Welcome to the detriment of society in exchange for a court appearance and a big fat payday for the legal team who apparently are the only ones that have figured out that it doesn't matter which side they are on - they will get paid. Like mercenaries who start a war then raise their hand to offer their services for whichever side is willing to pay. You don't have to win - you just have to participate and the money will come regardless of your work or effort.

    The losing attorney should get the "Participant" ribbon in civil suits - that might keep some of the frivolous lawsuits off the docket!

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Dance moves vs music scores

    I'm not sure of any case law directly on point, but I suspect that would depend on the "originality" quotient inherent in such moves, just like any other small/short works or bits of works.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re:

    Sure. You could license the works the same way you license works for any other type of sampling. But the way the works are used in this case changes the litigation calculus.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re:

    "We all know it's not about integrity or pride of ownership or protecting the work of artists; it's about a lawyer(s) getting paid. That appears to be the only possible incentive."

    Um...it's rarely about a lawyer getting paid. It's always (or almost always) about a client getting paid. Client's don't often say "Go ahead and sue! As long as you get paid, I'm happy to put a lot of effort into something that brings me no benefit!"

    Now, most lawyers aren't going to sue for free (even those that work for nonprofits), but the lawyer having a reasonable prospect of getting paid is usually a necessary but not sufficient condition.

     

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  33.  
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    Ryan Diederich, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 1:18pm

    Missed the mark....

    Many commenters here miss the entire point of the debate.

    Using others music in derivative work shouldnt require ANY license, ANY fees, ANY ANYTHING.

    If I want to make a mashup and put it on youtube, I should be able to, no matter what the situation, no matter what anything.

    Lets make an amazing comparison here...

    Have you seen brand name objects in movies? The camera focuses on the apple logo on the laptop for a second, the guys holding a coke, etc.

    Do the companies represented charge a fee for their being in the movie?

    NO

    Often times, the company PAYS (yes thats right, they pay for the advertising) to be in the movie.

    Wow, I know it blows your mind, a content/product creator PAYING for advertising.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Missed the mark....

    Just, FYI, "the entire point of the debate" is not just whatever you want to talk about.

    The article, and many of the comments, have focused on other, similarly valuable points.

    Now, as to YOUR point, there's a tough line to draw. If I want to resell Jay-Z's entire album, with a tiny snippet of my own stuff mixed in at the end, should I be able to without any license from Jay-Z? I think even the most minimal of copyright minimalists (as opposed to abolitionists) would say no. If that's the case, then the line-drawing gets tough.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Dance moves vs music scores

    The issue is that copyright protects "original works of authorship expressed fixed in any tangible medium of expression," including "musical works, including any accompanying words," "sound recordings," and "choreographic works." 17 USC Sec. 102. All music and all dance is protectable by copyright, so long as it is sufficiently original and is "fixed in a tangible medium of expression," i.e., written down.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 1:28pm

    Re: Re: Dance moves vs music scores

    That's pretty much what I said without the statutory cites, right?

     

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  37.  
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    Brian Schroth (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    The term "Derivative Artwork" is a bit redundant, isn't it? All artwork is derivative.

     

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  38.  
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    Jay (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    *over their head*

    ...

    You missed the ENTIRE point I was making with the Youtube video.

    The licensing gets really expensive for no reason and it's arbitrary.

     

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  39.  
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    The eejit (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Then that makes them parasites, plain and simple. When you think in terms of, "How much cash can I get from this?" you're doing ti wrong.

     

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  40.  
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    The eejit (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Missed the mark....

    There's a balance somewhere between the two. I think you should absolutely be able to do that. I also believe that, should you do that, you should absolutely be liable for any problems that you cause yourself.

    Which is why I dislike the attitudes of the MAFIAA, which essentially boils down to, "We're not making enough money! We need stricter laws!"

     

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  41.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It's always (or almost always) about a client getting paid."

    You're missing the most obvious of all points here!

    In these lawsuits only one client will (possibly) get paid, but the lawyers on BOTH sides are guaranteed to get paid!

     

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  42.  
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    HothMonster, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Danger Mouse's Grey Album, nuff said

     

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  43.  
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    HothMonster, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Well I was gonna buy Jay-Z's album but know that I know small parts of it are intermingled with other music including some of his lyrics I'll just buy this album instead.

     

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  44.  
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    chris (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:20pm

    Re:

    All artwork is derivative.

    i went to a show by ricky henry from shael riley and he did a chiptune cover of party and bullshit in the usa" which is a bootie mashup.

    it was a pretty epic collision.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:27pm

    Re: RtB

    How about:

    photocopy machines: creating innovation for more than 50- years

    That about sums it up.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:48pm

    Re: *over their head*

    What? You didn't mention Youtube at all in your previous post.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I disagree. Most businesses do most things for profit, and that doesn't make them parasites.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    First, as I mentioned, I'd suspect Girl Talk could get some free representation, although even such "free" attorneys are going to get some value out of it.

    Second, even assuming both sides of attorneys get paid, that doesn't make attorney payment "the only possible incentive" for a lawsuit, or even a bad thing.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    But if Jay-Z didn't exist, nor would this. Other artists would have been ripped off instead so you could not buy from them too.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re:

    Nice spin, but not quite.

    If my house was copyrighted, you wouldn't be allowed to make a "very similar one that could easily cause confusion". Then you just add bits and pieces from other houses to try to hide the copyright theft you're doing.

    Why would it be any different here? Because Mike said so?

     

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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Second, even assuming both sides of attorneys get paid, that doesn't make attorney payment "the only possible incentive" for a lawsuit, or even a bad thing.

    This is the point I disagree with at heart. A lawsuit strictly driven by attorney payment is absolutely abuse of the legal system of the worst kind.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It never is around here. Worst analogies in the world are compiled here every day.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Dude. Did you read anything I wrote?

    I'm saying you are wrong to assume that attorney payment *is* the only thing driving a lawsuit. That is rarely the case.

     

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    DMNTD, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 3:22pm

    yes

    Actually the fact that MOST businesses around/in America exists only for profit is what killed them. The rabbit hole that is minimal expense maximize profit is what has led the way to corporate America. Its a disease in IMO, just like gambling etc its never enough.

    People are busy trying to survive so they find the best way to use their money all the while think tanks smear media an junk everywhere making living quite the joke..problem is its on the people. If that were not the case, then this whole discussion would just be hypothetical.

    Sadly, it is not.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Missed the mark....

    "Do the companies represented charge a fee for their being in the movie? NO" Uhm, yes. They do. All the big ones. Then when the small ones are left out, they sue.

     

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  56.  
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    The eejit (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But I'll quite happily steal the nose hairs that you dropped while sneezing this crap out of your system. *rolleyes*

     

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  57.  
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    The eejit (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The difference is that the only ones really going the litigious route are those who've made their money off a broken system. They're the ones with the deepest pockets. Why do you think most smaller companies settle instead of trying to fight in court? (Hint: it's not because they may be in the wrong).

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The difference is that the only ones really going the litigious route are those who've made their money off a broken system."

    That's not at all true. Plenty of companies, good, bad, innovative, crotchety, "go the litigious route" sometimes.

    I think that's unrelated to why most parties settle (including plaintiffs and defendants of all sizes).

     

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  59.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    they're still doing it wrong.
    the question should not be 'how much money am i getting from this' it should be 'is this action going to lead to a gain on any level that justifies it's costs on all levels?'. that's not just a cash question. if a company already makes a profit, making a Bigger profit by screwing over the world and people around you will usually have a 'no' answer to this question, btw.

    all too often the answer in these music/IP related situations is 'no', but they do it anyway.

     

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  60.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 4:31pm

    Re: yes

    your first paragraph...
    win.

    the second one i'm failing at due to overload from reading too many different things at once. heh.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 4:42pm

    Re: I've yet to hear one whose sum is better than its parts.

    So, do you think Brahmsí variations on a theme pirated from Haydn was no improvement on the original? Or his theft from Paganini was no better?

     

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  62.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 4:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Client MegaCorp: Hey did you see our company (logo/sign/building/etc.) in the hilarious YouTube video that went viral last week?

    Legal Team: Absolutely, and used without permission even!

    Marketing Department: We love it - we couldn't create that much publicity with a budget ten-fold of what we currently have!

    Client MegaCorp: What can we do about that?

    Legal Team: Just say the word and we'll take care of the rest!

    Client MegaCorp: "The word."

    Legal Team: Issue a DMCA takedown notice, someone track that IP address, let's find the culprit and we'll make 'em pay! We'll show them they can't do that to our clients!

    Marketing Department: {two-handed face palm}

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I agree with you re the best question to ask, although I think the "no but do it anyway" situations just get more press than the other situations, so if *feels* like it happens often.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's a nice little hypothetical dialogue you wrote. What is it doing in this thread?

     

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  65.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 6:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm more than familiar with mash-ups. It's a cute novelty. I've yet to hear one whose sum is better than its parts.

    I've heard several that are better. In fact, I rarely enjoy hip hop unless it's divorced from the usual, low-bpm 808 beats. I would almost say you're predisposed against mashups for whatever reason. I'm going out on a limb here and figuring you've never listened to the Kleptones before. Check out "A Night at the Hip Hopera" which mashes up about a decade's worth of hip hop with a Queen album. Truly inspired. And inspiring.

    http://www.kleptones.com/pages/downloads.html

    And considering all the musical hooks in these things were written by other people, shouldn't those other people be credited as co-writers?

    Most mashup artists make no pretense about claiming writing credit or anything like that. They're building on pre-existing work and they're smart enough to know that. They also know they'll never be able to sell these albums, so that's half a deck stacked against them from the get-go. But still they do it. Why? I'm guessing it's because they honestly love music.

    There are lots of music labels out there that don't love music. They love "product" and "sales." Consequently, they produce miserable, calculated "artistry." Mashups destroy all those fake confines and cut "product" adrift from its mooring. Music rarely sounds as alive as it does in the hands of a capable mashup artist.

    Who else comes up with ideas like 50 Cent talking up his game over Jan Hammer's Miami Vice theme? Or Missy talking sexual smack over Cake's alterna-rock? Or the Black Francis screaming "UH!" like a choir full of whores over the top of Martin Solveig's electro-breaks with added lyrical accompaniment from Peter, Bjorn and John? Certainly not the artists themselves.

    Don't sell these craftsmen short just because they play around with your favorite tracks or assume they lack creativity because they didn't write the sheet music.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 7th, 2011 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh grow up.

    Houses have discrete addresses... where the f*ck is the confusion and who the f*ck cares.

    Take it as a compliment on your good taste and move along - you lose NOTHING.

     

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  67.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It doesn't take away the fact that they're building on other people's work. It's like me building a second story over your house, while you still live there.

    No, it's like someone borrowing your window and someone else's door and the front walk from your mutual neighbor and a mailbox from the guy across the street who's always stealing your newspaper and stealing that newspaper back along with some decent shrubbery and using the same paint color as the corner house and the shingles of the house behind you and the garage doors from two blocks away and the naked cherub fountain from the courthouse and the stern street number font of the cop shop and the spiral staircase from that one movie you saw and the exit signs from the local theater and the car seats from the soccer mom's minivan and that stoner's stereo and mom's couch and grandma's collector's plates and Uncle Jim's junked Olds and the 12th hole green from the nearest golf course and all the ideas of a meth-addled feng shui consultant and some ideas from your local architect as improved on by your 4-year-old's idea of what a real house looks like viewed through a combination 3-D glasses/kaleidescope.

    That's what it's like:

    (Girl Talk - "Jump on Stage" sample list)
    * 0:00 - 1:08 Portishead - "Sour Times" (portion sampled samples "Danube Incident" by Lalo Schifrin)
    * 0:01 - 0:08 Miley Cyrus - "Party in the U.S.A."
    * 0:08 - 0:09 Naughty by Nature - "Everything's Gonna Be Alright"
    * 0:09 - 1:23 Big Boi featuring Cutty - "Shutterbugg"
    * 0:10 - 1:08 Amerie - "Why R U"
    * 1:09 - 2:41 Talking Heads - "Take Me to the River"
    * 1:14 - 1:23 Ice Cube - "We Be Clubbin'"
    * 1:14 - 1:27 V.I.C. - "Wobble"
    * 1:15 - 1:25 50 Cent - "Get Up"
    * 1:16 - 1:28 Diddy featuring Christina Aguilera - "Tell Me"
    * 1:18 - 1:33 The Edgar Winter Group - "Frankenstein"
    * 1:31 - 1:33 50 Cent - "Disco Inferno"
    * 1:33 - 2:41 Skee-Lo - "I Wish"
    * 1:34 - 2:17 The Notorious B.I.G. - "Hypnotize"
    * 1:43 - 2:46 T'Pau - "Heart and Soul"
    * 2:46 - 2:46 Janet Jackson - "Love Will Never Do (Without You)"
    * 2:42 - 3:08 Jadakiss featuring Swizz Beatz and OJ Da Juiceman - "Who's Real"
    * 2:50 - 2:51 New Edition - "If It Isn't Love"
    * 2:52 - 4:26 Radiohead - "Creep"
    * 3:04 - 4:10 Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Shimmy Shimmy Ya"
    * 3:09 - 3:11 Public Enemy - "Public Enemy No. 1"
    * 3:51 - 4:08 Cypress Hill - "How I Could Just Kill a Man"
    * 4:20 - 4:30 Busta Rhymes - "Dangerous"
    * 4:25 - 5:03 Prince - "Delirious"
    * 4:30 - 5:13 Master P featuring 5th Ward Weebie and Krazy - "Rock It"
    * 5:08 - 5:08 Prince & the New Power Generation - "Gett Off"
    * 5:09 - 6:22 Iggy Pop - "Lust for Life"
    * 5:09 - 6:17 Beastie Boys - "Hey Ladies"
    * 5:15 - 5:17 White Town - "Your Woman"
    * 5:18 - 6:22 Lady GaGa - "LoveGame"

    http://www.illegal-tracklist.net/Tracklists/AllDay

    And then this collective asks you to move out because you're harshing everyone's mellow with your lack of ideas.

     

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  68.  
    icon
    T Teshima (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 8:33pm

    Girl talk

    Not to get off topic, but the nut had a follow story where Gillis talks about how he has distributed his music. It sounds like the model that has been discussed here so often. Gillis sold his first 2 CDs traditionally, charging 10 bucks a pop. Then he tried a pay what you want model. Then he went to a totally free model with no option to pay at all. The writer of the article seemed amazed that Gillis could make money. Of course Gillis replied that he made money from touring and merchandise sales! Too bad the author totally glossed over this model of doing business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    icon
    T Teshima (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 8:33pm

    Girl talk

    Not to get off topic, but the nut had a follow story where Gillis talks about how he has distributed his music. It sounds like the model that has been discussed here so often. Gillis sold his first 2 CDs traditionally, charging 10 bucks a pop. Then he tried a pay what you want model. Then he went to a totally free model with no option to pay at all. The writer of the article seemed amazed that Gillis could make money. Of course Gillis replied that he made money from touring and merchandise sales! Too bad the author totally glossed over this model of doing business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    T Teshima (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 8:34pm

    Correction

    Oops, I meant the NYTimes, not the nut, Sorry about that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    icon
    T Teshima (profile), Mar 7th, 2011 @ 8:34pm

    Correction

    Oops, I meant the NYTimes, not the nut, Sorry about that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), Mar 8th, 2011 @ 12:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Being relevant.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2011 @ 5:03am

    Re:

    this album is so fantastic it is hard to put into words.

    the worst part is it is like a commercial for all these other songs, i've bought six other albums from this one alone.

    and come on, it starts off with ozzy and ludacrious.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2011 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sort of more like he ripped all those things off of other people's houses and cars. There isn't really anything original here, he adds little except the ability to mix. But it is like a bricklayer claiming to be a great plumber, when all he did was put bricks on the front of the house. It's a fail.

    For me, it's the biggest damnation of "current culture" because they have stopped being truly creative and settled for second best recycling. They no longer are impressed by a great painting, but they are impressed with the guy sweeping up the studio once the artist left.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Mar 8th, 2011 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Since the scenario seems foreign to you, I'm guessing you've never been in that type of meeting.

    When decisions are made just because there is a legal avenue available, rather than taking a step back and actually evaluating what is going on and how it might even have a positive effect for your company, you end up with perfectly good money going to the legal team which could have gone into actual development, innovation, and/or salaries for the people who actually contribute to the companies bottom line.

    Far too often we see companies take legal action simply because they can and not even consider other ways to resolve a perceived threat or even possibly accept a beneficial circumstance brought about by a third party.

    The mentality of shoot first and ask questions later rarely works to the shooters benefit.

     

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  76.  
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    Jay (profile), Mar 8th, 2011 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: *over their head*

    Oops... Wrong thread.

    Link

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Mar 8th, 2011 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Do you realize how much those other artists took from others themselves?

    Vanilla Ice and Queen

    Biz Markie vs Warner Bros

    Then let's look at what GirlTalk figured out about the rhythm of certain songs:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC4BRLYlGjE

    Look at that and tell me that you haven't heard similar riffs throughout the ages

     

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  78.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 8th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Did you have any examples of this "non-current", wholly original art that you speak so highly of? Or maybe you could indicate which year you believe culture began to take a turn for the worse? (i.e. became "current" and therefore, worthless...)

     

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  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 8th, 2011 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "When decisions are made just because there is a legal avenue available, rather than taking a step back and actually evaluating what is going on and how it might even have a positive effect for your company, you end up with perfectly good money going to the legal team which could have gone into actual development, innovation, and/or salaries for the people who actually contribute to the companies bottom line."

    Sure. In case you missed it the several times I've explicitly stated this, my point is that this doesn't happen all that often.

    I'll be the first to admit that sometimes companies make bad decisions, and that includes litigating when they shouldn't. But that's usually based on a misperception of the costs/benefits, not simply because they *can* or because they only care about lawyers getting paid.

    If you'll recall, that is what this thread started off being about.

    If you have some reason to believe that people are deciding to sue simply because they can and they want lawyers to get paid, please explain, but simply saying that it happens or creating a fictional dialogue in which it happens is not very convincing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Mar 8th, 2011 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Because the odds are unwoefully stacked against them? You have statutory damages that just ONE infringement unfairly bankrupts you, you have the innocent infringer defense that still takes a good chunk of your income, and you have lawyers that take away any money where you can't really represent yourself in civil court.


    I could go on, but the litigious route is the first signal that your business is failing. If you have to sue your customers, you're doing it wrong.

     

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  81.  
    icon
    Ron Rezendes (profile), Mar 8th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "If you have some reason to believe that people are deciding to sue simply because they can and they want lawyers to get paid, please explain, but simply saying that it happens or creating a fictional dialogue in which it happens is not very convincing."

    The dialogue is based on personal first-hand experience. While not a word for word transcript, this scenario actually happened right in front of me. When I questioned the motive behind the action being taken I was told, literally, "That's what they get paid to do."

    Despite a no-cost benefit that resulted in some fantastic exposure, the legal team was sent hunting.

    Please don't misunderstand, there is a time and place for legal action but todays litigious society (US) is far from prudent about deciding when to use their legal resources.

    The headline here is: "Derivative Artwork Inspiring Derivative Artwork -- But Will The Lawyers Ruin It?"

    It would be a safe bet to simply answer "Yes, they will."

     

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  82.  
    identicon
    Huph, Mar 8th, 2011 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Dance moves vs music scores

    A field I have experience in!

    In regards to Dance copyright: look up Labanotation.

    I work with A LOT of dancers. Protecting their work is SERIOUS business and they are adamant about it.

    DJ qbert is also working on a similar method to codify record scratching.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    Andrew Aversa, Mar 8th, 2011 @ 8:23pm

    Re: OC ReMix

    I've been a member of www.OCReMix.org for years. The site is built around creative reinterpretations of video game music. I credit OCR with my ability to now write and produce music full-time. For what it's worth, I was the one that directed Voices of the Lifestream (mentioned earlier.) Derivative works? By some definitions, yes. We also don't make any money from these albums or remixes, or ad revenue for that matter. We draw the line at non-commercial usage.

     

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  84.  
    identicon
    Gordon, Mar 11th, 2011 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    >> putting a monetary gain for a mashup really does stifle derivative works.

    SOLUTION: create ORIGINAL works, instead of derivative ones. That is what the framers intended to promote when they wrote the constitution... While recognizing that the protections of copyright should exist for limited times.

    And yes, we can argue all day about HOW LIMITED those tim frames should be.....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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