'Death Of ACTA' Song Taken Down In Copyright Claim

from the irony-much? dept

You may recall last fall we wrote about one of Dan Bull’s excellent tracks commenting on copyright issues, called Death Of ACTA. You can see the video for the song here:

Dan Bull has embraced file sharing — not surprisingly, given the subject matter of many of his songs — and placed the song on various sharing networks and sites, including the cyberlocker Mediafire. Obviously, he did so on purpose, with the desire that more people hear the song. However, he noted with a bit of irony recently that the song on Mediafire was taken down due to a copyright claim. Considering the whole song is about the overreaching efforts of copyright as censorship, this seems pretty ironic.

Dan was kind enough to forward on the takedown message… and it’s a total mess. There’s simply no useful info in it other than that a French company called TF1 wants the file (and a bunch of others) off of Mediafire as quickly as possible. Now, it’s not clear what the issue is here, but it’s not difficult to take a guess. “Death of ACTA” is obviously a play on Jay-Z’s “Death of Autotune” Jay-Z’s song features prominently a sample of the song “In the Space” by French film composers Janko Nilovic and Dave Sarkys. It’s quite likely that Jay-Z licensed the sample. Not surprisingly, Dan Bull did not, but that’s the nature of creating a parody song.

Also, since all of this is happening in Europe, there aren’t fair use laws. Dan would probably have a stronger argument in the US. In Europe, it’s a bit more of a crap shoot. Of course, the whole thing is pretty silly if you think about it. Is there any less demand for “In the Space,” due to Dan’s song? Anyone who suggests that’s the case is not in touch with reality.

In the end, though, how ridiculous is it that a song that’s all about the excessive nature of copyright law ends up being subject to a takedown notice itself? It seems to encapsulate everything that the song is talking about as being ridiculous concerning copyright law. The song is, of course, still available in lots of other places, though it will be interesting to see if TF1 starts going after it elsewhere as well. I’m guessing that each takedown will only draw that much more attention to Dan’s song and the ridiculousness of copyright law today, if it creates a situation where a clear commentary about copyright law gets taken down… by copyright law.

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Comments on “'Death Of ACTA' Song Taken Down In Copyright Claim”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Not really parody

The song isn’t really a parody as it is not an attempt to comment on the underlying work (i.e. Death of Autotune). This isn’t just a nitpick as U.S. courts are far more deferential in a fair use analysis to a parody than they are to satire.

To be sure, many disagree with the distinction, but it is nonetheless a fairly well established doctrine.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: Not really parody

I don’t think that works as a definition of parody. Weird Al rarely comments on the underlying work. The only two cases I can think of that qualify under that definition are his songs “Achy Breaky Song” and “Smells Like Nirvana” Everything else is wholly differently lyrics with some added Foley sounds and accordion. (I am a fan of Al and know very much that this is not the extent of his work and he is a very talented musician and song writer)

So under your definition of parody almost all of Weird Als music is not protected by fair use.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Not really parody

That is only because he is overly cautious. The fact is that parody is a PROTECTED part of our society all around the world. You should not have to get ‘permission’ to use something in a parody, because it does NOT diminish the worth of the actual thing in question.

In fact, it’s pretty much free advertising that might get people to buy the actual thing in question.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Not really parody

Not entirely true. While he does request permission, he is not required to do so.

From his website:

Does Al get permission to do his parodies?

Al does get permission from the original writers of the songs that he parodies. While the law supports his ability to parody without permission, he feels it’s important to maintain the relationships that he’s built with artists and writers over the years. Plus, Al wants to make sure that he gets his songwriter credit (as writer of new lyrics) as well as his rightful share of the royalties.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Not really parody

He gets permission from the authors of the song, not the copy’right’ holders. His permission isn’t to clear the ‘rights’, because then he would need permission from the copy’right’ holders, his permission is to avoid offending the singers/rappers.

I remember there was some miscommunication between him and Coolio over the song Gangsters Paradise and Weird Al’s Amish Paradise parody, Al thought it was OK with Coolio if he made the parody (he asked) but Coolio was later somewhat offended after Amish Paradise was released, supposedly he didn’t really give permission and Al misunderstood him.

RD says:

Re: Re: Re: Not really parody

“Weird Al gets permission for all the songs he parodies; he does not assume a fair use protection.”

Not entirely accurate. He pays the statutory fee to make a cover/derivative work and proceeds from there. There have been many cases where the original artist didnt approve or give permission but he did it anyway due to this method. See Coolio’s grammy award backstage rant about how he didnt want Weird Al to parody Gangstas Paradise. (wow, “gangstas” doesnt get flagged in firefox as needing spelling correction….)

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Not really parody

“The song isn’t really a parody as it is not an attempt to comment on the underlying work”

While I cannot divine the intended meaning by US lawmakers, outside of that law the meaning can be much broader than what you suggest. In fact, it has been explicitly stated by at least one scholar that a parody does not always target the subject of imitation.

Even allowing your narrow definition, others have already pointed out how you’re wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Horrible excuse for talent? Check.
Pimping piracy for attention he could never receive elsewhere (The Nina Paley Effect)? Check.
Too stupid to realize he’ll probably get busted for breaking the law? Check.
Masnick defending him as if he is actually a useful and contributing member of society? Check.

You pick some bonehead battles, Mike.

Really firing up the piracy articles today. Page views were down a bit these past few days, eh?

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Anonymous, go stick it! He is not supporting piracy here, this is the epitome of parody which in most countries is a protected form of free expression, regardless of whether something is copyrighted that you use in your parody.

I’m beginning to think that you are the epitome of a troll and really hope that someone bans you from posting very soon.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Mike Masnick’s agenda is essentially a Marxist one: all art should be considered the same in regard to quality and it all should be free.

That makes him quite an enemy to those that are looking for exemplary art and those that wish to create it and devote their livelihood to it.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Mike Masnick’s agenda is essentially a Marxist one: all art should be considered the same in regard to quality and it all should be free.

Huh?!? I have never made any argument along those lines at all. How is suggesting that *market-based* solutions are available for artists and helping them find and embrace those solutions, rather than a gov’t-backed one “Marxist”?

And I have NEVER argued that “all art should be considered the same in regard to quality.” In fact, I’ve argued exactly the opposite, that quality art is really important if you want these new business models to work. None of them work if your art sucks.

Finally, I’ve never argued that anything *should* be free. I’ve just explained the nature of economics and the economics forces that *drive* price towards free, and then explained how that can be used to make artists more money.

In other words, everything you stated here is a blatant and ridiculous lie.

That makes him quite an enemy to those that are looking for exemplary art and those that wish to create it and devote their livelihood to it.

Considering that I stand for basically the exact opposite of everything you said in the first sentence, it only stands to reason that I am not “an enemy,” but a wonderful friend towards those looking for exemplary art and those who wish to create and devote their livelihoods to it. That’s why I HELP THOSE ARTISTS by helping them find sustainable business models.

You? You admitted that you’re a failed musician who keeps waiting for the government to give you money. And *I’m* the Marxist? Yikes.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

By Mike’s definition, popularity.

Huh? Then why is it that most of the music I like the most is not at all popular. I’ve spent a lot of time this week listening to an *amazing* jazz/reggae band out of Berlin that you’ve never heard of.

And no one gives a shit about the above buffoon’s “art” except freetards.

The way you write off anyone who might actually understand this stuff is really quite amazing.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

You do realise that 99% of what the world thinks of as so called ‘exemplary’ art is art where the artist is now dead and had no idea their art was any good in the first place and that their contemporaries of the time said it was basically crap.

And art is in the eye of the beholder, like the shadows on Plato’s cave it is all virtual and relative to the observer.

And Marxist? when you have actually studied political theory and ethics and realise what marxism (like most ‘ism’s) is actually about, then you can talk. Until then you are just showing your ignorance.

Hiiragi Kagami (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Hmm. Techdirt really does need a “sidebar” forum so I don’t feel I’m distracting the conversation with unnecessary banter, but here goes:

Can someone in the web department remove this automatic ability to “close” threads flagged by those who are too thin-skinned?

Seriously. Techdirt prides itself on its comments, and I find it distracting I have to take an additional step just because a few panties were bunched up. It seems rather counter-intuitive to see Mike boast about his unfiltered comments, yet turns and delivers an option to hide them.

How about a compromise: make it an opt-out option, like the CB?

Half the reason I read the comments is to lap up the asinine statements made by people who think they know what they’re talking about.

Please don’t take this away.

I realize it’s as simple as a mouse click, but it’s a burden when I have to put down my 7 layer burrito to do so, or any other “non-free hand” moment (which I’ll leave to your imagination… sorry, trying to make this light and not so serious).


Anonymous Coward says:

About TF1

I?m not really surprised to see that TF1 is involved here. You might be interested by their page on the English-speaking Wikipedia, especially the ?Criticism? section? I can assure you that all the facts related there are, sadly, true. Even the part about ?selling available human brain time? and the role TF1 played in the HADOPI story.

I can add that Martin Bouygues, CEO of the Bouygues group (owner of TF1) is a close friend of Sarkozy and is always ready to help him when he needs to ?inform? the population?

Oh, by the way, have you seen that the Vivendi group now owns 100% of SFR, one of the biggest French Internet access providers? Yes, that?s right, Big Content has bought some Internet pipes. As you can imagine, this is very very dangerous for Net neutrality?

Chris in Utah (profile) says:

Re: About TF1

Thanks for the info on that one. Troublesome indeed. Though I shake at pussification words of Net neutrality. I tend to hark on like a mother telling you don’t come at me with those shoulda coulda wouldas.

That being said I think the bigger issues here is if ya cant beet them buy the hardware and “attempt” to do it ourselves since our money in people cant. The other I hesitate one because it usually turns it to a crap suit for a anti-trust violation. Fun word that, violation. Wonder if he French will fight this time.

Anonymous Coward says:

In order to properly understand the irony here, I would like to point out that TF1 is the number TV channel in France. It’s only role in the music industry is promoting the pre-packaged, easy to digest, marketed to the masses ‘art’ that produces great ‘artists’ discovered on ‘vote for who you think is cuter’ TV shows.

For it to take down truly original content (be it fair use or not, as I do not think the concept actually exists over here) reaches Monthy Phython levels of absurd.

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