Artists Sampled Without Permission In 'Harlem Shake' Song Demand To Get Paid
from the and-here-comes-copyright dept
Back when “The Harlem Shake” first went viral, we pointed out that it was a bit hypocritical of Baauer to use copyright to issue a takedown on a version of the song he didn’t like when it was clear from his own statements that the song itself was a mashup of samples from others which he did not license. Later we wondered why it was proper that he was the one who mostly cashed in on the viral meme, since he had basically nothing to do with making the song viral.
Either way, there’s no doubt that Baauer and his label, Mad Decent, clearly made out nicely for a song that had been out for a while and hadn’t really set the world on fire until the meme took off. And, of course, once people start making money, out come the copyright claims. Apparently, multiple artists, whose works were sampled on Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” are now demanding cash from Mad Decent.
The people who spoke the two key “lyrics” in the song, “con los terroristas,” and “then do the Harlem Shake,” have both complained about the use of the samples. The “con los terroristas” line came from a former reggaeton singer turned evangelical preacher Hector Delgado, who went by the stage name Hector El Father. The “do the Harlem Shake” line was from Jayson Musson as part of a song for the Philadelphia rap collective Plastic Little. Delgado seems to be overplaying his hand a bit:
“It’s almost like they came on my land and built a house,” Mr. Delgado said.
No, actually, it’s nothing like that. At all. Because it didn’t take away from his song, which very few people knew about before. If anything this has suddenly increased interest in Hector’s former professional works.
Musson’s approach seemed a lot more reasonable in recognizing the reality of the situation:
Mr. Musson said he called Mr. Rodrigues and thanked him for “doing something useful with our annoying music”
But, of course, he still wants a cut.
That’s not to defend Baauer, of course, who had no problem pretending he could claim copyright over the work, despite not licensing the original samples. Oh, and as for who’s going to get paid in the end, it sounds like it may be Universal Music. Apparently, Delgado’s work was released on a label owned by Universal, so you’ll have to image they’ll get involved soon enough:
Since that call, Mr. Gomez said, lawyers for Machete Music, which is owned by Universal Music Group, have been negotiating with Mad Decent over payment for the sample.
“Hector will get what he deserves,” he said. “We can turn around and stop that song. That’s a clear breaking of intellectual property rights.”
Gomez is Delgado’s manager. Of course, if he released it under Universal, one wonders if Hector will get anything at all, or if Universal will declare any proceeds for itself, claiming that Delgado has not yet recouped any advance…