Sony Issues Takedown Of Mashup Album That Did Reinterpretation Using Original (Non-Sony) Samples

from the fair-use-for-me-and-not-for-thee dept

Ah, Sony Music. A label called Gummy Soul and a musician named Amerigo Gazaway released a 55-minute mashup last year called: Bizarre Tribe: “Quest to the Pharcyde.” As I understand it, the concept was to take a bunch of the original jazz, soul and funk samples that the band A Tribe Called Quest later used to make its music, and to create reinterpretations of Tribe’s music. It’s kind of a cool idea, when you think about it: to take the original sounds that inspired works that you like and rework them. However, Sony Music apparently had problems with this. Despite the fact that the 55-minute “album” only actually samples less than 3 minutes of work from A Tribe Called Quest, and was released for free (rather than for sale), Sony apparently decided that this must be infringing and issued a takedown.

Gummy Soul did take down the work, but also wrote quite the open letter (with redactions that seem completely pointless), quoting what appears to be Sony Pictures’ fair use claims when it was recently sued by the estate of William Faulkner, to point out how odd it is that Sony defends fair use in such cases, but cracks down in others (though, to be fair, Sony Music and Sony Pictures are fairly separate entities).

To be clear, the re-orchestrated instrumentals on Bizarre Tribe were sourced from the original jazz, soul, and funk recordings SAMPLED by [redacted], allowing Amerigo to create his own, distinct production within a similar framework. Given the brief and limited use of [redacted] material on Bizarre Tribe (around 2 minutes of material out of a 55 minute album), and the method by which our reinterpretations are created, it is clear that Amerigo’s effort is protected under the fair use exception of copyright infringement.

We would further add that the presence of documentary style sound-bites, interviews, and news clips included on Bizarre Tribe to provide a narrative of the group’s history and commentary on their work only further protects us under the fair use exception, undermindes your claim against us, and provides a clearer distinction as to the uniqueness of what we do at Gummy Soul. As you know, [redacted] is no stranger to the fair use exception as you have relied on it many times yourselves.

The whole thing seems pretty silly, but right out of today’s RIAA playbook: assume infringing first, deal with any fallout later.

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Companies: gummy soul, sony music

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Comments on “Sony Issues Takedown Of Mashup Album That Did Reinterpretation Using Original (Non-Sony) Samples”

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out_of_the_blue says:

Re: It is just the latest in a long series of anomalies.

@ “Hey, OOTB, is this just another in a long, long series of anomalies?” — Yes, Mike has a REMARKABLE string. See my post for a bit of rambling on how remarkable it is that Mike can even find these. To my knowledge, Mike is the foremost expert in such anomalies. And his mania for using them to attack the everyday good of copyright is nothing short of astounding. He’s been doing this for FIFTEEN YEARS! — But NO number of anomalies can take away from the fact that thousands of artists every day manage to avoid copying so much that they get a DMCA notice.

But thanks for the advance buildup! You kids wait upon my arrival like an ankle-biter giving pratice yaps when imagines what it’ll do when a cat strolls by. So now I’ve given you the notice you trolled for: go into a frenzy!

Anonymous Coward says:

We interrupt our NSA MILKING to bring you this BIG BAD COPYRIGHT RIGHTHOLDER story. Stay tuned, more MILK is on the way. In the meantime, OMG a rightholder made a questionable claim! This is so totally newsworthy! But we will NEVER post a single story about the millions of pirates who intentionally and greedily violate rightholders’ rights. Why? BECAUSE WE LOVE LOVE LOVE PIRACY HERE AT TECHDIRT. Yet, of course, we’re too dishonest to admit or to discuss it.

Anonymous Cow Herd says:

Re: Re: Re:

His ability to write anything, be it a book or code (wink wink), sucked so terribly that nobody wanted to buy the final product. In a blind fit of juvenile rage, he chose to blame the so called “pirates” rather than admit he is a complete and udder failure. Every post he makes here is just one more example of his denial to admit this truth. It may sound like he has a personal grudge, but the reality is that Mike is just the convenient scapegoat necessary for maintaining his delusion. Without Mike and this site, he would have to face reality and that is just way too scary for someone like him. Hounding Mike is not only easier, it’s safe; Mike is his nice warm security blanket. It’s sad really.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Uh huh. When Techdirt post stories about the government collecting data in violation of the 4th (and probably 1st) Amendment, they’re just “milking it for the clicks.”

But when Techdirt posts a story about anything else (like copyright infringement), they’re spreading FUD.

And, of course, merely speaking about the silencing of protected speech under the guise of “copyright protection” means that you “LOVE PIRACY” but are “too dishonest to admit or to discuss it.”

Uh huh.

It’s amazing how low you are willing to sink. You are possibly the most dishonest asshole I have ever encountered.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well, it didn’t really need fixing (apart from the hiding of the inanity that was already done). If you need to respond to him, why not try addressing the outright lies – for example, perhaps he’d like to explain how a newly created work released by its creator is related to piracy in any way. Copyright infringement, perhaps, but not piracy.

Of course, it’s beyond his capability to understand the difference, let alone address why something that’s clearly fair use (an exception within the law) can be correctly classed as infringement without a hearing. But he is one of the drooling idiots that whines constantly about the very subjects being written about here, so understanding the nuance of the real arguments is clearly beyond his intellectual capacity.

out_of_the_blue says:

How do you even FIND these anomalies?

Man, you must rat around in every corner of teh interwebs. And clearly Mike hasn’t heard this music, he’s got some way to pick them AFTER they get taken down.

Anyhoo, yet again, when you do “transformative” work, you are explicitly basing it on prior material that’s likely copyrighted, so you’re INVITING big heartless corporations to harsh your buzz.

But besides that, guess I just don’t get the urge to “transform” — nor listen to derivative mangling, that I know of. There are so many streams and works that don’t have this problem* — and in my opinion are more likely to be good because more original — that I get back to title question: isn’t it a BIT surprising that Mike can even find “transformative” anomalies to complain about? Is there a special switch you can give Google to find anomalies?

[* The now defunct music section used to have THOUSANDS, dozens of which I found near great.]

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How do you even FIND these anomalies?

So much crap in there as usual but I’d like to call you out on one teeny bit.

“nor listen to derivative mangling, that I know of. “

You do. Every piece of music, text or art is derivative. Nothing is new it’s all re-inventions and adaptations. That is why the huge copyright terms have the potential to harm our culture and why many oppose them.

Loki says:

Re: How do you even FIND these anomalies?

Anyhoo, yet again, when you do “transformative” work, you are explicitly basing it on prior material that’s likely copyrighted, so you’re INVITING big heartless corporations to harsh your buzz.

Yes, because if I base my transformative work off of the same source material you based your transformative work off of, you somehow get to control the source material because you’re a BIG, BAD megacorpoaration.

What part of “if Sony doesn’t own the source materials than Sony doesn’t get to dictate how they are used, just because they did a transformative work first” don’t you understand.

(and then you wonder why nobody takes your copyright “arguments” seriously, because it is just that sort of irrational “logic” that has turned me from a staunch copyright supporter into a copyright “destructionist” over the past decade)

PaulT (profile) says:

So, 18 comments at the time of writing – 3 by AC and ootb whining about what’s being written on this site and most of the rest telling them to STFU.

Is this a sign of how pathetic the obsessed trolls have really become, or a sign that there’s really nothing to add? However you want to spin this, it’s an abuse of copyright powers that does nothing positive for the artists, labels or culture. That the trolls can’t even attempt to address the actual points raised any more is telling.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s plain that TechDirt’s reporting system isn’t very effective at encouraging discussion. The pink links are still followed by a dozen retorts.

It might be better to adopt an Reddit-styled up vote/down vote system and move them to the bottom, or at the very least a way to collapse and expand discussion threads (and not just for the trolls, but to make navigation easier)

Anonymous Coward says:

The other side of the coin:

In the movie Pitch Perfect the music You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone (cups) is a direct rip off of the two girls that produced that routine on the internet and they called themselves Lulu & The Lampshades, now just Lampshades, which it turn used an old music I believe from Charlie Monroe

Youtube: You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone – Charlie Monroe – Radio Transcription

WTF! I thought Hollywood was the center of the universe when it came to creativity, why are they ripping off the interwebz it only has cats in it.

But I digress would Lulu & The Lampshades be able to takedown VEVO’s clips?

Anonymous Coward says:

I am seeing a trend recently where artists are starting to “rip off” the internet viral memes, which is odd since the people complaining the loudest about copying without monetary compensation are those artists backup by studios and labels.

Will Pitch Perfect pay the people who produced the original meme anything at all?

Or will Battleship LLC pay the guy who made millions smile with his messy life exposed on a security camera?

or any of the others memes directly lifted from the web?

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