Jay-Z & Kanye Accused Of Infringement... On Album They Worked So Hard To Stop From Leaking

from the just-saying... dept

We recently wrote about the ridiculous pains to which the producing crew for Jay-Z and Kanye West's new album went through to try to prevent the album from leaking. After we wrote that, we actually got some detailed information showing that for all that effort, the album actually did leak (via a hacker) who tried to sell it, but the asking price was too high. Either way, for a crew so concerned (supposedly) about "infringement," you might think they'd also be focused on making sure their own album didn't infringe. However, not everyone feels they did so.

Apparently R&B/soul singer Syl Johnson, who has gone after an awful lot of musicians for sampling his work is considering suing over an uncleared sample on the album. His publisher put up a blog post about this, though that blog post has been taken down now. The blog post was full of bluster about just how much money other artists pay Johnson:
"Two decades and several lawsuits later, Syl Johnson is a veteran of copyright infringement cases, and has done very well for himself clearing samples from his fertile catalog (we're glad to say we've helped him with a few) for use in numerous tracks," reads part of the post. "He's been amply paid, as he is quick to boast in his concerts, by acts like Wu-Tang Clan, Kid Rock, and Michael Jackson. Other performers ... have not been so respectful."
Perhaps some of that time spent "locking up" the album could have been spent on making sure the samples were actually cleared. Of course, the process for clearing samples is pretty ridiculous these days, and it's not surprising that a sample might fall through the cracks. But, once again, this really highlights the difference between "leaks" and "infringement." While we were told that the efforts to keep the work locked up showed how much the two hip hop stars were concerned about "piracy," it seems clear that they were much more concerned about the marketing aspect, and having the album become available when they wanted, rather than any great deference to copyright law.
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Filed Under: copyright, jay-z, kanye west


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward Who Can Read, 26 Aug 2011 @ 6:57am

    Re:

    This is directed at Anonymous Coward (comment 6).

    "What does them 'protecting their work' have to do with avoiding infringement?"

    As per your question, nothing. Nothing at all. But I believe the point being made in the article is that they went through precautions to protect THEIR WORK, while at the same time THEY WERE INFRINGING ON THE WORK OF ANOTHER.

    "You're always telling artists to ditch the old business model and do something different... and they did. Successfully."

    Actually, by "ditch the old business model and do something different" most people mean try a different business model. They did not do that in this case. All they did was take a few security precautions in order to prevent the album from leaking early, which while relatively effective, was not a complete success as per this article. Thus, you're comment is not accurate.

    "As for the infringement... what song? Funny the article is already accusing them of stealing, when we don't know what they stole or where it was used. Is there any proof that this is the case?`"

    This article isn't accusing them of stealing anything. If you read the article, you'd see that another artist is making the claim that they infringed, not Mike or anyone here. Also, take note that there is a difference. They possibly committed copyright infringement NOT theft. If you actually read the article, and went to the source link provided in blue, you'd have all the information. "A sample of Johnson's 1967 song "Different Strokes," which appears on the track "The Joy," was allegedly never properly cleared." (That's from the MTV article, the source, where there's more to the story.) Which answers your "what song" and "what they stole or where it was used" bit.

    No offense, but before you say something, perhaps you should read the entire article and get all the information. Otherwise you look rather foolish. Just because you can read doesn't mean you apparently can comprehend. Tsk tsk.

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