Beach Boys Lyricist Goes After Artist Who Dared To Paint Works Inspired By Beach Boy Songs

from the copyright-dreamin' dept

Peter Friedman alerts us to yet another ridiculous copyright claim (of which there have been a few) from a member of The Beach Boys. You may have heard that, last year, the Beach Boys' Smile album was finally released, despite being recorded in 1966. An artist, by the name of Erik den Breejen, found out about this, and he (a lifelong Beach Boys fan) set out to create a series of paintings inspired by the songs on the album. Sounds good, right? Art inspiring art. Not so much. After completing the works and getting set up with a gallery show to display the works, den Breejen reached out to Beach Boys lyricist Van Dyke Parks, who he figured would like to know about this. Turns out... that wasn't true. Instead, Parks shot back a cease-and-desist.
Instead of fighting back with lawyers, den Breejen and the gallery have approached Parks himself to try to negotiate some kind of out-of-court agreement. Parks was already credited in the exhibition’s press release and in a booklet den Breejen distributed at the gallery, but soon he could be considered a collaborator — entitling him to a percentage of the proceeds. (Van Dyke’s manager did not respond to a request for comment.)

Until the two sides settle their differences, the gallery has put on hold at least two sales inquiries
It's difficult to see how this is not fair use, but since we live in a world where fair use isn't determined until after an expensive court process, we'll never know in this case.

Update: Just some clarifications, as per the comments. Parks was a lyricist for the band, rather than a direct member. Separately the paintings do include lyrics from the songs, which should have been made clear. I don't see how either point really changes the overall analysis, however.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Feb 2012 @ 2:43am

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

    It's sad that I must explain this to you, a person that loves to opine on the music business as if he is an expert, but I will anyway.

    What happened with Van:

    You ask me to write songs with you.

    I want to be paid for my time and creativity (a foreign concept to the the parasitic non-contributing members of society that live or die by this blog).

    Our deal, made between you and me:

    You agree to pay me, a member of the musician's union, for my time.

    You also agree to grant me a piece of the back end: co-writer credit and half of the the copyright on this song(s), thus giving me publishing royalties on radio play, commercials, movie use, etc.

    I make no claim on your band's RECORDS SOLD with my songs on it; I was not in your band, and your band's records were not advertised as me. I was only working on this album on a WORK FOR HIRE basis. I can not make any claims on that.

    I can ONLY make claims on my songs when used outside of Beach Boys albums that are for sale.

    Any use of Beach Boys albums that contain my songs rests within the domain of the Beach Boys. Not me.

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