Re: [rumori] [pluphonia] [james newton vs beastie boys] vs. alan korn

From: Steev Hise (
Date: Mon Jul 01 2002 - 18:05:08 PDT

on Mon, 1 Jul 2002 illegal art told me:

>do others take a similar stance.. it's not a question of what is
>being sampled or how it is sampled.. but rather who is sampling

My stance is that it's a little of both. In a formal, artistic,
and aesthetic sense, what is being sampled and how is certainly
interesting, but in other ways it matters a LOT who is being
sampled and who is doing the sampling, because there's often a
power relationship involved. This is why in fields like
anthropology and ethnomusicology the term "appropriation" is a
negative one (rather than simply a genre label in the art world),
because in those contexts what is usually seen is the following
problem: Western/privileged people taking cultural artifacts
from third world poor peoples without compensating them and/or
without taking into account the cultural significance of what
they're taking.

Caring about this is, in a way, caring about economic and social
inequality. Information and culture are a form of wealth. And
it matters which way the redistribution of wealth flows. The rich
and the powerful have stolen so much already, from the earth and
its peoples, that, in my book, they deserve to have things stolen
back from them. The poor and the weak, on the other hand, don't
deserve the same treatment. Robin Hood stole from the *rich* and
gave to the *poor*, not the other way around - this was not an

Now, on the other hand, I don't know a lot of details about this
Newton guy or his situation and background. He's a Guggenheim
fellow, a senior professor, etc etc, so he's not that bad off,
or at least he probably wasn't before he started this lawsuit.
Jason may be right that he just made a bad call and wasted a
bunch of dough on legal fees, which he's now trying desparately
to recoup.

But the other issue, which is brought up in the article, is that
the court seems to be ignoring publishing rights and
concentrating on mechanical licensing. the problem is that the
Beasties' label cleared the mechanicals but not the composition.
I have mixed feelings about this. If there's going to be
copyright protection at all ( and I admit that it does in many
cases protect small artists from predatory businesses and such)
it should not be just protection of recordings, but protection of
published written musical scores as well. If one then why not the
other? So, our intrepid Alan Korn may be interested in the case
simply as a potential valuable precedent in this regard, rather
than defending this client in particular.


Steev Hise, Automagickal Adept
*Recycled Culture:
*Watching power flow:
Me: Wouldn't it be cool if there were 2 moons?
Jay: Do you think we'd appreciate them as much?

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