[rumori] [james newton vs beastie boys]

From: Jon Leidecker (wobblyATdetritus.net)
Date: Mon Jul 08 2002 - 23:38:47 PDT

I'm still amazed I rattled out a two page righteous defense of newton
saying he was owed, thinking the beastie song was 'sure shot'; the issues
seemed clear. But now knowing the song is actually 'pass the mic', I'm
flipped again, with a lot of sympathy for the court decision on this one
case; I don't think the beasties borrowed much of substance from newton's

but the way it was argued in court (the scoring of the sampled phrase in
and of itself did not contain enough information to be inherently
copyrightable) was hideously offensive and clumsy, and set an insanely
dangerous precedent for future cases! it's total argh.

again, the real issue is that musicians don't own the rights to the own
recordings. it's been decades since musical notation has been able to
capture even a fraction of what composers have been creating in the studio,
and a ruling like this was due, was simply a matter of time. Newton's
understandably angry that it was determined that his sheet music didn't
fully notate the complexity of his piece, but I suspect the court would
have agreed that the RECORDING was specific and unique. It's simply that
musicians don't get to own their recordings. that's the real battle to be
fought, and anything else is just hedging.

keith lo bue wrote:

>I agree with your stance, Jon, but this isn't a very fair example to use.
>The Tape-beatles make it a point on their recordings to open the copyright,
>crib at will, etc. This puts it in a different pool than a recording that
>carries the copyright crap.

you've got a point: the Orb undoubtedly got the No-Copyright point by
opening 'live 93' with the first 90 seconds of 'music with sound', intact.
lloyd and ralph didn't seem to feel 'wronged', they seemed mildly amused.
I doubt Island ever knew, but it bugs me that it's the same label that
affected self-righteous anger when tiny Negativland sampled their big acts;
obviously they're not complaining when someone on their label samples
someone lower on the food chain. If that example upsets you, then how
about Moby's 'Play', or any Deep Forest record, heavily reliant on
'anonymous' gospel or ethnomusicological recorded sources without bothering
to license a second of it.

this does become an issue when millions are being made. the money's there
but isn't trickling down.


Rumori, the Detritus.net Discussion List
to unsubscribe, send mail to majordomoATdetritus.net
with "unsubscribe rumori" in the message body.
Rumori list archives & other information are at

Home | Detrivores | Rhizome | Archive | Projects | Contact | Help | Text Index

[an error occurred while processing this directive] N© Detritus.net. Sharerights extended to all.