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Old Feb 25, 2004, 03:57 AM   #1
HMVNipper
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Default Another article about Jay-Z\'s Grey Album

Found this today, of possible interest:

http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/sto...MPLATE=DEFAULT

Feb 24, 6:21 PM EST

Jay-Z-Beatles Album an Unauthorized Hit

By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY
AP Music Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- When DJ Dangermouse decided to combine raps from Jay-Z's "The Black Album" with music from the Beatles' legendary "White Album" to create "The Grey Album," he didn't have permission from either side to do it - and he didn't care.

"I intended for it to be for friends and for people who knew my stuff. I figured it would get passed around, and it would be this little underground thing, but it kind of took off on its own," said the music producer, born Brian Burton.

That's an understatement. Although he only pressed up a few thousand copies on CD, it has become a hotly traded album on the Web, sparking the consternation of the Beatles' parent label and an Internet protest in support of Dangermouse.

"This was not my intent to break copyright laws. It was my intent to make an art project," the Los Angeles-based producer told The Associated Press.

The ingenious album reconfigures the trippy Beatles rock to jibe with the Jay-Z's rough acapella raps. It's just the latest of countless unauthorized DJ mixes that have multiplied thanks to the power of the Internet.

"It's a complete deconstruction and reconstruction," says Dangermouse, who says he spent two weeks on the project.

Although Dangermouse says he created the "Grey Album" only for fans and friends, he did sell some copies to record stores and promote it on his Web site, www.djdangermouse.com.

Jay-Z's label, Roc-a-fella Records, didn't take any action against Dangermouse. While Damon Dash, head of Roc-a-fella, told The Associated Press that proper permission should have been obtained, he said, "I think it hot. It's the Beatles. It's two great legends together."

But EMI, which owns the Beatles recordings, sent Burton a cease-and-desist order. "The DJ did not ask permission at any time - never approached us," said Jeanne Meyer, senior vice president of corporate communications for EMI.

Not that Dangermouse could remove all the copies from the Internet, even if he wanted to.

The album's profile may have gotten even bigger Tuesday, when the music activism site downhillbattle.org urged fans to post the music on Web sites for a day to protest EMI's cease-and-desist order. Nicholas Reville, a co-founder of the site, says more than 150 sites have participated.

"What's going on is that EMI is censoring a work of art," he said. "Not only are they telling musicians the kind of music they can or cannot create, they're trying to tell the public what we can and cannot listen to. We think EMI's attempts to censor it and prevent the public from hearing it are a huge problem and we shouldn't allow that kind of corporate censorship."

However, Meyer said the issue was not about censorship, but copyright protection. She says EMI routine approves samples and remixed works (usually for a price).

"We're not against sampling, We're not against remixes, we've been really progressive in it," she said. "The work is unauthorized, and people who are hosting it or are streaming it are being advised to stop."

Burton, who has produced tracks for artists like the rapper Cee-Lo and released the album "Ghetto Pop Life" last year with artist Jemini on Lex Records, was not getting involved with the Internet protest. He says the real intent of creating the "Grey Album" wasn't to protest copyright laws, but to create a musical dialogue between fans.

"I'm getting people like high school teachers using it as a lecture," he says, adding that Beatles fans have become more appreciative of Jay-Z's work, and vice versa.

"Their kids are asking for Beatles records now. I wanted to kind of have that be passed on to other people, that such radical things can really work."

---

On the Web:

www.downhillbattle.org

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Old Feb 25, 2004, 05:06 AM   #2
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Default Re: Another article about Jay-Z\'s Grey Album

Instead of starting a new topic, I'm just going to post this article from the New York Times here. Here's the link.

Defiant Downloads Rise From Underground
By BILL WERDE

Published: February 25, 2004

ore than 300 Web sites and blogs staged a 24-hour online protest yesterday over a record company's efforts to stop them from offering downloadable copies of "The Grey Album." A popular underground collection of music, "The Grey Album" mixes tracks from the Beatles' classic White Album with raps from Jay-Z's latest release, "The Black Album."

The protesters billed the event as "Grey Tuesday," calling it "a day of coordinated civil disobedience," during which more than 150 sites offered the album for download. Recording industry lawyers saw it as 24 hours of mass copyright infringement and sent letters to the Web sites demanding that they not follow through on the protest.

"The Grey Album" is a critically praised collection of tracks created by Brian Burton, a Los Angeles D.J. who records as Danger Mouse. Mr. Burton created the album by layering Jay-Z's a cappella raps from "The Black Album," released on Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella label, over music he arranged using melodies and rhythms from "The Beatles," commonly known as the White Album.

Mr. Burton did not seek permission from EMI, which owns the publishing rights to the White Album. When EMI learned that Mr. Burton was distributing "The Grey Album" early this month, its lawyers sent him a cease-and-desist letter, and Mr. Burton complied.

EMI views any distribution, reproduction or public performance of "The Grey Album" to be a copyright violation. "They may say EMI is trying to stop an artwork," said Jeanne Meyer, an EMI spokeswoman, referring to the Web sites, "but they neglect to understand that there is a well-established market for licensing samples, and Mr. Burton didn't participate in it."

Some protesters say "The Grey Album" illustrates a need for revisions in copyright law. They say that sampling should be allowed under fair use of copyrighted material, or that a system of fair compensation should be created to allow for sampling.

"To a lot of artists and bedroom D.J.'s, who are now able to easily edit and remix digital files of their favorite songs using inexpensive computers and software, pop music has become source material for sonic collages," said Nicholas Reville, a co-founder of Downhill Battle, an organization of music industry activists who promoted Grey Tuesday.

Jonathan Zittrain, a director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, said the issue is indeed a gray one. "As a matter of pure legal doctrine, the Grey Tuesday protest is breaking the law, end of story," Mr. Zittrain said. "But copyright law was written with a particular form of industry in mind. The flourishing of information technology gives amateurs and home-recording artists powerful tools to build and share interesting, transformative, and socially valuable art drawn from pieces of popular culture. There's no place to plug such an important cultural sea change into the current legal regime."

He said that under copyright law a judge can impose damages as high as $150,000 for each infringement.

To create a collection like "The Grey Album" legally, an artist would first have to get permission to use copyrighted material. Then he would have to negotiate compensation with the copyright holder. Many artists, however, like the Beatles, will not allow their music to be sampled. But even if permission is granted, it is common for a copyright holder to request more than 50 percent of publishing rights for a new song created from the copyrighted work. So if Mr. Burton had been able to get permission to make "The Grey Album" from both the Beatles and Jay-Z, he would probably have had to give away more than 100 percent of his publishing rights.

Around the same time Mr. Burton received his cease-and-desist letter, his album was receiving critical acclaim in Rolling Stone magazine. The album took on a distribution life of its own online, circulated via file-trading sites and on e-Bay, where bootleg CD's were selling for as much as $80 yesterday. Two weeks ago EMI issued cease-and-desist letters to an undisclosed number of record stores and e-Bbay sellers.

Downhill Battle went live last Wednesday with a site devoted to the protest, Greytuesday.org. In 12 hours it had more than 40 sites signed on to participate. Within two days, Greytuesday.org reached the top ranking on Blogdex and Popdex, Web sites that track which sites are being linked to from blogs.

Monday night lawyers for EMI issued cease-and-desist letters to more than 150 Web sites participating in the protest. The letter said distribution of "The Grey Album" "will subject you to serious legal remedies for willful violation of the laws."

By yesterday afternoon some of the Web masters of the protesting sites said they had served 85 to 100 copies of the album, while other reported as many as 1,000 downloads.
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Old Feb 26, 2004, 02:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: Another article about Jay-Z\'s Grey Album

The folks at EMI/Apple are such idiots. I think it`s great how the Beatles` music is proven to be still very relevant today, don`t they see the merits in this? Young people trying to check out the original White Album? I`m pretty sure Paul and Ringo have no problem with this.
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Old Feb 27, 2004, 09:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Another article about Jay-Z\'s Grey Album

Quote:
Originally Posted By Wolf:
The folks at EMI/Apple are such idiots. I think it`s great how the Beatles` music is proven to be still very relevant today, don`t they see the merits in this? Young people trying to check out the original White Album? I`m pretty sure Paul and Ringo have no problem with this.
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">I agree. To me, this album is a great way to introduce The Beatles to a new audience (despite using an annoying form of music with it but that's beside the point [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] ). I've already had some of my co-workers who listen to Jay-Z and have heard the clips ask me about the White Album and the songs on it. Just grant them the permission and have done with it. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]
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Old Feb 27, 2004, 10:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Another article about Jay-Z\'s Grey Album

Quote:
Originally Posted By shyGirl:
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">Quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">Originally Posted By Wolf:
The folks at EMI/Apple are such idiots. I think it`s great how the Beatles` music is proven to be still very relevant today, don`t they see the merits in this? Young people trying to check out the original White Album? I`m pretty sure Paul and Ringo have no problem with this.
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">I agree. To me, this album is a great way to introduce The Beatles to a new audience (despite using an annoying form of music with it but that's beside the point [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] ). I've already had some of my co-workers who listen to Jay-Z and have heard the clips ask me about the White Album and the songs on it. Just grant them the permission and have done with it. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">Could not agree with you guys more about certain aspects of this -- I think it is great that this album could (and is) potentially introduce a whole new group of people to the Beatles. There are so many rappers and hip-hop artists who cite the Beatles as an influence, something that I readily admit surprised me when I first heard it. But now I realize that the Beatles' influence transcends generations and transcends musical style. For EMI to be so stick-in-the-mud about this is really sad, and I wonder if maybe a retroactive sampling agreement could be made instead of just C&Ding them to death.

However...I must say that it probably would have been a good idea for DJ Dangermouse to actually ask for permission to sample before just going ahead and doing it. I've got a close friend who works in recording copyright, and believe me when I say that most big record companies DO give permission for sampling on rap records. Had he gone through the proper channels, chances are that EMI would have granted the permission -- and going ahead and doing it without asking is the real issue, not that he did it at all. And though I think that from a PERSONAL standpoint, Paul and Ringo may not have any problems with this, from a BUSINESS standpoint they (and their lawyers) probably do.

It's a real double-edged sword.
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