Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Steal This Riff: How To Fix Copyright Law And Set Musicians Free - MTV

I'm always rather unconvinced by "how to fix copyright" articles, but here is an interesting contribution to the debate about sampling, proposing a compulsory licensing solution. Paradoxically (I think) the new technologies that make this a problem also hold the key to collecting micro-payments in return for use of a copyright work, so rendering collective licensing potentially redundant. And why should any licensing scheme be compulsory? That might have been the best way to strike a balance between owners and users a few years ago, but the technology now puts rights owners in charge of the use of the own rights, and if they don't want to grant licences they shouldn't have to, provided of course that they don't simply discriminate on bad grounds. Usually, I imagine, they would be happy to have the money: that after all is what motivates most people to create copyright works.

Coincidentally, this appeared in my feed reader the same day that the BBC reported (here) that a copyright infringement suit brought in Germany by [a member of] Kraftwerk, over a two-second sample of the drum part of the band's 1977 song Metall auf Metall. I never got Kraftwerk, as it happens, or any other Kraut-rock bands from that era (though I think I might find Tangerine Dream interesting if I had the time to try). But I digress. The German courts have been on Kraftwerk's side, up to and including the Bundesgerichtshof, but now apparently the Federal Constitutional Court - Bundesverfassungsgericht - has come to the conclusion that the decision could affect the defendant's (Moses Pelham's) constitutional rights, making it impossible to create music in a particular style (since when was that a constitutional right?) and has sent to case back to the BGH to reconsider.

If this is what they are complaining about, I can't identify the offending drum track: nothing original to my ears. Sounds quite pleasant - but that isn't always a good thing to say about music.

The drums sound quite original here, and nothing like on Nur Mir. I think it might become a little boring before it finishes, though. Much more interesting to listen to Steve Reich if you want Drumming.

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