Archive for February 24th, 2004

Today is Grey Tuesday!

Feb 24, 2004 in Current Events

Today, several hundred websites are protesting EMI/Capitol’s actions against the Grey Album by turning their color scheme grey and/or hosting the Grey Album for download.

The Grey Album is the work of DJ Danger Mouse, who took the a capella version of Jay’Z’s Black Album and combined it with samples from the Beatles’ White Album.

The major labels and the RIAA have used copyright as a means of control. This protest serves to raise awareness of the necessity to change copyright law to reflect the realities of the digital age. More specifically, a compulsory rate should be established for sampling, so as to allow artists the right to borrow from copyrighted works for creative purposes, and to ensure that copyright holders are still reimbursed.

Under the current system, copyright holders (such as EMI/Capitol) have the ability to charge whatever fee they see fit for samples, and will often turn down requests outright. If DJ Danger Mouse had asked permission to use samples from the Beatles’ catalog, chances are that EMI would have turned him down, or else charged a ridiculously high fee for the privilege. Compare this to cover versions of copyrighted songs, where the artist pays an established, compulsory rate for the use of that copyright.

To learn more, visit Downhill Battle or the Grey Tuesday website.