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DJ Drama - artists' friend, RIAA foe
January 18, 2007 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Make a mixtape highlighting a young artist, have that artist proclaim his delight about the project on the CD, reignite that artist's career, repeat, then, the RIAA has you arrested for counterfieting. The RIAA continues its vain struggle to understand the new music economy. In the meantime, at least one company gets it, offering DRM-free CD downloads of obscure titles.
posted by caddis (67 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is really a shame. DJ Drama and Don Cannon have both made major, major contributions to southern rap music this year, and are really at the forefront of the "new music economy" that is mixtapes and Internet distribution.

And for those who might not know, DJ Drama was the one who put together Lil' Wayne's highly acclaimed mixtape Dedication 2 (was in the 30s or 40s on the Pitchfork Top 50 Albums this year).

Bummer.

I'm just praying that this doesn't affect the overall mixtape market, which has really become a thing of beauty in rap circles.
posted by dead_ at 7:31 AM on January 18, 2007


RIAA isn't trying to understand , RIAA is trying to suppress a behavior by using fear tactiques. Plus, remember kids : copyright violation = theft, war = peace , sex = evil , you=liberal.
posted by elpapacito at 7:38 AM on January 18, 2007


Well, as long as the next Stones album gets released unmolested, it's a net gain for music fans whatever the cost, right?
posted by cortex at 7:41 AM on January 18, 2007


I'm a dj, and I've given away hundreds of mix cds-- but that's the point, I gave them away.

This guy was SELLING them. That's a big difference, and he should know better. I don't feel sorry for him at all.
posted by empath at 7:43 AM on January 18, 2007


Brad A. Buckles, executive vice president for anti-piracy at the Recording Industry Association of America, said, “A sound recording is either copyrighted or it’s not.” And he said the DJ Drama case, like most piracy cases, began with illegal product, which was then traced back to the distributor

This is just absolute horse shit. The RIAA profits heavily off mixtapes, though not directly of course.

Does anyone think that the Clipse album Hell Hath No Fury would have sold half as many units had DJ Clinton Sparks not put out two grey-market mixtapes a year in advance(We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. I & II)?? Of course not, those mixtapes had as much to do with album sales as the singles off the album itself did, as they managed to raise hype for the release to a fervor.

Major labels profit off mixtapes, and this is a ridiculous, unnecessary stifling of creativity.

This whole incident reminds me of Lawrence Lessig's book, Free Culture, as it makes a huge case for "derivative works," which is exactly the stuff mixtapes are made of: freestyles over other people's beats, unofficial remixes, etc. What's even weirder about this whole thing is that I'm unclear who the RIAA is protecting, because it certainly isn't the artists; Gangsta Grillz, which is DJ Drama's mixtape brand, attracts all of the rappers in the southern scene, who cannibalize one another's (copyrighted) sounds, mixtape after mixtape--and DJ Drama is really just the tip of the iceberg here.

Shutting down the mixtape market is depriving all hip-hop fans of music that will otherwise never be created. I mean, on Dedication 2 for example, it was stellar to hear Lil' Wayne go off over T.I.'s beat, "What You Know," but without people like DJ Drama to facilitate mixtape creation, this type of music will not be produced. Ugh. sickening.
posted by dead_ at 7:44 AM on January 18, 2007


Actually, Arkiv burns the CD-R for you. My mistake. Nevertheless, it is really great to have available old and out of print discs in this fashion. I am not sure why they would not offer a limited time download, disc image, artwork, perhaps even the liner notes this way, for less money due to their labor savings.
posted by caddis at 7:44 AM on January 18, 2007


Also, I have friends who produce music, and 90% of their income from the tracks they've released commercially has come from licensing to commercial mix compilations. If somebody is going to sell 80,000 CDs with out licensing them, that's just greed, pure and simple. They're taking money that would have gone to those artists if a legitimate business were releasing his mixes. That's not the same as handing out CD's at gigs or offering podcasts to download.

If he's such a hot-shot mixer, he could have gotten a legitimate record deal for his compilation. He was just being greedy and ripping off producers.
posted by empath at 7:46 AM on January 18, 2007


The power is in the artists' hands to fuck over the RIAA, if they organized themselves;

Why are the DJs making mix-tapes of RIAA-label artists?
Why are the artists on RIAA-member labels?

That's as simple as it is to end this, and show the industry who's really in control. Unfortunately, artists will probably continue to follow the short-term cash and jump on whatever label will have them without asking questions and demanding a fair deal, and we'll keep on down the same road.
posted by Jimbob at 7:50 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


If he's such a hot-shot mixer, he could have gotten a legitimate record deal for his compilation. He was just being greedy and ripping off producers.

No, he's not being greedy, and the mixtapes he pieces together aren't simple "compilations" either, there are mountains of new material on each one--the major issue is that much of the music produced on mixtapes is over copyrighted beats. Original lyrics over other people's beats. Drama isn't just downloading and burning other people's music, he's sitting in a studio with T.I., Young Jeezy, Lil' Wayne, etc. putting this shit together, WITH the artists (who the RIAA is trying to protect, yeah right).

The real issue here is that we have a creative individual not using the RIAA for a distribution channel, and they want to shut him down (even though he is directly helping RIAA artists make more sales of their official albums).
posted by dead_ at 7:51 AM on January 18, 2007


Ha! Only in a magazine called "Stereophile" will you find references to people who believe CD-Rs sound different than normal CDs!
posted by Jimbob at 7:54 AM on January 18, 2007


If he's got clearances from all the artists (or even most of them) that he used, then i take back my statement.
posted by empath at 8:01 AM on January 18, 2007


Yeah empath, that's the grey area I guess.

It's sort of like this: DJ Drama will go with Lil' Wayne and sit in the studio, they listen to a T.I. beat and use it without his permission. Wayne will drop a verse or two over it, and that's that.

A few months later T.I. might be in the studio and hear a Lil' Wayne beat and decide to spit over it. There was no real "clearance" from anyone here, but I just feel like there shouldn't need to be.
posted by dead_ at 8:04 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jimbob, I'm wondering about that, too. Is it possible that CD-Rs are better because the data is checked for errors, whereas mass produced "stampings" are not?
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:09 AM on January 18, 2007


Looks like someone's conditioning is slipping. People, remind yourselves:

1 - Only Internet Nerds understand this kind of thing
2 - Only someone who wants to steal would argue against the RIAA
posted by tyllwin at 8:11 AM on January 18, 2007


I guess it's possible, StickyCarpet, but I've never heard a straight-out-of-the-plastic-wrap CD that's skipped.

And skipping is the only thing we can be talking about here; actual serious errors in the manufacture of the fisk. The general "sound quality" has to be identical on a bit-for-bit copy, although it seems it's difficult to get this point through to some audiophiles, what with their obsession with paying as much as they possibly can for things.
posted by Jimbob at 8:16 AM on January 18, 2007


(most digital dance music is sold un-DRM'd at high bitrate, for $2-$3 a song.)
posted by empath at 8:24 AM on January 18, 2007


> I've never heard a straight-out-of-the-plastic-wrap CD that's skipped.

I have. Further, I have a couple well-stored originally-good music CDs that deteriorated to unplayability in about a decade. CD-Rs have declined as badly in six months.

Ripping a music CD-R is technically illegal but it's the only way to know I'll be able to hear my $15 purchase the following year.
posted by ardgedee at 8:27 AM on January 18, 2007


Digital rights management has little to do with piracy, but that is instead a carefully plotted ruse to undercut fair use and then create new revenue streams where there were previously none.
posted by four panels at 8:39 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


They're taking money that would have gone to those artists if a legitimate business were releasing his mixes.

"If" being the key word. Legitimate businesses never make those mixes, and the reason is because the licensing fees would be outrageous. If DJs had to pay licensing fees everytime they did mixes at a club, you'd stop hearing mixes at the club also.

Of course, like club music, mix CDs actually only promote the legitimate sales more. If I hear someone I like, that one song on a mix cd is probably not going to replace my desire to hear the whole album. (and, if your one song on the mix cd outsells your album, maybe that says something about your music overall... ).
posted by yeloson at 8:57 AM on January 18, 2007


How much more Big Brother can you get than this (and the industry is trying):

1. Under Fair Use law, U.S. citizens have a legal right to make a backup copy of any CD, DVD, or software disc they purchase.

2. Content providers were not happy about this and devised DRM methods, such as CSS on DVDs, to make it difficult to copy the discs you purchased.

3. Now, even though you still retain the legal right to make a backup copy, it is illegal to bypass the DRM to get to the information you wish to copy. Thus, to do something you have a legal right to do, you must break the law first.

Catch-22, anyone? The "good guys" here are worse than the bad guys, because they are willing to prostitute our legal system to their end- the epitome of facism.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:58 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't think that not being able to afford the licensing is a good enough reason to steal.

Fine, give away the mix CD. But selling it is over the line, IMO.
posted by empath at 9:00 AM on January 18, 2007


empath:

I believe, in the RIAA's opinion, even giving away the CDs is illegal. The unauthorized copying is what gets their goat; missed potential license fees, you know.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:04 AM on January 18, 2007


The power is in the artists' hands to fuck over the RIAA, if they organized themselves;

Why are the DJs making mix-tapes of RIAA-label artists?
Why are the artists on RIAA-member labels?

That's as simple as it is to end this, and show the industry who's really in control. Unfortunately, artists will probably continue to follow the short-term cash and jump on whatever label will have them without asking questions and demanding a fair deal, and we'll keep on down the same road.


Yes. Times a million.

For all of our talk about the "new music economy," we're sure sticking to pretty oldschool means of promotion and distribution.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:16 AM on January 18, 2007


I don't even really see why giving away mixtapes is OK, frankly.

The RIAA are a rotten group of nasty people but you really aren't allowed to give away other people's property without their permission.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:23 AM on January 18, 2007


Because mixtapes are not the same as the original product. It's all about recontextualization and referencing other works. This is nothing new. Hip-hop artists have been sampling since the beginning.

Also, how fucked up is it that we allow any legal questions to get in the way of an artist's creativity? The idea that the person who wrote the original music that is sampled gets to veto any other derivative use is a cultural construct that I do not believe in (of course, it's not the original artist that's doing the veto, it's a parasitic corporate entity claiming to be representing their interests).

I agree with Jimbob. Fuck the RIAA. In this day and age, given internet distribution possiblities, it's no longer necessary to go through them. I hope to see more artists avoiding their predatory games.
posted by geekhorde at 9:37 AM on January 18, 2007


Also

"allowed to give away other people's property"

That just bothers me. Allowed? Other people's property? I object to the framing of the subject matter inherent in those words.
posted by geekhorde at 9:38 AM on January 18, 2007


DJ Drama (whose real name is Tyree Simmons) and Mr. Cannon were each charged with a felony violation of Georgia’s Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization law(known as RICO) and held on $100,000 bond.

Hah. The RIAA itself has been charged under RICO. In any event, he was actually breaking the law. I mean, maybe it was dumb for the RIAA to push for prosecution, but what he was doing was illegal.

At the point where he was selling thousands of thousands of mix tapes, he could have sought permission and licensing from the original artists, since he was so influential, he probably wouldn't have had much trouble getting it.
posted by delmoi at 9:39 AM on January 18, 2007


This seems stupid. I wonder what artist complained?
posted by OmieWise at 9:39 AM on January 18, 2007


The RIAA are a rotten group of nasty people but you really aren't allowed to give away other people's property without their permission.

Intellectual property isn't the same as real property. epistemologically or legally. Also, the Audio Home Recording Act makes it explicitly legal to record tapes for non-commercial use, because there is a surcharge paid to the music companies whenever the tapes are sold.
posted by delmoi at 9:46 AM on January 18, 2007


because there is a surcharge paid to the music companies whenever the tapes are sold.

Wow, I never knew that. Crazy. This makes the Zune royalties slightly less shocking.

The more I think about it, I'm starting to fall to that dark side on this one. Everyone defending mixtapes is defending them as a DIY, not-for-profit thing. Clearly this guy is doing something else, and why shouldn't he give part of his profit to the artists? Not doing so seems really shrewd and mean.

Because mixtapes are not the same as the original product. It's all about recontextualization and referencing other works.

That's cute. Now edit a literary anthology without getting permission from any of the writers.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:51 AM on January 18, 2007


Make Mix Tapes And The RIAA May Send A SWAT Team To Bust Down Your Door?
posted by homunculus at 9:54 AM on January 18, 2007


That's cute. Now edit a literary anthology without getting permission from any of the writers.


Literature got over this a long time ago. (Eliot, The Waste Land).

The analogy to a literary anthology is a poor one. There's more than just a foreword/introduction involved in terms of original content introduced when you're talking about a mixtape.
posted by juv3nal at 10:15 AM on January 18, 2007


That just bothers me. Allowed? Other people's property? I object to the framing of the subject matter inherent in those words.

I second this objection. Copyright is an artificial construct that was invented to foster creativity by making it profitable for the original creator. Profit and ownership are not the ends of copyright, they are the means. Copyright exists because society decided that the more creativity and invention there are in the world, the better off we all are. Copyright exists, not for the individual artist, but for society as a whole to benefit from new inventions, by making those inventions temporarily profitable for the original artist by means of artificial scarcity.

The litmus test of all copyright morality falls down to: Does this action promote future creativity? Any other measure (e.g. individualist total ownership of ideas) sounds to me a lot like parroting the RIAA's position, no matter how much you try to distance yourself from them. In my view, the only other prima facie moral right that an artist has is protection against plagiarism, which might be where ideas-as-property folks first gained their confusion. In fact, prevention of plagiarism doesn't even really feel like an artist's right. It's more connected to the morality of honesty by not taking false credit, which, again, is a social moral and not an individualist one.

Nevertheless, shutting down mixtapes as a medium absolutely and without doubt fails the litmus test. Our individualist obsessed society has totally forgotten that all creative endeavors are social ones. In fact, I would go so far as to say that there is no such thing as an artist that works alone. All creative works are a part of a collaborative process. Any work that was not based on collaborative effort (Think: "shoulders of giants") would be so totally alien that it would be absolutely impossible to distribute in any medium, let alone understand once it got to you.
posted by Skwirl at 10:19 AM on January 18, 2007 [8 favorites]


Because mixtapes are not the same as the original product. It's all about recontextualization and referencing other works. This is nothing new. Hip-hop artists have been sampling since the beginning.

Exactly. And something to keep in mind is that pretty much every artist who is sampled or used on a "Gangsta Grillz" mixtape is friends with the artist producing the disc, and DJ Drama himself.

The artists love this stuff. The RIAA is complete bullshit.
posted by dead_ at 10:28 AM on January 18, 2007


Sorry for the poor analogy. I still think it's a pretty good one. Found/co-opted text (i.e. Eliot, Pound, Berrigan, Giorno, Goldsmith, etc.) is, in my thinking, analagous to turntablism-type work, where the source material is not 100% recognizable. What DJ Drama is doing, unless I'm sorely mistaken, is not that. The source material is recognizable and, in fact, the source material is the point.

But more importantly, I say again, this is not some DIY thing. These are completely commercial compilations.

And I hate the RIAA. Hate it. I think it's stuck 50 years in the past, and is going to spend it's final moments before complete obsolescence getting as much money as it can from lawsuits.

But hey, in this particular case, why not give the artists a share of the profit? Would that just be nice?

On an unrelated note, props to this post for making me aware of Arkivmusic. Amazon is laughably bad for finding classical music. This is great.

On preview:

Exactly. And something to keep in mind is that pretty much every artist who is sampled or used on a "Gangsta Grillz" mixtape is friends with the artist producing the disc, and DJ Drama himself.

Okay, if that's true, I take back most of what I've said.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:31 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah you really have to listen to one of these things. I mean, this is coming out of a major, major music scene in Atlanta, and in the south as a whole, where all of the artists place a heavy emphasis on collaboration. Between Memphis, Houston and Atlanta, the mixtape scene is full of the same usual suspects each go-round.

They use one another's music, lyrics and so forth to create new songs. For the listener, it's truly a beautiful thing. Of course, not everyone in the southern rap scene gets along, but in that case it goes without saying that if I don't like you I'm probably not going to sample your music.

Just take a look at the "Gangsta Grillz" album the DJ Drama put out with Project Pat following his release from jail. This thing probably had at least 20 different featured artists on it over the course of 25+ tracks. It's a mishmash, it's unrefined, it's just raw fun--a group of dudes spitting lyrics over one another's music, recycling and recreating ad infinitum. No one is "stealing" here and no one "loses."

It's a lot of fun, and all of them understand that the mixtape market is a way to get the consumer engine revved up for the major label releases they are all actually putting some serious work into.
posted by dead_ at 10:38 AM on January 18, 2007


And skipping is the only thing we can be talking about here; actual serious errors in the manufacture of the fisk. The general "sound quality" has to be identical on a bit-for-bit copy

I don't think this is true. CD players have error tolerance and do whatever they want to fill in the missing bits. Some audiophile CD players have an error indicator, and those light up constantly when playing a less than pristine CD.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:39 AM on January 18, 2007


Perhaps it is time for compulsory licensing for sampling. We have it for covers. If I want to cover your song I can do it, you can't stop me, but you get statutory royalty. Usually, people negotiate one instead, but if negotiations fail, you can go with the statutory one. A similar situation could be used for samples, with limits on how much of a song could be sampled and pro rated royalties which allow sampling without undue expense. The current law cripples this business, restricts the artists, and frankly protects no one. Perhaps it is time for a change.
posted by caddis at 10:48 AM on January 18, 2007


RIAA sucks.

But the counter-movement is not going to get anywhere until it disassociates itself from the "it's not stealing I can download whatever I want" crowd and their silly rationalizations.

It reminds me of drug legalization, where one of the biggest forces working against serious activists is the clownishness of the "High Times"/hemp pants types.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:12 AM on January 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Perhaps it is time for compulsory licensing for sampling.

I agree with that to an extent. However, what happens when the song gets "remixed" into an ad for the US Army? A hymn for a religion other than the one the artist practices? Or a racist anthem?
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:18 AM on January 18, 2007


there is no "ratlonalization" for the mixtape niche, but then again anyone brazen enough to claim that there is a "line" between "selling" mixtapes and "distributing them free of charge" is a dope, sorry. that line has always been crossed.

"I use to sell... mixtapes... but now I'm an mc..."
posted by phaedon at 11:20 AM on January 18, 2007


by the way, the reason there isn't, and shouldn't be, any kind of compulsory license for sampling is simply because those works that do the sampling technically should be considered as "derivative" works, which is covered by the original copyright (and appropriately licensed out at any price the owner chooses to set).

then again, de la soul is one of my favorite groups of all time.
posted by phaedon at 11:23 AM on January 18, 2007


"“A sound recording is either copyrighted or it’s not.” "

No, all sound recordings are copyrighted inherently in the US. A sound recording either has a restrictive rights structure or doesn't.

And I'm totally with Caddis on the issue of compulsory sample licensing. That'd be sweet.
posted by klangklangston at 11:23 AM on January 18, 2007


"I agree with that to an extent. However, what happens when the song gets "remixed" into an ad for the US Army? A hymn for a religion other than the one the artist practices? Or a racist anthem?"

What a bizarre argument.

"by the way, the reason there isn't, and shouldn't be, any kind of compulsory license for sampling is simply because those works that do the sampling technically should be considered as "derivative" works, which is covered by the original copyright (and appropriately licensed out at any price the owner chooses to set)."

No, those works that sample ARE currently considered derivative works, but that doesn't mean they should be. Most sampled works (like, say, Kanye's use of Aretha) are transformative, and the works are substantively new.
posted by klangklangston at 11:27 AM on January 18, 2007


Let's be clear here... they didn't just arrest him and confiscate his mix tapes. They sent a fucking SWAT team. WTF! Militarization of the police indeed. When did everybody become an enemy of the state?
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 11:41 AM on January 18, 2007


However, what happens when the song gets "remixed" into an ad for the US Army? A hymn for a religion other than the one the artist practices? Or a racist anthem?

You mean when a copyrighted work is recontextualized, developing something new in the process, and so implicitly advances the arts and sciences? Sounds horrible.
posted by Tuwa at 11:45 AM on January 18, 2007


The RIAA and MPAA are thugs; unconcerned about any distinction between fair use issues and illegal uses.

Both still maintain time-shifting should be illegal, even though they've lost numerous lawsuits on those grounds.

Both maintain that space-shifting (altering the format, say from .wav to .ogg or .vob to Divx) should be illegal, so the providers can sell multiple versions of the same files. The MPAA recently said for example, it is their stand that if you buy a DVD for home viewing, but want to reformat it to view on your PSP, then they expect you to buy 2 copies.

Both have demanded the legal right to inspect personal computers, without the owners' consent or knowledge, to search for potentially illegal files. Both have released millions of tagged files on the net to track individual behavior.

Neither have a problem with denying people their legal right to copying by use of DRM. And DRM gets weirder and more draconian every week. Microsoft's Zune, for example, let's you share digital files with other Zune units by "beaming" the file from one Zune to another. In the process, however, it writes DRM into the file that makes the beamed file unplayable after three views/listens or three days. It does this automatically - even if it is not a copyrighted file (like family photos, etc.)

They expect to make money on all sides of the issue, and still call all the shots. Sony, for example, is a huge record label. But they also manufacture recordable digital media, and digital recording equipment. Playing both sides against the middle doesn't seem to bother them at all. Methinks they protest too much- it's all about the ducats.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:47 AM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wonder how this conversation would have gone down back in the dawn of the automotive era. I picture a blustering RIAA-esque type extorting fees on vehicles sold since, after all, the horseless carriage is just a type of extant carriage, e.g. what we may called the 'horsed carriage', and thus intrudes on the profits of the our clients and the dividends paid to our representatives.

Yeah.

The argument would go back and forth and back and forth, and eventually, only limousine companies could have gas-engine cars, but they would have to buy a $4,000 buggy-whip as a sign of good faith with the farrier-and-buggy-whip cartel.
posted by boo_radley at 11:47 AM on January 18, 2007


I agree with that to an extent. However, what happens when the song gets "remixed" into an ad for the US Army? A hymn for a religion other than the one the artist practices? Or a racist anthem?

I believe even though there are compulsory licenses in place for cover songs the owner of the publishing still maintains the right to deny the use of a composition if s/he feels it necessary. I would assume that same right could exist for the compulsory sample license that the poster above suggests.
posted by General Zubon at 12:38 PM on January 18, 2007


I believe even though there are compulsory licenses in place for cover songs the owner of the publishing still maintains the right to deny the use of a composition if s/he feels it necessary.

I don't think that's the case. If you've released a record, anyone can record a cover, as long as they pay you for it. I don't know if that applies to derivative works that aren't covers.
posted by oaf at 12:45 PM on January 18, 2007


It's a grey area, certainly. I've heard cases (that I can't recall well enough to cite here at the moment) where cover songs were challenged on the basis of being disrespectful to the original. I guess the Roy Orbison/2 Live Crew court case from the 80's initially comes to mind, where the Crew won on the basis of the rights of parody.

At risk of derailing into cover song legal wrangling, check out this man's account of trying to self-release a CD of cover songs. He, too, understands the 'anyone can record a cover of a released song' rule but still signs contracts with publishers and goes through a bunch of hoops. He may just be a bit over-cautious.
posted by General Zubon at 1:02 PM on January 18, 2007


Let's be clear here... they didn't just arrest him and confiscate his mix tapes. They sent a fucking SWAT team. WTF! Militarization of the police indeed. When did everybody become an enemy of the state?

Gotta make a big show for the cameras, buddy.
posted by sparkletone at 1:06 PM on January 18, 2007


I'll be checking out that arkiv link - thanks. And Tower records really did have an amazing classical section, at least the one on lower broadway did.
posted by vronsky at 1:13 PM on January 18, 2007


Methinks they protest too much- it's all about the ducats.

In the context of this conversation, you clearly mean that it's all about the Benjamins.

Or, if you're thinking of downloading, etc., it is albout the Pentiums.
posted by sparkletone at 1:26 PM on January 18, 2007


In the context of this conversation, you clearly mean that it's all about the Benjamins.

Or, if you're thinking of downloading, etc., it is albout the Pentiums.


Right you are. Sorry, I'm an old guy. Even though I'm a tech geek, at heart I'm just a pre-connected guy living in a post-connected world.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:31 PM on January 18, 2007


Some audiophile CD players have an error indicator, and those light up constantly when playing a less than pristine CD.

Heh, you mean a light that lights up to tell you the sound quality is reduced...because you're ears can't actually tell ;)
posted by Jimbob at 2:11 PM on January 18, 2007


HEY MAN THE HUMAN EYE CAN DISTINGUISH SEVEN MILLIONS DISTINCT SHADES OF COLOR and that's why I need a new flatscreen and a GeForce for my workstation, sir.
posted by cortex at 2:27 PM on January 18, 2007


HEY MAN THE HUMAN EYE CAN DISTINGUISH SEVEN MILLIONS DISTINCT SHADES OF COLOR and that's why I need a new flatscreen and a GeForce for my workstation, sir.

Not my eyes, says the partially color-blind sparkletone.
posted by sparkletone at 2:31 PM on January 18, 2007


Erk. Hit enter before I meant to.

I also meant to add that while my eyes may not see all colors, I can hear at least ten million shades of blue.
posted by sparkletone at 2:32 PM on January 18, 2007


Seems pertinent:

Did Warhol get permission from Campbell Soup to make his art?
posted by whimsicalnymph at 2:55 PM on January 18, 2007


Of course not whimsicalnymph. But you're talking about a visual artist. For some reason they're allowed to make collages, and reinterpret things, while musicians aren't
posted by Jimbob at 4:52 PM on January 18, 2007


Look, the real problem here is that the artists who made the original music don't own their own music.

Record label contracts all force artists to do their music as work-for-hire, so the labels own the copyrights, not the artists. Smart artists do their best to get the rights to revert to them after some period of time, but it's very very hard to do that even if you have clout.

Since a major won't sign you unless you sign a work-for-hire contract, you either put up or shut up. A lot of people want to get famous (I signed one of these too, way back when, to my chagrin), so they sign and shut up.

So, the artists in question don't have the legal ability to give permission for the mixers to use their work; you'd have to go to the record company and pay them some stupid amount of cash up front to get their permission.

When artists tell the labels to screw off until the contracts get better, that's what will change things. Don't count on it happening; there's a lot of desperate egos who crave fame out there.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:13 PM on January 18, 2007


This guy was SELLING them. That's a big difference, and he should know better. I don't feel sorry for him at all.
posted by empath at 3:43 PM GMT on January 18 [+]
[!]

That's anti-eponysterical.
posted by Optamystic at 6:34 PM on January 18, 2007


sparkletone: "In the context of this conversation, you clearly mean that it's all about the Benjamins."

No, no. It's all about the Benny Andajetzamins.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:38 AM on January 19, 2007


Did Warhol get permission from Campbell Soup to make his art?

No, but if he'd been putting Campbell's Soup into Warhol Soup cans and selling it as soup, he might have had some problems.
posted by InfidelZombie at 9:09 AM on January 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heh. But seriously, good point.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:55 AM on January 19, 2007


Empath, you are clearly out of the loop on this one.

Selling mixtapes is part as part of a commercial culture is clearly and long-established hip-hop tradition.

Mixtapes make artists. Everyone in hip-hop has agreed on this for over thirty years. DJ Drama is who he is, and according to the rules of "da game," he is in the right.

SWAT team? For mixtapes? Yes.
posted by mongonikol at 7:43 AM on January 23, 2007


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