Nine Inch Nails gives copyright of song to Black Dog Construction.
April 9, 2001 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Nine Inch Nails gives copyright of song to Black Dog Construction. I don't think so. Visit Black Dog to give a listen to NIN's "Head like a hole." What can be done to protect the rights of the artist?
posted by I am Generic (19 comments total)
How about the rights to that hammer?

This Flash movie and its actions and the UI is extremely similar to the older (pre-beta) design of Dennis Interactive.
posted by mgtrott at 3:18 PM on April 9, 2001

Overzealous industrialite webdesigner, meet large construction company. Whaaathaa?!?!
I can just see the leather claden workers pounding nails to NIN, right- hahaha
posted by metasak at 3:20 PM on April 9, 2001

It seems like a pretty clear case of the designer being at fault. I'm guessing the head of marketing at a large construction company isn't particularly familiar with Trent Reznor's late 80's work.

Maybe I'm biased — none of the large construction companies I've worked with ever had any taste.
posted by anildash at 3:30 PM on April 9, 2001

mgtrott: and Amon Tobin beats Trent Reznor any day of the week, too.
posted by techgnollogic at 3:35 PM on April 9, 2001

hmm, i wonder what's with the "select user id" list that has user 1, user 2, etc. make it seem like the site isn't completed.
posted by pnevares at 3:41 PM on April 9, 2001

Though honestly I would save a large portion of whateer copyright violation rage you might have over this site. Grabbing a music track and setting the site design to it is a long and venerated tradition with flash designers. You can count the number of legal music tracks on flash sites with one hand. (All the flash sites I've done I've gone through to get the rights BTW)

I'm not excusing it. But I don't think that it's something we need to get our panties in a twist about. There are much more agregious acts of intellectual property theft to be concerned about. Though spreading a healthy dose of "caveat emptor" to prospective site clients may be a good thing. Someone should write up a faq (though the people who need it most will never read it. But you know, step one).
posted by captaincursor at 3:43 PM on April 9, 2001

techgnollogic: You have my wholehearted agreement.
posted by mgtrott at 4:09 PM on April 9, 2001

Well, as long as the clip is under 4 measures and/or less than 20 seconds in length, it can be used as a sample without having to pay royalties back to the artist. The sample here seems to be 2 measures looped over and over.
posted by brokosz at 4:23 PM on April 9, 2001

Although this "standard" has emerged from some of the cases involving samples in Hip Hop, there is no "bright line" test, as we say in the law. There is no maximum length, and generally speaking, you will need permission. This is especially true when used commercially (as it is here) rather than artistically or in parody. Also, the song is not attributed on the site, which is another red flag.
Using a sample is analyzed under the "fair use" doctrine of section 107 of the US copyright law. There are four factors and every infringement is examined on a case-by-case basis. Very generally, the more commercial/direct/unchanged/nonparody the use is, the more likely the courts are to find infringement. A few links:
posted by sixdifferentways at 5:19 PM on April 9, 2001

Maybe somebody should email the designers and give them a chance to correct their mistake? I'm no designer, but I think the site is very impressive apart from the copyright issue.
posted by sixdifferentways at 5:21 PM on April 9, 2001

Maybe somebody should email the designers and give them a chance to correct their mistake?

Screw that -- let's moiderize 'em!!!
posted by Dirjy at 7:59 PM on April 9, 2001

and how much more time would it have taken to get the loop, mess with it a bit, and layer something else on top? i'm more offended by the laziness than the steal...

stravinsky "bad artists appropriate, good ones steal"
posted by johnboy at 10:17 PM on April 9, 2001

Negativland (a band that's no stranger to copyright issues) has some great General Copyright and Fair Use links on their website.
posted by shinybeast at 10:58 PM on April 9, 2001

johnboy: i think Picasso said that... not that it's important.
posted by techgnollogic at 12:13 AM on April 10, 2001

Stravinski and Picasso both said it. They probably both stole it from the same African artist.
posted by Zeldman at 1:22 AM on April 10, 2001

Many Flash designers steal tracks for their portfolio projects, but that doesn’t make it right. And stealing tracks for a commercial site is utterly wrong.

FAIR USE is when you quote a short passage in the context of something original. Quoting four lines of poetry in a review of the poet’s work. That kind of thing.

Sampling existing musical snippets and putting them together to create a longer, original musical work is legally tricky to begin with. But grabbing four bars from a popular CD and looping them is not creating anything original. It’s just stealing. There’s nothing original here (musically speaking); there’s just four bars of a well-known song.

There are companies that create stock loops for projects like this, just like there are stock photo houses. If you steal images from PhotoDisc on a commercial design project, you could get burned (or the client could get burned). Same thing with music.

I agree that nobody HERE has to do anything about this — it’s not our business — but the company that paid for the site should be concerned, since the designer has put them legally at risk.

Besides all that: Amon Tobin (or his music publishers) would be quite wealthy if even 10% of the Flash sites that use his music were paying for it. Doesn’t he deserve that money? Wouldn’t you want to get paid? Don’t site designers get paid? So it's not our problem and not our business, but I wouldn't characterize discussing it as "getting our panties in a bunch," and I wouldn't shrug it off as trivial or meaningless.

It's the theft of copyrighted material for use in a commercial project. That's risky, and wrong.
posted by Zeldman at 1:37 AM on April 10, 2001

I agree that nobody HERE has to do anything about this — it’s not our business...

Aw, c'mon. We already have the mob mentality, along with a proven track record! Let's release the hounds!
posted by crunchland at 5:36 AM on April 10, 2001

Well, it is an Industrial Site......
posted by Dagobert at 6:16 AM on April 10, 2001

> stravinsky "bad artists appropriate, good ones steal"

And Picasso, as others noted, and T. S. Eliot. The truth is that probably every artist that ever lived has had this thought independently -- usually just when he's tempted to steal something.
posted by jfuller at 7:35 AM on April 10, 2001

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