September 23, 2004

Three Notes and Runnin'

Earlier on this month, a Circuit Court of Appeals in the US ruled that NWA was in breach of copyright when it used an uncleared three note sample from a Funkadelic guitar riff in one of its songs - even though that sample had been manipulated to the point where "no reasonable juror, even one familiar with the works of George Clinton, would recognize [it] without having been told of its source". (quote taken from the ruling in the original case that was overturned by this appeal.)

When the anti-copyright-abuse firebrands at Downhill Battle got wind of this appalling decision, they naturally organised a protest - and what a brilliant-conceived protest it was!... On their site, they posted the 1.5 seconds of Funkadelic guitar at the centre of the case and invited allcomers to compose 30 second song using only this sample.

The response to that invitation (made back on Sept 15) has been impressive to say the least, with 58 tracks of digifuckery submitted so far. In the process, the sample has been turned into everything from dark electronica to video game and synthesized insect sounds. (There's even a version of the "Star Spangled Banner".) And the best thing about it all is that no one involved can get sued, as the use of copyrighted material for protests is protected under the US Constitution!

(More details in this Wired News article)

Posted by Warren at September 23, 2004 05:37 PM | Copyright