It’s very early on Tuesday morning, and I’ve just returned from my DJ gig at the Palac Akropolis to find a number of interesting letters regarding the Grey Tuesday action.
Grey Tuesday is an action in support of a recording called the Grey Album, by DJ Danger Mouse, which is a combination of rapper Jay-Z’s Black Album and the Beatles’ White Album. That said, it’s pretty hard to find exactly where the samples lie. You can tell they’re samples from the White Album, but where exactly I’m not sure.
But that’s beside the point. EMI, the copyright holder, told Danger Mouse he could not make this record at any price. He was ready to negotiate for sample clearance, the whole nine yards. But it didn’t happen.
I am participating in this action partly as a protest of the way copyright laws have been misused to support copyright holders, not authors. I think that if someone were able to penetrate Sir Paul McCartney’s compound and have a talk with him, he’d see what this was about. Same goes for Ringo. Hell, Yoko Ono was a Fluxus artist. She’s got to appreciate this kind of thing. But I’m not even sure they’re owners of the copyright at this point.
I am also participating in this action because I recognize that it could have been me in Danger Mouse’s position.
I’d like to talk for a second about copyright and licenses. If you look at this blog, you’ll notice a little logo near the bottom on the left hand side that says this content is licensed under the Creative Commons License. In my case it means that anything that’s published on this blog – that I’ve created – is free to be reused for non-commercial use. If you’re going to make money on it, I’d like to talk to you about getting a piece of that profit based on my work.
By participating in this protest action, I want to draw attention first and foremost to an excellent example of where the state of the art is in DJ culture. The Grey Album is an audacious combination of sounds. It is art. Period.
It’s very late – 6am here in the Czech Republic – and I haven’t slept yet. I’ll probably post the files to my site when I wake up. But to do so would mean staying up another hour or so tonight to make this happen, which is outside my strength.
In the meantime, download a copy here.