Illegal Art is doing what they do best, stirring up copyright-related controversy. This time it's about Danger Mouse's Grey Album:
- DJ Danger Mouse's recent Grey Album, which remixes Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles White Album, has been hailed as a innovative hip-hop triumph. Despite that and the fact that only 3,000 copies of the album are in circulation, EMI sent cease and desist letters yesterday to Danger Mouse and the handful of stores that were selling the album, demanding that the album be destroyed.
"EMI isn't looking for compensation, they're trying to ban a work of art," said Downhill Battle's Rebecca Laurie.
"Special interests, including the major labels, have turned copyright law into a weapon," said Downhill Battle co-founder Holmes Wilson. "If Danger Mouse had requested permission and offered to pay royalties, EMI still would have said no and the public would never have been able to enjoy this critically acclaimed work. Artists are being forced to break the law to innovate."
The Grey Album has been widely shared on file sharing networks such as Kazaa and Soulseek, and has garnered critical acclaim in Rolling Stone (which called it "the ultimate remix record" and "an ingenious hip-hop record that sounds oddly ahead of its time"), the Boston Globe (which called it the "most creatively captivating" album of the year), and other major news outlets.
The result is certainly interesting - a high-end mash-up. Click over to download the entire album.
Waxy.org hosted the files themselves and got to deal with this:
- February 13, 2004
I was cc'd on an e-mail from EMI's lawyers to my ISP, stating that I'm in violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. As such, I have removed all of the MP3s from my web server. The text of the EMI letter is below.
Vice President Operations/Designated Agent
2600 Southwest Freeway, Suite 500
Houston, TX 77098
Re: Unauthorized Use of Sound Recordings Performed by the Beatles