Wednesday, February 25, 2004

GREY POWER: Yesterday's Grey Tuesday protest against EMI's bid to frustrate Dangermouse's Grey Album (and all the music industry attitudes that informed that decision) seems to have been something of a success, over 400 websites offered the album for download and generated a small shed's worth of press coverage; organisers Downhill Battle shrugged off EMI's Cease and Desist letter but did suffer from their ISP buckling under the weight of visitors.

The EMI letter is worth a closer look, by the way, for this extract:

Capitol has demanded that Mr. Burton cease distribution of The Grey Album, and Mr. Burton has indicated publicly that he intends to comply with Capitol's demands. As reported by Reuters on February 17, 2004:
'Danger Mouse said he created the record strictly as a limited-edition promotional item, with only a few thousand copies pressed . . . .
The artist, whose real name is Brian Burton, has agreed to comply with the order and will no longer distribute copies. "He just wanted people to hear the record," says a spokesman in the U.K'.
Reuters has also quoted Mr. Burton as saying, "[t]his wasn't supposed to happen . . . . I just sent out a few tracks (and) now online stores are selling it and people are downloading it all over the place." By further distributing The Grey Album, you will not only be violating the rights of those who own the recordings and compositions at issue. You will also be interfering with the intention of the very artist whose rights you purport to vindicate.

This is almost priceless humour on the part of EMI, using a twisted quote from a news agency to suggest that Dangermouse felt that Grey Tuesday was violating his copyright, too - we know that members of the BPI and the RIAA like to claim the moral high ground for themselves, but this has got to be the first time they've then attempted to build a house on stilts on top of it, the better to be more high yet. Reuter's piece doesn't make any mention at all of Mouse's intentions - all he it says is he didn't know it was going to be a cause celebre, and that he himself has said he won't make any more copies. Indeed, elsewhere, you can read a press release from his label which makes it clear Grey Tuesday didn't run counter to his intentions one bit:

"It’s flattering," says Danger Mouse. "I did this project because I love the Beatles and Jay-Z. I knew when I produced the Grey Album that there might be questions and issues that this project would bring up, but I really don't know the answers to many of them. It was not meant to be anything but an artistic expression, and I still hope that that is the way it's perceived".

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