Hi George:
It seems to me that the lawyer is in a quandry as what to do. While it is true that EMI own the rights to The Beatles’s ‘White Album’, they do not own the rights to DJ Danger Mouse’s ‘The Grey Album’, which in itself is an entirely new creation. Regardless of the elements contained within The Grey Album, it is its own creation. Cease and desist notification is a tool to intimidate, nothing more and nothing less. The e-mail you received, however, is no such thing.
Your concerns are reasonable, and your reasons for reconsidering your positon in regards to Grey Tuesday understandable. However, given the power that you have with regards to your own website it would seem that you have a propensity to abuse all who visit your site with verbiage that you neither a) feel deeply, or b) have deeply considered, or c) or both. If your position on matters of copyright were well thought out you wouldn’t have proposed to participate on Grey Tuesday in the first place, or you would still continue to be a supporter of Grey Tuesday. I only say this because EMI’s and the RIAA’s position on copyright is well thought out — they want to control the phenomenon of the creation of music fully. It is the value that you place on music that the parasites they are, prey upon. Because you love music, they place monetary value on that.
The truth is that denial of creative works make as much sense as the approval of creative works by such institutions. By denying access to that which has intrinsic value, which is the music, they create more monetary value for the music. This one of the most well documented laments of many artists in the music industry, because being artists they need to create as much as they need to, but the RIAA’s institutions place a limit on not only how much they can create in a certain amount of time, but also as to what it is that they can in fact create. In short they seek to control your perception of what music is, and how valuable it is to you. If they can control your sense of value, then it follows that they can sell you anything. That is the theory.
DJ Danger Mouse’s method of creation, that is literally taken what has been done and refashioning it, is a threat to the way that record companies do business. Because of that, lawsuits are used to stem the threat of this type of behavior before it becomes common practice in the mainstream. It is already common practice, but only in what is known as the underground.
The Beatles have rights and entitlements, there is no question to that. However, I and others are waiting to be convinced that once a creative work of any kind is released to the public, that it is still at the same time privately owned. This clearly is not true. Once the content of a creative work makes its way to your brain, then that content is no longer retrieveable in it’s original form. You, the audience, now own that work in an entirely individual and unique way. That is the reason for the invention of, and function of compensation for original creative work. These conventions are applied to recorded creative works because they are immediately identifiable as being the original work, or not. And the purpose of lawyers is to assure compensation. Mostly, if not entirely, for themselves.
Laws that could solve these conflicts have yet to be written, and if left up solely to lawyers they will never be. After all it is lawyers, and not record people, that run what is known as the music business. So at the very least, clearly define where you stand. You have, after all, a public forum and clarity makes it easier for us to count on, or not count on you for certain things.