So here’s a poser…

ByJoCo April 4, 2006

…or maybe not. Last week I found an a cappella of Michael Jackson’s Rock with You and spent some time doing a mashup with that and Eye of the Tiger. I was going to post it as the weekly thing, but felt a little weird about it. First of all, the last mashup that was part of thing a week, iTunes told me to take down (because um, it’s illegal). I expect that if I did another mashup they’d say the same thing. That’s part of why I didn’t want to publish it.

But the other thing is that the nature of TAW has changed quite a bit in the last 6 months. For one thing, a lot more people are listening and paying attention. I don’t want to get sued. For another, if I really want this to be a source of income, should I be able to profit by making a mashup that violates copyright? Probably not. What if I post it for free, does that make it less immoral (though no less illegal)? So I was going to refund the subsciption payments, but then what about donations? What about music sales that come from the free advertising I get when people link to my mashup? Where do I draw the line?

I’m just saying, it would be nice if there was an easy way to buy a mashup license the same way it’s easy to buy a cover license. But I do believe that it should be legal to make a non-commercial mashup without permission – The Grey Album is a piece of art that should be allowed to exist. Sure it benefits Danger Mouse, but it also benefits Jay-Z and The Beatles by increasing their cultural relevance.

Oh, the other thing is that I’ve decided my “Rock with the Tiger” mashup is no good.


Dave says

I think you should leave it unreleased, but let someone completely untrustworthy have access to your hard drive. That person can copy it, upload it to the net and tell us in your new forums where to get it. This way we can all get to hear it without you violating any copyrights. As a bonus, you get to feel like a true rock-n'-roller by having your very first bootleg.

Mike says

I think in general letting untrustworthy people have access to your hard drive is a bad idea.

Dave says

Well, maybe Hodgman wants to get back at him for the whole not-looking-after-his-cats thing...

Burns! says

Damn, man! Legal ramifications aside, I'm curious to hear "Rock With The Tiger."

Kerrin says

Ok, how about you let a trustworth untrustworthy person access to your hard disk?

Where do you stand legally if you send it to friends? I'm happy to be your friend JC.

Eric Ginsberg says

I could have survived the rest of my life without ever having been teased in such an unjust manner. You suck. Maybe you could e-mail it to me? I don't give you money, anyway, and I'll keep giving you gigs any way, and checking your site there's no legal or moral issue with sending a thing to a friend...right? Oh, but then, if you do it for me, then you have to do it for everyone else, and we're gonna run out of cake at this rate. I understand. But still, you didn't have to say, "Hey, I made this great thing, only you can't have it." Jerk.

C Ya,

BadServo says

I am a fan of anonymous "leaks" of interesting pseudo-legal art on popular file-sharing networks. I'm quite a fan of the San Francisco mashup scene, and frequenlty refer to such meathods for hard-to-find tracks.

just a thought

tharsaile says

As a big fan of both 'When I'm 25 or 64' and the Grey Album, among other mash-ups, I'm very disappointed to find out what I'm missing out on, reasons notwithstanding. 'Rock with the Tiger' must be incredible.

(Psst! I'll be firing up bitTorrent tonight, 11pm, Eastern Standard Time)

Liz says

Well, for the record, it seems that free podcasts on iTunes are allowed to include mashups - there are plenty in the podcast from the "Some Assembly Required" radio show done by a friend of my roommate here in Minneapolis (and syndicated nationally.) It's all about audio collage, plunderphonics, etc., of all types, and frequently includes artist interviews that address the whole legal side of things. You *need* to check it out if you like mashups and such - for example, "W's Duty," "Beds Hurt My Booty," "Bacteria," and "Sibling Rivalry" would also all fit very well on the show. Jon Nelson, the host, loves to get submissions from artists. Hint, hint. has links to the show's website, the iTunes subscription, etc. is the originating station (complete with audio streams, and also available through iTunes radio via the "Public" category.) Both are awesome. End of plug.

webjones says

Don't have much to add to the copyright dilemma musing, but as an artist (a visual one) I totally respect your not distributing the mashup. You are the artist - if you don't like your creation and would not feel good about sharing it, that's entirely your call.

But "Rock With The Tiger" does sound like one hell of a neat concept.

Daga says

If you classify the song as a "Parody" it doesn't fall under the same restrictions. That's how Weird Al gets away with some things. And yes, two songs (or more) being smashed together could count. It's been done before, look up the CD "Smash-ups."