1. Calling what Frankmusik did plagiarism, like I just did, is stupid since he merely sampled a few seconds from a rather generic part of a song. We’re not calling the whole jungle genre plagiarism, are we?
2.Everybody is inspired by something. Everybody samples, or atleast “samples” – not just composers, but chefs, children and anything with a brain. Don’t you read the philosophy tabloids? The author is dead!
3. Well, that might be a bit much for pragmatic reasoning. But what if we would take the chip-plagiarism-paranoias further? Is the wet dream to have a relentless universal machine that scans the world’s storage devices for copyright infringements? DJ Assault would have the ass and titties of LSDJ-users incarcerated. (his voice is among the default samples of this Gameboy software) But more seriously, I remember when Shitmat‘s album Hang The Dj (dl) couldn’t be released through a certain label because a gigantic sample-checking computer said no. There were too many copyright infringements. (Does anyone have the story on this, or was it all just a dream?) These stories don’t really make anyone happy, do they?
4. We don’t have to only see the mechanical (economical) rights of copyright, which in its constant global increase has proven to be a gold mine for profiters but a disaster for ‘remix culture’. Instead, we can talk about the moral rights of copyright, which is a European tradition that USA (and some others) still does not fully incorporate. It means that the author’s name should always be mentioned, modifications are not allowed without consent, and similar things. As a fresh breeze in commodity land, it is not possible to sell these rights, although you can waive them in contracts.
5. But moral rights seem rarely enforced. It’s not like Madonna is going to sue a radio station for not mentioning her name or shortening/changing a song. Her publishers are not likely to be interested either. But upholding these moral rights were and continue to be important for composers in the demoscene where there is no sanctioning authority, yet a strong urge to be credited for your work. Credit the works you cover or sample from, or others will find out and discredit you. However, you are not likely to be honest if you haven’t cleared your samples and risk being sued. Creative commons is only good for knowing which works you can play around with, but there is no formal protection of people misusing your work just because you put a CC-license on it. Atleast that is my experience from it.
6. Well, just some reflections on copyright with no hot ending to it (yet). This post was just supposed to be another silly announcement of Frankmusik sampling music from the C64 demoscene. So here it is: Frankmusik – In Step (@2:20) samples PFK – Beer Station. It’s basically the same thing as he did the last time – a break with a loop from a C64-demoscene song. Enjoy! I’ll finish this off with the C64-pixel piece Concubism by Archmage, for no apparent reason. (or, hm, maybe that Archmage is from Norway and so is PFK and GRG)