Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Beastie Boys and copyright infringement? "Say What"?

In its coverage of the GoldiBlox-Beastie Boys dustup (see my two previous posts on the topic), the Hollywood Reporter made a point of noting that the Beastie Boys themselves have been on the other side of copyright disputes.

One of the reasons why the [GoldiBlox] video has captured the cultural imagination is its choice of music from the Beastie Boys, who it must be noted are still defending a copyright lawsuit alleging illegal sampling on the album Paul's Boutique.

The Hollywood Reporter then linked to its own September article on a recent lawsuit. While several claims of copyright infringement from TufAmerica (regarding songs by Trouble Funk) have been thrown out, two claims still remain to be litigated.

Just to illustrate how detailed copyright decisions can be, here's the Reporter's account of one of those samples.

There's a one-second sample of the Trouble Funk song, "Say What," that is used on the Beastie Boys' "Shadrach," and even though it's just a second, the judge notes, "This is not simply a phrase in the song, but rather the title phrase of the song." In other words, it's qualitatively significant.

Of course this still hasn't made it to an actual trial.
blog comments powered by Disqus