Re: Everybody likes cover albums

1

There is an album of Zepplin covers called The Song Retains the Name.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 3:37 PM
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2

I have been enjoying this free album of punk bands doing acoustic covers that's now seven songs longer than it was when I downloaded it seven weeks ago.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 3:42 PM
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3

Cowboy Junkies version of Sweet Jane still counts as a cover, right? What about Reggie Watts's version of Panama? Later versions of 'Anything Goes' without all the 1930s gossip?


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 4:03 PM
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4

Standards are another thing entirely, aren't they? Does anyone think of Diana Krall as covering people when she does a standard?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 4:06 PM
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5

I guess that's right, but it's weird, isn't it? The Beatles version of 'Roll over Beethoven' is a cover, but their version of 'Till There Was You' isn't?


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 4:12 PM
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6

The Star Spangled Banner: not a cover of 'To Anacreon in Heaven'


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 4:15 PM
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7

I've always thought covers with new lyrics should be a much bigger thing than they seem to be -- but this may be because I'm fond of so many songs with unsingably awful lyrics and often wished to redeem them. Any recs beyond Weird Al? Also, I'm completely ignorant of this millennium's popular music, excepting some Liars & Mountain Goats albums (for whatever reason).


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 4:24 PM
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8

Aren't covers with new lyrics generally considered parodies? That's certainly how Weird Al is usually classified. I suppose if someone did them earnestly without trying to make fun of the original they would be something different, but does anyone actually do that?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 4:29 PM
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9

Francis Scott Key's brother-in-law


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 4:33 PM
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10

"My Country, 'Tis of Thee" is a cover of a "God Save the Queen".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 4:34 PM
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11

4:No, they aren't another thing entirely. Jazz performers cover songs, not people. I don't know what covering people means.

(Having just listened to Coltrane "My Favorite Things")

Jazz performers have always gotten extra, or different credit for original compositions.

Haven't clicked on the link, but are these versions as radically changed from the originals as a hard-bop inprov on a harmony?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 4:38 PM
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12

Elvis's 'It's Now or Never' uses O Sole Mio.


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 4:38 PM
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13

I suppose if someone did them earnestly without trying to make fun of the original they would be something different, but does anyone actually do that?

Tupac covered/sampled Bruce Hornsby, and changed the chorus from "Some things will never change" to "Things will never be the same". I always thought that was amusing. "I'll keep the tune, the gist, the rhyme, only the opposite meaning."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 4:43 PM
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14

Very cool cover (Peter Gabriel's moody cover of "The Boy In The Bubble." The video has good sound quality, which is nice.)

Part of what I find interesting about cover's is how they change depending on who familiar you are with the original. For example, I heard the Cowboy Junkies cover of "Sweet Jane" before the original and so it doesn't make me think of the Lou Reed. But for some covers, like that one, I feel like as I'm listening to them I'm simultaneously hearing the original and the two versions are in dialogue with each other.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 5:05 PM
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15

The distance between Julie Andrews and John Coltrane doing "My Favorite Things" is pretty amazing.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 5:16 PM
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16

Short segment about the song linked in 14.1, discussing the choices that went into that cover version.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 5:20 PM
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17

I'm fond of John Entwistle's cover of "Not Fade Away" and I'm not quite sure why. It's so different from the original and still feels sincere in some way -- not that the lyrics are sincere, but that his pleasure and appreciation for the song are. It goes on a little long, but I like the extended instrumental section.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 5:30 PM
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18

No one seems to be remarking on the coolness of many of these Radiohead covers.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 5:38 PM
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19

Jefferson Airplane's "Triad", though written by Crosby when he was a member of the Byrds and first recorded by them, is arguably not a cover, since they didn't release it for 20 years.

I feel like this situation was relatively common in the 50s and 60s, because there were more instances of a division of labor between songwriter and first performer/recorder. A lot of '64-to-66 era folk rock is just electrified anonymous folk ballads, for instance.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 5:48 PM
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20

"Not Fade Away" also brings to mind the weird category of all the melodically and rhythmically similar songs that used the the Bo Diddley beat.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 5:57 PM
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21

Yeah, I dunno. I mean, certainly, back in the Tin Pan Alley days, nobody talked about X covering Y, just because Y happened to record the song first, even when Y's version had been a big hit.

And how do remixes fit into this? I was just listening to the remixed versions of the Michael Brooks/Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan tracks, which bear little resemblance to traditional qawali music, but would be impossible without it.

If you haven't heard that album yet, you should, as it is awesome:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Rise


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 6:00 PM
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22

19: A lot of '64-to-66 era folk rock is just electrified anonymous folk ballads, for instance.

Speaking of which. am quite enjoying much* of Neil Young's latest with Crazy Horse(Americana), a re-working of American classics, generally with different arrangements (for instance, "Clementine" here). Am hoping to see him when they comes to Pitt in October. The cover of "O! Susanna" has an interesting story behind it, apparently it was a Tim Rose arrangement and performed his group the Big 3s in the early '60s (with Cass Elliot later of Mamas and Papas); you can hear their version** at the link. To Stanley's 10, they did a version of "God Save the Queen" that morphs into "let freedom ring " at the end (my least favorite of the ones I've heard, however).

*Songs go on too long, however. Like comments sometimes do.

**And as noted on that blog post, Shocking Blue's "Venus" has a very similar beat and sound.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 6:33 PM
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23

. . . more instances of a division of labor between songwriter and first performer/recorder

Also the role of A & R in matching performers to material.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 6:41 PM
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24

David Remnick was talking about his new article on Bruce Springstein on Charlie Rose, and he described the Stones as their own cover band in the sense that Springstein has evolved and changed as an artist but the Stoens are just playing the same old great songs from another era instead of doing something new.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 6:49 PM
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25

||

Good Lord, the guy from Oasis sounds horrible in this Olympics Closing Ceremony.

|>


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 6:55 PM
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26

Holy lack of shit, did NBC just bleep Eric Idle on "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life"? An inspired bit of oddness I must say, but Americans apparently can't hear "shit" even if they have a bowlful.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 7:10 PM
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27

24: Not untrue, but also not enough to get me to listen to any Springsteen after Born in the U.S.A. Really it's Asbury Park, Born To Run, and Nebraska for me, with Born in the U.S.A. to be mined for karaoke. Their politics together are great, but I kind of feel Jon Landau broke the Boss.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 7:29 PM
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28

Realize now that 27 is wildly off topic.

15: My favorite things is playing again and again
But it's by Julie Andrews and not by John Coltrane

--Elvis Costello, "This is Hell"


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 7:32 PM
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29

The lyric quoted in 28 must be very difficult to pull off without it coming off as trying way too hard.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 7:36 PM
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30

Elvis Costello has a fabulous cover of the Grateful Dead's "Ship of Fools."


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 7:45 PM
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31

The Neil Young covers in 22 are pretty nice. Nils Lofgren's covers of NY's songs are prety good as well-- same style, not in the radical reimaginings in this thread.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 7:47 PM
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32

29: EC is fond of lyrics that are impossible to pull off -- like puns that only work if you see the words written out. ("I can't stand it when you go from reel to reel -- too real, too real.")


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 7:50 PM
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33

29: You be the judge.

Covered here.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:00 PM
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34

I suppose if someone did them earnestly without trying to make fun of the original they would be something different, but does anyone actually do that?

It used to be fairly common for Greek pop artists to record versions of songs with lyrics that were almost, but not entirely, unrelated to the original. One that leaps to mind (because it was on the radio constantly back in '89ish) was a "cover" of Eddy Grant's "Give Me Hope, Johanna"--except the Greek version was a love song, with the refrain "Σ'αγαπώ, Τζοάννα" ("I love you, Joanna"). Strange.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:01 PM
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35

Topically, any suggestions for good sing-a-long songs? Best success so far probably "Rainbow Connection". NP: "Stewball", but not everybody knows it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:02 PM
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36

The mash-up of Summertime and Sixteen Going On Seventeen was definitely bad.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:04 PM
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37

I guess people do claim that the Fall covered Slapp Happy's "War".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:04 PM
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38

29: You be the judge.

I'm not sold, but honestly, part of it is just the content of the line—I don't know if any delivery could save it.

Let me take that back: the line would work fine in a song like "I'm Hip".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:07 PM
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39

I used to quote "I'm Hip" in my okcupid profile ("On a Saturday night, with my suit buttoned tight and my suedes on / I'm getting my kicks watching arty French flicks with my shades on".)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:10 PM
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40

35 Per the Olympic closing, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". Early Beatles. Sweet Caroline. Or are you with cool people? "Oklahoma!" "Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious", "Put Down the Ducky", Pokemon theme song, TV sitcom/cartoon theme songs.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:14 PM
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41

And apparently "Call Me Maybe" if someone is willing to play the part to get people engaged.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:21 PM
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42

Or are you with cool people? "Oklahoma!"

We already sang 'O What a Beautiful Mornin' and 'The Surrey with the Fringe on Top." Does this = cool or uncool?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:25 PM
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43

"Sloop John B" started strong but man that shit gets complicated.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:25 PM
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44

Not sure. Certainly cool with me. Many show tunes would probably work well. from South Pacific for instance.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:28 PM
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45

"Al Bowlly's In Heaven".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:32 PM
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46

"Try A Little Priest"?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 8:33 PM
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47

At hootenannies, I find that Paul Simon, with and without Garfunkel, gets everybody going. Favorites: "Cecilia," "I Know What I Know," "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard." Other faves: "King of the Road," "Ring of Fire."

The four chords trick is also fun -- we like to do "With or Without You" over "I Think We're Alone Now", then add in the chorus of "Bitch". But there are many more combinations.

A friend's songbook has all these and more. 16MB pdf.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-12-12 10:05 PM
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48

re: 45

Heh. I've been to have a look at his (Al Bowlly's) (mass) grave, as it's within walking distance of our flat. I knew _of_ the Thompson song, but hadn't heard it until just now.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 12:03 AM
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49

I'm part of an internet group that meets annually to gig various covers and/or mashups. Mostly guitar players well past the first flush of youth but we always have enough other instrumentalists to get together a full band. Part of the running tradition of the event is that there are no rehearsals in advance, and the covers are often chosen for their apparent impossibility unrehearsed [hence lots of mad proggy stuff and metal, but also bits of jazz and other stuff]. So lots of car-crashes, but also some brilliant moments.

The ones that always get people singing are the pure cheese 80s numbers [big hair rock, etc] but that may be a function of the demographic make-up of the members.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 12:19 AM
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50

One Love or Three Little Birds?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 2:51 AM
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51

46: Shepherd's pie peppered/with actual shepherd...

I just woke up and saw it was nearly sunset and thought "I'll watch a sunset! People like sunsets!" It just looks like things getting lighter. Maybe I'm facing the wrong direction. I shall resume now the philosophy of Ms. Bankhead, who is reputed to have drawled "do you mean to tell me there are TWO nine o'clocks in the day?!"


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 2:53 AM
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52

S/b sunrise obvs. Not very awake.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 2:55 AM
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53

I was at this show. But now back to bed.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 3:03 AM
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54

(Moon just came up. Folks to the left of me have something to look forward to.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 3:04 AM
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55

8: Gangsta's Paradise?


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 7:32 AM
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56

34: Laura Branigan's "Gloria" is a similar reworking of an Italian pop song.

Amusingly enough, the only song my cohort ever wants to sing a long to is "Solidarity Forever".


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 7:49 AM
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57

Old Crow's "Wagon Wheel" is a great sing-along.

it's also a bit of a cover / remake of a Dylan song.


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 9:18 AM
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58

The "cover song" vs. "standards" distinction is entirely a distinction between the age when sheet music and composition was the underlying form of popular music (i.e., the expectation was that there was a "song" which different artists would cover either live or recorded) and when a recording of a song on an album by a singer/songwriter became dominant. The change came fairly late, roughly with the Beatles.

For legal purposes, the world is still mostly in the world of standards -- it is the publisher, the owner of the composition, not the record company, generally the owner of the recording, that controls the right to permit covers.

Recording a cover is governed by a mechanical license -- that is, by statute, so long as you pay a fee to the publisher to license the song, you can license it, regardless of whether the publisher wants or doesn't want to give you permission to do so. However, to qualify for a mechanical license the cover can't be a derivative work -- you can't change it too substantially. That's why you rarely see covers that very substantially change originals -- to record those, you need the express permission of the publisher and have to cut a deal independently, as opposed to just obtaining the mechanical license.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 10:17 AM
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59

49.last and 57 are both supported in my hootenannies experience. "livin on a prayer" is in the book.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 10:51 AM
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60

What would be "changed substantially"? Like, leaving the chorus out and just doing the verses? Changing the melody? Or does that mainly refer to changing the words?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 11:37 AM
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61

In playing Rock Band, or one of those, I found "Livin on a Prayer" surprisingly hard to sing. Fun to belt out, in parts, but more range than expected.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 08-13-12 11:39 AM
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62

Recording a cover is governed by a mechanical license -- that is, by statute, so long as you pay a fee to the publisher to license the song, you can license it, regardless of whether the publisher wants or doesn't want to give you permission to do so. However, to qualify for a mechanical license the cover can't be a derivative work -- you can't change it too substantially

Huh, I didn't realise that (the derivative work bit). I'd echo the question in 60. And I presume for this purpose the words are the main thing, as there are plenty of covers that bear no musical similarity at all to the originals (Cat Power's Satisfaction, say).

Also, what's the legal justification - it seems slightly perverse that you need permission for a more creatively distinct derivative work but not for a more direct "copy". And why does it only apply to songs? I presume I can't "cover" The Big Lebowski as a stage play, or as a film with different actors, without permission.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 08-14-12 7:12 AM
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63

Related: Beastie Boy MCA left instructions in his will that his work was not to be used in commercial endorsements, but that instruction may run afoul of IP law.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-14-12 7:51 PM
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64

49 sounds awesome, ttaM.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-14-12 8:10 PM
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65

More related: Silversun Pickups ask Romeny to stop using "Panic Switch".


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 08-15-12 6:53 PM
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66

it seems slightly perverse that you need permission for a more creatively distinct derivative work but not for a more direct "copy". And why does it only apply to songs?

The answer is the same: both are relics from the days in which sheet music was the dominant form of commercial music. In the days when you had sheet music, pianos in the home, and orchestras doing covers, performance of other people's musical work was deemed to be so integral to musical performance that a balance was struck: the owners of the song had the right to get paid, but performers had the right to perform it without permission. If, on the other hand, the performer creates a new song (that borrows so substantially from the original as to be a derivative work), that's outside of the bargain; the new and modified song is not something that the author gave to the world.

None of this really makes much sense in the era of recorded music, though this has been the law for a while and has worked decently well and there are costs in changing it.

With that said, the mechanical license -- that is, an absolute right to perform a work without permission, subject to the rights holder's ability to collect statutory compensation -- is a really promising tool for meaningful copyright reform and we should think about applying mechanical license rules in other areas. For example, a mechanical license for sampling would immediately solve the copyright issue in electronic music; anyone could borrow samples, subject to an obligation to compensate the original rights holder. I'd also consider a mechanical license for use of footage in documentary film, although you'd have endless litigation about what did or did not constitute a documentary.

Beastie Boy MCA left instructions in his will that his work was not to be used in commercial endorsements, but that instruction may run afoul of IP law.

That's kind of a dumb article.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-15-12 7:28 PM
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