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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Copyfight

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June 30, 2010

Dizzee Rascal and the Live Remix

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

If you're bored by my theme this year of trying to walk the border between remix culture and the copyright wars you can skip this entry, too.

There was a video (now sadly removed by a copyright violation notice from the BBC) that showed Dizzee Rascal joined by Florence of Florence and the Machine live on stage at the Glastonbury Festival that just concluded. Musicians join each other on stage all the time - nothing new here, just going to cover one of their songs with the other artist guesting in, right?

No, sorry. That's not remix culture. Instead what they did was perform a live version of "You Got The Dirty Love" - a remix. I hope that the fan video of the event stays available. It's terrible quality, but as it's from the audience point of view you can clearly tell a few things. For one thing, the audience goes absolutely bananas once they hear what's going on. For another, a large chunk of the audience are singing along, which means they've heard the remix. Certainly you can find enough copies of it posted on YouTube and elsewhere if you want to check.

Let's trace the loop here - two popular artists release tracks, separately. A remix artist takes those tracks and mashes them together. The mash is released and gets popular with fans. The original artists know about the mix and know its hooks, beats, and lyric exchanges well enough to be able to perform it live. The fans are ecstatic to see performers they love playing together and being knowledgeable enough, and hip enough to perform a mash-up for them.

That, ladies and gentlemen? That's remix culture, right there live on the big stage in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans. And you know what else? Fuck copyright. The remix is probably a copyright violation. Posting it all over the Web is probably violating more copyrights. The artists performing it are probably violating the remixer's copyrights, if he has any. It doesn't matter, though. The question is irrelevant.

Now, to be fair, this didn't happen by random chance and it's not just any artists who are doing this sort of thing. Dizzee in particular has been out on tour for several months with The Young Punx backing him up. The Punx have not only spun for Dizzee but they've done live mashes within his performances, playing backing instruments doing such songs as Nirvana's famous "Smells Like Teen Spirit" while Dizzee does his raps a capella over the backing band.

In this specific case the track "You Got The Dirty Love" was created by the Punx in cooperation with Dizee and Florence. You can read their blog entry at APC for the details - the track is available on iTunes with the proceeds going to charity.

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