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Danger Mouse Releases Blank CD-R To Spite EMI 296

Posted by Soulskill
from the vengeful-rodents dept.
An anonymous reader writes "DJ Danger Mouse famously fought with EMI over his Beatles/Jay-Z mashup, 'The Grey Album,' and now seems to be battling with the label again. Rather than release his latest album and face legal issues with EMI, Techdirt is reporting that Danger Mouse will be selling a blank CD-R along with lots of artwork, and buyers will be responsible for finding the music themselves (yes, it's findable on the internet) and burning the CD."
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Danger Mouse Releases Blank CD-R To Spite EMI

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  • by mc1138 (718275) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @07:19AM (#27978035) Homepage
    But doesn't this seem like the height of laziness?
    • by AC-x (735297) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @07:28AM (#27978083)

      Looks more like an extremely clever political statement to me. Surely the hight of laziness would be to do nothing at all, rather than sticking it to the man??

    • by EdIII (1114411) * on Saturday May 16, 2009 @08:03AM (#27978255)

      But doesn't this seem like the height of laziness?

      Actually, it's the height of fucking brilliance. Super Genius even.

      Think about it.

      1) He gets the money. He is only selling a blank CD-R which is 100% legal. Fry's electronics does the same thing. There is artwork provided, which are original works (AFAIK).
      2) He is *actually* delivering a license to the customer, in a very indirect fashion :)

      What he is basically saying, is that you paid me for this. So IF I did have a copyright to the work, that you may or may not find on the Internet someplace, you would be granted (by Danger Mouse) the right to use it. Or, in other words, I would not pursue you for copyright infringement in the event I ever actually get a copyright for the works you find, that may or may not be created by me.

      Nobody really knows.

      It's not laziness at all :)

      He is selling you an item that may exist in the future, with no guarantees that it will even exist at all.

      It's totally cool, well thought out (we will have to see what legal attacks are brought against this), and I entirely support it.

      If you thought it was lazy because he was not getting into a legal battle with EMI over this, look at it another way: He just thought outside of the box and accomplished everything he wanted in way that he can't be immediately stopped from doing.

      It will be one impressive fucking scum bag lawyer that can argue that sale constitutes copyright infringement. David Copperfield lawyerin' in the courtroom.

      This was the most entertaining Slashdot article in months!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Or, in other words, I would not pursue you for copyright infringement in the event I ever actually get a copyright for the works you find, that may or may not be created by me.

        I'm not that familiar with the US legal system, but can't anyone sue for copyright infringement?

        • Or, in other words, I would not pursue you for copyright infringement in the event I ever actually get a copyright for the works you find, that may or may not be created by me.

          I'm not that familiar with the US legal system, but can't anyone sue for copyright infringement?

          Only if they own the copyright. IANAL.

        • by cduffy (652)

          Anyone can sue for anything, but if you don't want it to get thrown out immediately, you have to have standing -- so the copyright owner, or someone to whom they've delegated their rights.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Opportunist (166417)

          Dunno about you, but there are two kinds of offenses here: Official and personal.

          If you know someone breaks a law punishable by official code (murder, rape, anything with a "public interest"), you not only can but have to report it. The attorney general will in this case take control of the case and press charges regardless of your interest, because it is in public interest that those things get prosecuted.

          In a personal case (usually minor "crimes" like trespassing, slander, where it is maybe in your intere

      • You are right, except for the fact, that it already is available for download.
        Here you can listen to it: http://www.npr.org/templates/player/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=104129585&m=104105184 [npr.org]

        • by EdIII (1114411) * on Saturday May 16, 2009 @08:58AM (#27978601)

          Well I did say, "maybe or maybe not" quite a few times. That was the point. The whole thing is "implied", and that implication is quite vague at best.

          The strength of his tactic is that the sale of the blank CD and artwork is never directly linked with the allegedly unauthorized derivative work.

          You can have all the implications that you want, a judge is still going to want to see an act of distribution associated with that sale. At best, EMI can claim he created the work and allowed it to be distributed, but that is actually quite different from selling it.

          Since there is no act of distribution with monetary gain, it would have to be pursued by EMI differently. Of course judges and juries can be fickle, but it would by no means, be as a strong of a case had the CD not been blank and contained the actual music.

        • by multisync (218450) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @10:28AM (#27979273) Journal

          I'm listening to it now.

          I'll buy this CD, and I hope others do as well. It sends a good message to the public that the **aa-types are wrong when they content people won't pay for music if you give it to them on their terms. Same with In Rainbows. I'm also really interested in the David Lynch artwork.

          The irony is I rip CDs to my media server as soon as I buy them and put them away for safe keeping, so burning the album to a blank will be a purely symbolic - and ass-backwards - gesture on my part.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rpillala (583965)

        In addition, there is a cost associated with putting the music on the CD, which Mr. Mouse is refusing to incur because he knows that pirates aren't going to help him recoup that cost anyway. So his solution is to not put that money out at what is bound to be an unacceptable rate of return. That makes sense to me.

      • by arth1 (260657) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @02:22PM (#27980827) Homepage Journal

        Actually, it's the height of fucking brilliance. Super Genius even.

        If there is brilliance here, it belongs to who Danger Mouse (true to form, I'll give you that) copied from, namely Green Day [eil.com].

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Crumbs DM!
  • +1 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jeffhenson (801813) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @07:26AM (#27978073)

    +1 Insightful to Danger mouse for finding a way to stick it to EMI.

  • by turing_m (1030530) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @07:31AM (#27978095)

    It had to be said.

  • by downix (84795) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @07:32AM (#27978099) Homepage

    One to burn, one to keep on a shelf to then sell to some eccentric collector in 50 years. Retirement, here I come!

  • Handbag Music (Score:3, Insightful)

    by turgid (580780) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @07:36AM (#27978115) Journal

    I hate techno handbag disco music like this, but you've got to give credit where credit's due. This is an excellent idea to highlight these very topical issues. Well done young man.

    I might even go out and buy the box of artwork and blank CD-R specifically to support this protest.

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      I agree... I've heard the name once before, and have no idea what the music sounds like, but I'm very tempted to buy this.

      • Danger Mouse worked with Beck on Modern Guilt. That might ring a bell.
      • by jgrahn (181062)

        I agree... I've heard the name once before, and have no idea what the music sounds like,

        He's in the duo Gnarls Barkley, who got insane amounts of airplay with "Crazy" a few years ago. You have probably heard their songs.

    • by SkunkPussy (85271)

      techno handbag music?

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        techno handbag music?

        "handbag" - "put your hand on your bags ..." you get the idea. Music that some jerk-off made.

        Though "techno handbag" seems kind of redundant ...

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday May 16, 2009 @08:11AM (#27978303) Homepage Journal

          Many Slashdotters clearly know as much about music as they do about the opposite sex.

          But I suppose that for you, everybody is the "opposite" sex.

        • by dzfoo (772245)

          wtf? I must be really dense, for I still do not get the "handbag" reference.

                    -dZ.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by turgid (580780)

            "Handbag music" is what Essex girls in white high-heels, with false fingernails and hair extensions dance around their handbags to in Club Zeus in Chelmsford on Friday and Saturday nights.

            • That seems like an awfully small target audience. Purveyors of this handbag music must be really dedicated to their genre.

          • Here in the UK we call a purse a "handbag" and a wallet a "purse" if owned by a lady vs. a man when it is still called a "wallet."

            So think of it as "purse music."

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mr_da3m0n (887821)

      I had no idea what the music sounded like, so I obtained the album for sampling purposes.

      I'm not quite sure how that can sound like anything remotely close to "techno handbag disco". I hear no techno, no disco, and even worse, no handbag.

      LTTFA?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by turgid (580780)

        When you're as old, grumpy and intransigent as me, I assure you, if it ain't Voivod, Megadeth or Slayer, it's techno handbag disco music by definition.

        FWIW, I'm still coding in C using vi. No new-fangled IDEs or emacs here!!! And don't get me started on debuggers...

      • I rarely find /. funny-mods funny and have them scored down in prefs, but THAT'S (insightfully) funny! I wish I had modpoints!

      • by ZosX (517789)

        Listening to it right now. It took a whole 1 minute and 30 seconds to arrive on my hard drive. I don't know where I'd categorize this. Nu-Soul? Glitch Soul? Oh wow. I'm halfway through now and it starts getting all rocking with Iggy Pop doing a number with what sounds like Bauhaus or the Cure backing him. It is certainly interesting. I gotta give props to Danger Mouse. He took a crappy Jay Z album and made it into one of the most interesting mash ups that I've ever heard that really worked for the most part

      • by Thing 1 (178996) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @10:12AM (#27979175) Journal

        I hear no techno, no disco, and even worse, no handbag.

        Just as bad: no wife, no horse, no mustache.

    • by Frogg (27033)

      "techno handbag music"???

      lmfao - it's a Sparklehorse album! it's psych-folk-rock or something...

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparklehorse [wikipedia.org]

      it's /produced/ by Danger Mouse - who's also produced the Gorrilaz and Beck - and Danger Mouse himself is a hip-hop artist when he's not producing other kinds of music.

      geez - where' my cluestick when i need it!

  • by Mathinker (909784) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @07:40AM (#27978143) Journal

    Frankly, I think that the idea is rather ingenious. I already sense a horde of lawyers sniffing the judicial currents, wondering if this could be prosecuted as encouraging copyright infringement. That should be an interesting case.

    Offhand, I'd guess it hinges on whatever public statements have been made by Danger Mouse on this topic.

    Another legal issue I'd be interested to come to court would be if the mashup as provided on the net didn't actually include any material under copyright, i.e., it was just a bunch of editing instructions which could be used by a computer program to which the user provides The White Album as input. It might be hard to prove that that is still clearly a derivative work of The White Album if the program would produce output (even gibberish output) given other music as inputs.

    • by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd o t .org> on Saturday May 16, 2009 @08:17AM (#27978319)

      Well, I would make a double-sided CD/DVD. The real pressed long-lasting DVD side is a LiveDVD that boots an OS, downloads the tracks via torrent, and mixes them with a script, in the DJ's style, with a bit of individuality for every buyer. Then it burns the tracks on the CD side. (After asking you to turn it around.)

      Meanwhile, the minimalistic, but cool looking OS shows a video of the guy mixing the stuff in his studio, with completion percentage. And while burning, it plays the tracks, with a video of him DJing. The images would fit the sound. And the downloads would be fast and lossless. (So you do not have to run that thing forever, but have a nice show meanwhile.)

      Now THAT would be an ingenious concept. :)

      • And the downloads would be fast and lossless.

        *calls reality police*

        • Fast: Well, Danger Mouse obviously would host it somewhere. Obviously he would offer it lossless. And the listeners would have a higher rate of people who do not share anything else. With that OS thing even all of them would share as much bandwidth as they could.

          For fast downloads (and I mean "saturating your pipe" fast): http://btjunkie.org/ [btjunkie.org] (look at the most popular ones)
          And for the lossless thing: http://btjunkie.org/search?q=lossless [btjunkie.org]

          Noob. ^^

    • by zotz (3951)

      "The White Album as input. It might be hard to prove that that is still clearly a derivative work of The White Album if the program would produce output (even gibberish output) given other music as inputs."

      Hmmmm, make it a contest, release an edl for a Free software program. Don't say what source the edl is for. Let people find the source that best applies.

      all the best,

      drew

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @07:42AM (#27978151) Homepage
    The big question is, will music stores be allowed to sell it. Will retailers who sell this be blacklisted by the distribution chain? EMI and the RIAA have a lot of influence in how their music is distributed. How long until retails get jacked up prices from their distributor for other music for selling this?
    • Would retailers want to carry it anyway? It sounds like a returns nightmare when people realise after the fact that all they have is an expensive CDR and some artwork.

      • by wjh31 (1372867)
        expensive artwork and a CDR
      • He trusts is his clients not being total retards. And maybe he does not want to have retard fans too. So of course it will not be available at Walmart. ^^

    • by EdIII (1114411) *

      EMI and the RIAA have a lot of influence in how their music is distributed.

      Yeah..... not so much. The lead left that pencil some time ago.

      The labels are having a hard time even convincing the big retail chains to keep floor space for them. It won't be too long before sales of iTunes, Amazon, Zune, etc. gift cards are greater than the CD sales themselves.

      Search the financial news articles. Plenty of articles about how retailers are either shrinking or outright eliminating floorspace for music CDs. How m

      • by residieu (577863)
        And you've got bands giving Wal-mart exclusive rights to sell their album. Once you have to do that, who has the power, the label or Wal-mart?
    • Works the other way around, actually. They very much want shelf space at big retailers. See none of the big retailers make a significant percentage of their profits on music. For the most part, they don't make a significant percentage of their profits on any one specific category of item. People shop for all kinds of things there, so they make their money spread out over a lot of different items. So losing any single item isn't going to hit them that hard.

      Wal-mart in particular is notorious for dictating te

    • The big question is, will music stores be allowed to sell it. Will retailers who sell this be blacklisted by the distribution chain?

      The distribution chain could try to blacklist stores, but this would probably run foul of certain laws if they were caught out doing it. Anti-competition laws is one that could come into play.

      IANAL, so this is just my 5c.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 16, 2009 @07:47AM (#27978173)

    It's a 100+ page BOOK of David Lynch photography.

  • here's the plan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chewbacon (797801) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @07:54AM (#27978205)
    I think he maybe planning to "leak" that music he's talking about. Fans will be able to download and add the music to it. Make sense to me.
  • Links (Score:5, Informative)

    by definate (876684) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @07:56AM (#27978215)

    Here's a direct link to listen to the music:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104129585 [npr.org]

    Or to download it use this torrent:
    http://www.demonoid.com/files/details/1922583/2325666/ [demonoid.com]

  • by Gary Perkins (1518751) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @08:30AM (#27978395) Journal
    I actually had been thinking for a while this would be a good idea. The torrents aren't going to just go away, and the lawyers are spending a great amount of money that could be saved as profits. I'd been thinking that if the artists simply created the boxsets, artwork, and maybe included videos, they would probably come out ahead.
  • by eZtaR (764650) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @08:31AM (#27978403)
    Didn't Greenday already do this [afterdawn.com] like five years ago?
  • Hype. Awesome. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DavidChristopher (633902) * on Saturday May 16, 2009 @08:36AM (#27978439)

    Damn, I wish I thought of that.

    I'm quite surprised that nobody here can see through this 'protest' to it's true nature, that it's an excellent marketing gimmic. Danger Mouse has shown already that he's very good at marketing. Want great press? Fight a record label. (Even early in his career, he would wear a mouse costume - because he was to shy/stagefrightened to show his face - and then took the name dangermouse. Great hook right there. ) He's most definitely talented - having collaborated and produced some very cool artists (Gnarles Barkley, Gorilliaz) as well, each well marketed in it's own right - but this marketing ploy... I'm beside myself at it's simplicity and beauty.

    Give out blank CDs. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. He's already getting amazing free press over this, and there's more coming for certain. I was reading through the replys to just this article here on slashdot, and found more than a couple of readers vowing to by multiple copies of the release just to show support. Multiple copies. Of A Blank Disk.

    I envy him.

    • by Graftweed (742763)

      Give out blank CDs. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. He's already getting amazing free press over this, and there's more coming for certain. I was reading through the replys to just this article here on slashdot, and found more than a couple of readers vowing to by multiple copies of the release just to show support. Multiple copies. Of A Blank Disk.

      You're making it sound like a scam, but the way I see it he's selling a 100 page book of David Lynch photography, which for fans of Mr. Lynch like myself is pretty damn cool. The fact that it comes with a blank CD-R is just a neat little afterthought.

      Not being a big Danger Mouse fan, I downloaded the tracks nonetheless and I have to say they're pretty decent. They would have stood by themselves without marketing ploys or legal entanglements.

  • The mouse is gonna get nailed for violating John Cage's copyright on 4'33" [bbc.co.uk]

  • I wonder how Mr Mouse would react if a record company decided to publish his copyrighted material without his permission?

    Mash-ups are a great new form of creativity, but creativity doesn't give you free reign to publish other people's material without permission from the copyright holder.

    • by IronMagnus (777535) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @09:18AM (#27978769)
      If they used his work as a component in yet another derivative work? I'm sure he'd be just fine with it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      I wonder how Mr Mouse would react if a record company decided to publish his copyrighted material without his permission?

      This is a derivative work based on someone else's copyrighted material. He's not just redistributing someone else's album. (-1, Disingenuous)

      Mash-ups are a great new form of creativity, but creativity doesn't give you free reign to publish other people's material without permission from the copyright holder.

      1) It's free rein. Like a horse. Don't use sayings and phrases you don't understand. Just don't. When you make assumptions it makes an ass out of you, and umption.

      2) If you had one tenth of the creativity of Danger Mouse you might be qualified to speak. You can barely tell where the music on the Grey Album comes from; I haven't heard this new one (yet) but if it's anyt

    • by Frogg (27033)

      it's not even a mashup album - it's a Sparklehorse album and afaik he's just the producer! (fwiw, he's also produced Gorillaz and Beck)

      to be fair it would be good if the summary mentioned this - but hey, it is slashdot after all

      i'm not really sure where the legal dispute lies, maybe there's some sneaky samples in it which he hasn't cleared? - but i've not heard any samples in it yet, and i am listening to it right now as i type this - it just sounds like Sparklehorse through and through.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Creativity gives you just that, aslong as your not hurting sales of the other material ( nobody is going to buy the Grey album instead of the white album), then it should be fair use (and AFAIK is)!

  • by 1729 (581437) <slashdot1729@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Saturday May 16, 2009 @11:58AM (#27979895)

    When the Dead Kennedys released "In God We Trust, Inc." on cassette tape (remember those?), they left the B side blank, with the following note: "Home taping is killing big time entertainment industry profits. Therefore side two of this tape has been left blank for your convenience."

  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Saturday May 16, 2009 @06:53PM (#27982819)
    by John Cage's estate. They've already successfully sued a guy for releasing 1 minute of silence. (He settled for $100K)

    In case anyone thinks this is a joke http://archives.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/Music/09/23/uk.silence/ [cnn.com]
    He's better keep that blank CDR to himself.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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