Hey, Give That Back Or I’ll Sue!

After reading the article on Richard Prince’s appeals court decision the quote I chose was when it stated that the Supreme Court only defined fair use as needing to “alter the original with ‘new expression, meaning, or message.’” The question also came up in Andy Baio’s article when Stanford’s Fair use Center asked “Has the material you have taken from the original work been transformed by adding new expression or meaning?” I am in between agreeing and disagreeing with this quote because of what it might do for the original and remix artist. Let’s use music for example, I agree with this quote because it allows the new artist to use another artist’s old music to be able to fully express themselves. Let’s face it, no one could be good at everything. I know at times I know what sound I am going for but I just can’t do it myself then I hear another artist’s song and I find exactly what I am looking for. I wouldn’t consider myself to be a singer so if I can find and sample a great r&b artist for a new song, I would love that. This could also be good for the original artist because it keeps their music relevant. It should been seen as an honor that a new artist is so infatuated by your sound that they want to bring it back and use it in their new song. However I disagree with the “new meaning” part of the quote because if I was an artist I would be very upset if someone used my work to display something negative or something that I didn’t agree with.

I think the fair use laws are working, it’s just a matter of for whom they are working. Original artist seem to get all the perks, as they should the law was made to protect them and their work, but I feel that the consequences for the remixing artists are too much. Andy Baio had to pay Maisel a sum of $32,500 because he made a pixel art recreation of the original work. I think it is because of these new artists that a lot of old art is kept alive. With music, if it wasn’t for rap artist like Kanye West, Jay Z, Biggie, Biz Markie, French Montana, a lot of old school songs and “oldies” would be long forgotten. If I were in charge I would make it so that fair use and copyright laws first checked to see if both parties get something good from the sample, or remake. If it is of good service to both then it is okay, if the perks for one side seems more favorable than the other then we can take further look into the case.

An article I found that is related to this topic listed the 25 most notorious uncleared samples in rap history. In this article it talks about how and why these artists haven’t cleared their samples and how they got away with it.

Music Trivia:

Who can give me the name of the artist and song that used that used these samples?

This sample is from 0:53-1:03.


This sample can be found at 0:45, 0:47, 0:55, and 1:00.


CT101 Digital Storytelling