Coping with Copyright

After viewing both of the videos as well as the copyright basics slide show, it is apparent that we do live in a “remix culture.”

Music is rapidly changing. Beats, effects, singers and produces are using material that was popular in the 50’s and 60’s, or even the 20’s, and incorporating it into their current music and lyrics. Mixing music may not seem to be a criminal act to most people, though, the artists themselves are at risk of being unaccredited for their original work, and in some cases, forgotten as a whole.

On one end, I really enjoyed the reference to how DJ’s are taking parts of history and putting them into their current spins and music. I never really took the time to think about how similar music is. Whether it is Bluegrass or Hip Hop many of the same riffs and sounds are put into each genre’s music.

History is not just artifacts, books or paintings; rather it is the sounds that make up generations and movements. Similar to the Amen Break, a drumbeat that has carried so many popular tunes, such a simple melody has continually been prominent in many songs throughout the years.

Though, the question of copyright is one that is subjected to the artist.  Many producers featured in the video “Copyright Criminals” highlighted that the artists who take from other persons music should feel “cheap.”  I do think that the authenticity of music has drastically declined throughout the decades.

When I listen to my parent’s music, The Beatles, The Who, they feel such a connection to the artist. I will never forget when my mom told me she saw Madonna perform in New York City, before she was famous. She idolized her as well as many other artists of the 70’s and 80’s. Now a days, I do not even trust half of the “artists” I hear on the radio because of the technology that allows them to have talent.

Not every person in the industry will see this debate eye to eye. Some feel that these current artists are paying homage to previous legends such as James Brown. I do think that the original artist should be credited for their work. Though, with the rise of illegal music that is downloaded and remixed, tracking such things would be extremely difficult.

I do not see this trend slowing down, in fact I believe there will continue to be artists and producers who use old tracks as influences for their own music. Whether they are credible or legitimate is up to the audience, or the people who sue them.

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