10 December 2006

More Illegal Music

Some very cool music is illegal. The stories of some of these songs are rage-inspiring:

Yes, the song the entire Western world sings at birthday parties is actually owned by a large corporation, and every time someone sings it in public without permission, it is an infringement of copyright. The song’s tune was published by schoolteachers Mildred and Patty Hill in 1893 as "Good Morning to All" in their book Song Stories for the Kindergarten. Children began singing it at birthday parties but with words they came up with themselves, which is how folk music typically develops. Nevertheless, the song–lyrics and all–is now owned by AOL Time Warner, the largest entertainment company on earth, and the corporation aggressively defends its property.

As you might imagine, hip-hop and rap have it especially hard:

The Piklz are a special sort of band composed of a rotating lineup of hip-hop DJs, including Q-bert, Mixmaster Mike, and Shortcut. These highly skilled turntablists scratch out songs together live, each using a record and a record player as an instrument, each contributing, in real time, a different part (like drums, bass line, or horn stabs) to the music. This track comes from a 12-inch record pressed and circulated in 1996 with no information (a "white label"). Hip-hop and dance records often appear in this limited, underground manner and then vanish forever, never to be officially released due to copyright issues.

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