The Grey Album
Matt Haughey, February 16th, 2004
A few months ago, hip-hop artist Jay Z released what is reportedly his last album, titled The Black Album. He also released a vocals-only version, specifically for DJs to incorporate into new mixes. One of those mixes was done by DJ Dangermouse, using only samples from The Beatles’ White Album. This new mix was dubbed The Grey Album and a limited pressing was made. After a mention in the New Yorker, copies quickly showed up online and spread like wildfire.
EMI, the rights holders to The Beatles’ recordings issued a cease and desist order to record stores and online merchants selling it last week, since the sampling was done without permission from either Jay Z or The Beatles. Executive Director of the Creative Commons, Glenn Otis Brown was quoted in a Wired News piece about the album and points out the problems of copyright being used to silence DJ Dangermouse and his popular mix.