Help Us Find Dave Allen, of the Gang of Four
Glenn Otis Brown, July 28th, 2003
A helpful reader spotted this great letter-to-the-editor in the Portland Mercury. It’s from a member of the influential punk & new wave band of the late 70s and early 80s, Gang of Four, but it could’ve been written by us.
Copyright is the issue! Our archaic copyright laws allow artists, musicians, and other creators to hang on to their rights for far too long before they enter the public domain. Today’s technology allows for any creator with a computer to manipulate any sound file available.
Mashing is one example, wherein a musician with a computer takes a song, pulls out the vocal melody, and literally mashes it onto another song. One great example is Madonna’s “Holiday” mashed with a Sex Pistols song. Technically it’s illegal but it’s also good fun and more interesting than a lot of schlock out there.
Today’s talented artists will always run afoul of current copyright laws because it’s an eternity before anything drops back into the public domain. So I say all you computer whiz musicians should go forth and grab a Gang of Four track and mash it onto a Christina Aguilera song just for the hell of it. I’d be pleased because it’s an inventive use of my copyrighted work. It’s the gatekeepers that are stifling creativity and innovation online.