It has come full circle when a rap star samples another rap star's sampling of another band all together.
Did you know that there is no way an album like the Beastie Boys - Paul's Boutique could ever come out today due to licensing issues?
I guess that someone could afford to do it, but they don't because it's too expensive, and it's a shame really that copyright laws put property rights above freedom of expression, a basic human right.
Disagree... in all fairness someone should not have the ability to profit off of someone else's intellectual property. I actually agree with the majority of the legal mumbo jumbo concerning artistic intellectual property rights.
Profiting off of "intellectual property" is a pretty new concept. Now it has it's uses. If someone makes duplicates of a current hit CD and sells them on the street they are clearly depriving someone of income that they worked for. You have to respect an artist's right to earn.
However, if someone samples something off of some old record and does so in an artistically valid way, that's different. For example, Puff Daddy used major portions of songs that were previously huge hits, in order to have his own hits, which, aside from the contributions of a few of his famous friends, had little to recommend them on their own.
His version of that Police song is wrong in several ways. It's horrible. He shouldn't have been allowed to do it at all, money or not, but it's not something that you could justify as art is the thing.
But the Dust Brothers were obviously referencing previous art in a way that would be totally acceptable if they were painters or something. Fair use does allow for art. The problem is that it's hard to justify a lot of popular music as being art. It's entertainment at best.
I'd say that Jay-Z's use of "Hello Brooklyn" is squarely and fairly in the tradition of the artform he works in, and that, while he might exploit the music a little bit, he has reason to reference it. He certainly didn't sit down and say "I need a hit. Let's use this old Beastie Boys number!"
What makes me mad is when people like Michael Jackson or U2 won't let their music be used by small time artists that wouldn't even make nay money on it. A band called The Marshmallow Conspiracy was sued by Michael Jackson and had all of their records recalled and destroyed.
Sure, an unknown band could be seen as trying to capitalize on Michael Jackson, but they weren't going to make any money anyway.
First I would not call it relatively new. Intellectual property rights is as old as and directly stemming from patent law dating back to 1790 in the United States and I believe dating back to the 1400's or 1500's in Europe. In the United States it was created as a means to promote the arts in letting inventors, artists, songwriters, playwrights and novelists create without fear of having their work seized upon and profited upon without their consent.
As far as allowing artists to sample or borrow from others. I can see why they would want their slice of the pie both financially and artistically. Look at Led Zeppelin. Plant and Page stole folk riffs to the point that they settled out of court on a number of them. There are some artists that simply do not even want compensation for usage of their material but simply do not want their material used by another party such as AC/DC. Still others, such as Sting, recognize that it is a business after all and that if his song is going to be reworked he wants to see some money out of it.
On a side note. Did you know that it is cheaper for an artist to completely cover a song on an album instead of sample it?
A patent is not the same as borrowing a few lines or a melody line for a song, though. I would look for the first time a songwriter sued another songwriter. Still, I'm sure that the first person that ever wrote a song said that the second person stole it.
I'm talking about the difference between using a piece of a person's music, like a bassline, and using the actual recording of that bassline. That's a relatively new concept.
It proves that Sting sort of sucks, too, because he talks about a lot of ideas, and selling a song that once had meaning for him, for money that he definitely doesn't need, doesn't sound like an artistic, intellectual, or spiritual decision, and he has claimed to be all three of those things.
In the same way that two musicians can communicate in real time while performing, a recorded piece of music can communicate through a change of context. We all know that this is an artistic truth.
The other side of the coin is the money. Yes the record business is in the business of selling music, but your statement, "If you are a musician you are in the business of music" is not true and I think you can see that.
It depends on your perspective. There was music before there was money. People communicated through rhythm and sound no doubt before there was real language. It's my opinion that language, religion, music and art all appeared in a very short period of time compared to the length of time we have been here, and I think that they are all connected. They all exist as ideals outside of the physical realm. So the money problem has to be looked at for what it is, which is a bunch of people that have always exploited the artists and the fans now controlling the very artform and stopping it's natural evolution.