I was thinking about the issue behind Lil Wayne and his mysteriously leaked mixtapes the other night… He, of course, uses samples of songs without clearing them, raps over them, and they magically appear everywhere. Is this okay?
We’ve got die hard fans itching to say they have his latest mixtape, and even non-fans claiming his last mixtape was “dope”. But again, is this okay? I mean, he’s using other writers’ property to propel his fame; cool or uncool?
Well, it turns out he used an unlicensed sample on his last record – very uncool! But back to mixtapes…
I think the whole perform-a-cover-for-fame deal should be perfectly legal…I mean, are you really going to sue starving artists who have no money to begin w/ – I don’t think so…and if you do, you are ridiculous. Seriously, let other people w/ talent make it to the top; give them a chance at being discovered. Technically, you are stealing…but come on! Small time artists don’t have deep pockets….they’re just looking for a big break. Undiscovered artists using unlicensed material – cool!
How about when you’ve reach fame, like Lil Wayne? Now, I hate my business/legal perspective, but it is simply a matter of putting yourself in an original creator’s shoes. I think if you’re doing it and not making dough off of it, play the catch-me-if-you-can game. If you’re a popular artist and still using samples w/out paying – you know what’s in store…don’t play dumb. It is stealing…and you are doing it for your financial benefit. It’s keeping old fans hooked and new fans drawn in (if they even like the song to begin w/)…
I think there needs to be a line drawn when you have 40 mixtapes – all w/ copyrighted samples – and you’re using it to boost fame (when you are already popular…*cough, cough* Lil Wayne). In this case, it’s intentional, and you would be using somebody else’s idea (in other words, their limited duration monopoly) to reap benefits (regardless of whether or not you make cash, you are using others’ ideas to your benefit…key word is using….and you’re doing this without paying the original artists). Record-breaking, Benze-driving, Champagne-sipping artists using unlicensed material – not cool!
Granted, at concerts, fans go to see the artist perform…not to see them cover other songs. Their performances are what propel them, but you are, again, using one or more of another artist’s bundle of rights (right to perform publicly)…they have rights and deserve proper dues.
Blast me…I’ve gone from indie to corporate!