DJ/Producer Danger Mouse's The Grey Album fused the vocals and beats from Jay-Z's "Black Album" with music sampled entirely from the Beatles' "White Album." Not surprisingly, EMI served Danger Mouse with a cease-and-desist order yesterday, along with ordering stores and websites to stop selling the album.
As a big fan of borrowed/remix culture, that makes me sad. So I posted high-quality MP3s of the entire album below.
I probably won't be able to host this very long, so please help out by mirroring the files as soon as possible. When you're done, send me an e-mail or post the mirrored URL in the comments. Enjoy, and thank you!
February 13, 2004: I was cc'd on an e-mail from EMI's lawyers to my ISP, stating that I'm in violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. As such, I have removed all of the MP3s from my web server. The text of the EMI letter is below.
February 19, 2004: Downhill Battle is organizing Grey Tuesday, a day of coordinated civil disobedience in protest of EMI's attempt to squash this album. Even if you don't like this particular remix, or even hip-hop in general, remember what the album represents: the universe of creative works stifled by the United States' archaic copyright laws and the corporations that lobbied for them.
February 23, 2004: The law firm of Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman (representing Capitol Records) has started e-mailing cease-and-desist notices to the websites that are participating in the Grey Tuesday protest tomorrow, whether they're hosting the album or simply changing the colors of their homepage. The cease-and-desist demands that website owners "cease any plans or efforts to distribute or publicly perform this unlawful recording," "identify the names and addresses of any third parties who have supplied you with physical or digital copies of The Grey Album," and "provide Capitol with an accounting of all units of The Grey Album that have been distributed via your website."
The most disturbing part of the letter, sent to people who merely stated their intent to participate is this: "In addition, to the extent that you have already commenced distribution of The Grey Album, you must make payment to Capitol in an amount to be discussed. We demand that you contact us immediately."
Does this sort of preemptive cease-and-desists set a new precedent for record label action? Do website owners have to obey their demands, when they haven't even posted the album yet?
February 24, 2004: Despite legal threats, many sites are participating in the protest. I'll be keeping a running list today of some of my favorite responses so far: Matt Haughey, Ryan Gantz, Lawrence Lessig, Chris Komlenic, Edverb (and his open letter to EMI), University of Iowa professor Kembrew McLeod, Justin Hall, Brian Flemming, Michael Sippey (plus his reply to my comment), Andrew Raff, Joe Gratz, Matt Jones, Scot Hacker.
Vice President Operations/Designated Agent
2600 Southwest Freeway, Suite 500
Houston, TX 77098
Re: Unauthorized Use of Sound Recordings Performed by the Beatles
Dear Mr. Lowenberg:
It has come to our attention that Andrew Baio is currently exploiting sound recordings that are owned and/or controlled by Capitol Records, Inc. ("Capitol"). In particular, it appears that Mr. Baio is using, without authorization, on his website, http://www.waxy.org/archive/2004/02/11/danger_m.shtml, (the "Website"), copies of sound recordings embodying performances of the Beatles, including but not limited to recordings of "Long, Long, Long," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Glass Onion," "Savoy Truffle," "Mother Nature's Son," "Helter Skelter," "Julia," "Happiness is Warm Gun," "Piggies," "Dear Prudence," "Rocky Raccoon," "Revolution 1," "Revolution 9," "I'm So Tired," and "Cry Baby Cry" (the "Capitol Recordings").
Andrew Baio's unauthorized exploitation of the Capitol Recordings constitutes copyright infringement, and renders Andrew Baio, and any other company engaged in the unauthorized exploitation of the Capitol Recordings with Andrew Baio, liable for all of the remedies provided by the relevant laws occasioned by Andrew Baio's unfair competition and dilution of our valuable property.
I am the agent authorized to act on behalf of Capitol, the complaining party. It is our understanding that Everyone's Internet, Inc. is the Internet Service Provider for Andrew Baio and the Website, and as such, you are the authorized agent for service of this notice in accord with The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, 17 U.S.C. § 512 et seq. (the "DMCA Notice") for Everyone's Internet, Inc.
We request that following your investigation of this matter you provide us full remedy under the DMCA Notice requirement, including but not limited to, expeditiously removing or disabling access to our copyrighted material. Unless we receive full and immediate compliance with this demand within a reasonable amount of time, we will be forced to consider pursuing our other remedies at law and in equity.
This letter is written without prejudice to any of our rights or remedies, all of which are expressly reserved herein.
By placing my signature herein, I state under penalty of perjury that the information contained in this notification is accurate and that I am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right of the Copyright alleged to be infringed.
/S/: Jonathan Campbell
This electronic signature is made and adopted with the intent to authenticate this written agreement.
Jonathan H. Campbell
Legal and Business Affairs
EMI Recorded Music, North America
150 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10011