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Brion Gregerson Mr.

Ludlow-Mattson English 114 November 16, 2013 The Legality of Copying Who is truly damaged by the copying of music, is it the original artist or the one copying it? Or perhaps is there no damage done at all? Music is one of the few arts that is based solely on the creativity of the artist; whether a person is making their own original music or using others input in their work does not take away the artistic value of their work. In the YouTube series Copyright Criminals, the producers were taking the side that it is not acceptable to underhandedly use someone else work to improve ones own music. In order to reinforce their arguments, the producers aimed to target an older audience and show them examples of newer music that they may not understand and compare it to music from previous generations. In a way, it is a sly move by the producers, as they take advantage of the fact that prior generations generally do not like the music that the current generation of kids and teenagers listen to. They argue that the creativity in remixing music is nowhere near comparable to crating an original lyric or piece of music. They also take the stance that copying someone elses beat or lyrics is an evident sign of defamation and destruction of the original artists intellectual property. Music is something that is ever- changing, and it is not fair for people of past generations to lay claim to sounds or music simply based on the fact that they are older than the newer generation. One song that would exemplify this is Juicy by The Notorious B.I.G where he sampled from Mtumes Juicy Fruit. Besides this one example, there are many

other instances where it can be said that when a song is copied or altered, it creates more recognition for the artist being copied, since their music is brought back to the forefront of music in the world. If a song, lyric, or sound is taken from an original artist and used in a revamped form by another artist, there is no harm done, and quite to the contrary, both artists will benefit from this alteration. A prime example for the modern day music would be the rapper Lil Wayne in his No Ceilings album and more recently, his Dedication 5. These are two examples of his albums in which at the core of these works, he blatantly uses other peoples music to create his own version of the same song. Many of the songs on these albums are like an ode to other rappers such as Jay-z and many other renowned artists. Through these albums, both Lil Wayne and the artists he used to create No Ceilings and Dedication 5 have been put at the forefront of the musical world. Additionally, without these newer albums that Lil Wayne created, the artists music that he copied may have been forgotten in terms of the newer generation; he also enhances both his music and others music by using the same titles that the original artist created, so it is more of an ode to other artists rather than simply knocking off their music. Furthermore, this begs the question, is a piece of music that is considered original truly original? It is virtually impossible for a person to create a completely original piece of music, as someone else prior to them is bound to have made an almost identical beat or lyric, it is just they did not publish it or make it available to the public. So in this sense, works are generally never completely authentic, which is why it is unfair for musical artists to lay claim, or copyright, to a beat or lyric that they made up and make it off limits for newer artists to use in their own work. When remixed songs are

created, it is like a culmination of the older generation and the current one, as a kind of bridge is created to bring together music from different artists from different times, whether it is decades or months apart, is irrelevant. A different version of the same song is never truly a copy of the original artist, as I stated before, a person who copyrighted a sound or song is rarely the innovator of it. The producers of Copyright Criminals would probably disagree with my standpoint, but as I see it, music is a form of selfexpression that can vary from artist to artist, whether they are choosing to create an original piece or use another work in their own intellectual property. Another example would be the rap group N.W.A with their song Express Yourself, which is a newer version of Charles Wright & the Watts 103 Street Rhythm Band song with the same name. It is extremely unlikely that the original artists made up every single part of the song with no outside input, so in a sense, the N.W.A version is no more of a copy than what is considered the original. They created this new music to explain their type of music and attitude toward the world and it is completely opposite from the Charles Wright & the Watts 103 Street Rhythm Band version of the song. Although the N.W.A version is more popular than the original version, the older song always linked to the newer one, making the first version of Express Yourself more popular than it would have ever been if N.W.A didnt create their own twist on the song.

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