Lil Nas X infringing on copyright left and right

Lil Nas XEarlier this year, Lil Nas X and the company MSCHF produced a line of limited-run shoes in tandem with his song “Montero (Call Me by Your Name).” These so-called Satan Shoes contained a drop of human blood and sold out within an hour. Unfortunately, MSCHF had simply modified pairs of Nike Air Max 97s, thus prompting a lawsuit by Nike for copyright infringement. Lil Nas X already had the dreaded “copyright infringement” tag hanging on his name for his 2018 song “Carry On.” Three months later, in October 2019, came another infringement lawsuit for his 2019 song “Rodeo.” What’s going on? Continue reading →

Copyright: Is “Stairway to Heaven” a ripoff?

Led Zeppelin IVA high profile copyright case pits the classic “Stairway to Heaven” against an obscure instrumental, “Taurus.” The band Spirit wrote “Taurus” in 1967. “Stairway to Heaven” was written four years later, in 1971, for the album Led Zeppelin IV. The song went on to become one of the band’s best known songs, popular with legions of teenagers during the 70s. But did Led Zeppelin really rip off “Taurus”? What makes the case fascinating is that the facts support either view. Continue reading →

The demon offspring of Napster and Spotify

AurousHere we go again. Aurous, a decentralized music player that is a cross between the original Napster and Spotify, lets users listen to millions of songs from various sources, all for free and without ads. The app uses the BitTorrent network to link to streamable music from various sources. Its creator, Andrew Sampson, describes the app as a music player that simply piggybacks off other platforms. While some of the sources are legitimate, like YouTube, many others are unregulated operations that basically steal music, like the Russian site Pleer. Continue reading →

Copyright: what the ?*$!

Marvin GayeIt’s good news/bad news for three cases this year in the confusing world of copyright. In March, a jury ruled that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke had infringed on Marvin Gaye’s hit “Got to Give It Up.” The reasoning was that Thicke’s hit “Blurred Lines” feels like “Got to Give It Up.” Not sounds like, or demonstrably imitates, but “feels” like. That nebulous description has the music industry worried, and, frankly, it is a terrible decision. Continue reading →