“Recycled Music” and Copyright


Recently, internationally recognized music icon, Will.i.Am has caught some attention for something other than his music; he has found himself in the middle of a copyright dispute.  Local musician Matt Gonzales says, “music in general has been recycled for years,” however he also believes that there are some instances in which borrowing music can be problematic. For instance, “If you take something and make it your own and say it’s your own then I would find a problem with that.”

Copyright is more than the © icon that you see in many places including websites, books and CD’s. Copyright is the protection of published and unpublished work that you have created through any concrete form of expression. Gonzales is not only a local musician who has registered his own songs in the past. He is also a promoter, technician and producer. To him, copyright “just means being able to protect your creations, your artistic creations. Whether that be music or art or anything like that.” In his opinion what you are protecting your work from is others who could potentially make large amounts of money off of it or claim it as their own.

Arty and Mat Zo of the record label Anjunabeats have accused Will.i.Am of using their song “Rebound” on the song “Let’s Go” which features Chris Brown. Gonzales admits to sampling music himself, but always giving credit where it is due. “Everyone’s gonna sample, I do a lot of sampling stuff with music and I see no problem with this just because your getting the music out there, I mean, as long as you credit it.” In a statement released by Anjunabeats this past week, one of the claims that they make is that while Arty was “credited in the sleeve notes,” Mat Zo was not. The statement goes on to make clear that giving credit “is not the same as obtaining permission.” Gonzales believes that “If you’re making serious money off of it, then hey, let’s talk about maybe giving a percentage to the artist.”

According to the Huffington Post, in the past rock stars such as John Lennon, Led Zeppelin and Radiohead are a few of those on their list of ten prominent artist who have been accused of copyright infringement.