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Silent Disobedience

With the 'AA's and major rightsholders going after everyone from BitTorrent tracker sites to Beatallica, most copyright violaters are keeping their heads down. But not  Scott Moschella, who's documented how he stripped Apple's Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology from an iTunes track and posted the de-DRM-ed song online for others to download. Moschella used a promotional Pepsi iTunes code to purchase "Silence," by the Ciccone Youth, from the iTunes Music Store. He's now more or less daring the RIAA, Apple, or anyone else, to come after him.

But it's not like Moschella's pirating the new Kelly Clarkson single. Ciccone Youth was a side project of Mike Watt, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, and Greg Ginn (of the minutemen, Sonic Youth, and Black Flag). Named after Madonna, the band's first single was a track called "Into the Groove(y),"  which featured the band playing over Madonna samples. Reportedly, it was only the benevolence of The Material Girl herself that prevented Warner Brothers from enforcing its copyrights and silencing the unauthorized samples. "Silence," the track in question, was released on Ciccone Youth's first, and only, full length album, Whitey. It's one-minute and three-seconds of complete silence. Sweet, blissful, copyrighted silence. Get it while you can.

Posted by mat on 02/21/2005 | Permalink


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Hola, I'm sure you heard the story about John Cage's piece-- I can't remember the exact title, but it's a time length like 3:45-- of silence being credited as a "sample" on some artist's records (I'm sorry I'm so bad with names today). To his dismay, Cage's estate sued and won a judgment for infringement. Yes, even silence can be owned.

Posted by: Antonio Lopez | Feb 22, 2005 10:47:48 AM

Actually, there was no lawsuit. The confusion arose because Mike Batt credited the composition to "Batt/Cage," and when Cage's estate saw that a song of Cage's had been recorded, it automatcially set in gear some sort of boilerplate notice stating that the estate should be paid. When Cage's estate realized what had actually happened, the dispute was settled amicably out of court. (According to Siva Vaidhyananthan.

Posted by: Carrie McLaren | Feb 22, 2005 1:27:57 PM

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