Phoenix on Lessig and Lisztomania: "We Support Fair Use of Our Music!"

Last August, I posted about a lawsuit brought by Larry Lessig and the Electronic Frontier Foundation against Australia's Liberation Music, who hold the rights to "Lisztomania," a song by the French band Phoenix. Lessig had used brief clips from Lisztomania in a presentation on remix culture, and when the lecture was posted to Youtube, Phoenix Music sent a series of bogus copyright notices and threats to Youtube and Lessig.

Now (unsurprisingly), Liberation has settled, admitting that it was wrong. It has paid a confidential sum to EFF to cover costs and pay for future work defending the rights of people whose work is censored from Youtube by bogus copyright claims. It has also promised to fix the way it polices its copyright.

The best part is the statement released by Phoenix, who were apparently aghast to learn that their label was so reactionary when it came to remixing and fair use. It's amazing to see a band bust out statements like "One of the great beauties of the digital era is to liberate spontaneous creativity - it might be a chaotic space of free association but the contemporary experience of digital re-mediation is enormously liberating."

Click through for the whole thing, it's amazing.

We Support Fair Use of Our Music!

We were upset to find out that a lecture by professor Lawrence Lessig titled 'Open' was removed from YouTube without review, under the mistaken belief that it infringed our copyright interests.

This lecture about fair-use included -as examples- bits of spontaneous fan videos using our song Lisztomania.

Not only do we welcome the illustrative use of our music for educational purposes, but, more broadly, we encourage people getting inspired and making their own versions of our songs and videos and posting the result online.

One of the great beauties of the digital era is to liberate spontaneous creativity - it might be a chaotic space of free association but the contemporary experience of digital re-mediation is enormously liberating.

We don't feel the least alienated by this; appropriation and recontextualization is a long-standing behavior that has just been made easier and more visible by the ubiquity of the internet.

In a few words: we absolutely support fair use of our music, and we can only encourage a new copyright policy that protects fair use as much as every creators' legitimate interests.

Band Whose Label Threatened Larry Lessig Comes Out Strongly In Favor Of Fair Use [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]

Notable Replies

  1. @doctorow You keep saying "Phoenix Music" and "Phoenix has settled," but I think you mean Liberation Music. (The EFF article also mentions "Phoenix Music" in the title, but the whole article correctly refers to Liberation Music after that.)

    Since the kicker in the article is about the difference between Phoenix's opinion and that of their label, Liberation Music, I think it's an important distinction.

  2. I just wanted to say that the "Brat Pack mash-up" was one of my favourite videos ever, and that I might have liked the Brooklyn "live" version even better. It spawned a whole meme: Listomania by Phoenix being used to illustrate specific dancing moments from 80s moments movies, when I grew up, and seeing people relive them in cities all over the world was moving and fun. So yup, I am glad that the agents suing admitted they were wrong, but since money is involved with the advertising on YouTube, it is probably a good idea to automate the rights sharing contracts before the case of when these things go viral, if only because they make the world brighter. ( going to go study up on "Fair Use," because there are a lot of movie clips on the original as well ... Oye.. wink

    p.s. The version of "Brat Pack Mashup" that survives (I am certain this is the source of the original lawsuit), is a poor copy of the original).

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