Chiptunes plagiarized

Erik McClure spotted some 90s-vintage chiptunes swiped in an album being sold in all the usual places. Given new names and false attribution, it's evidently a plagiarized effort to make money from others' works. It's also likely, if not certain, that none of the songs were released to the public domain or under licensing terms that allow such redistribution.

The point is that someone has stolen 11 classic demoscene tracker songs and is selling them on every major online music store. The album is called “H4x0r R007z” and it consists entirely of blatantly stolen tracker songs lazily renamed using 1337 text, which usually means finding the original song is pretty easy. Because it was published via DistroKid, you can find it on Spotify, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, Deezer, iHeartRadio and it's been registered into the automatically populated copyrighted songs databases! That means the artist “H4x0r” could legally issue copyright takedowns for every other legitimate upload of the actual songs, or abuse Google's automatic fingerprinting system to force monetization on all of the videos and take all the income.

The peculiarity of chiptunes has made a fool of a number of celebrity musicians and producers who appropriate them without realizing they will get caught — Timbaland perhaps the most notorious among them. But this is happening in the quiet margins, with no-name sellers trying to remain unseen, a game of careful scaling and obscurity. Read the rest