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The Grey Album: Copyright Law and Digital Sampling
Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy (2005)
  • Matthew Rimmer, Australian National University College of Law
Abstract
In the field of digital sampling, disk jockeys have shown a recent enthusiasm for 'mash-ups' - new compositions created by combining the rhythm tracks of one song and the vocal track of another. Most famously of all, DJ Danger Mouse remixed the vocals from Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles' White Album and called his creation The Grey Album. The Grey Album poses a number of difficult issues regarding copyright law and digital sampling. Does such a 'mash-up' go beyond the de minimis use of a copyright work? Is The Grey Album protected by the defence of fair use under copyright law because it provides a transformative use of copyright works? Can such remixes be compulsorily licensed? Does a 'mash-up' raise issues concerning the moral rights of attribution and integrity, which are recognised in Europe and Australia?
Keywords
  • Copyright law,
  • musical works,
  • sound recordings,
  • digital sampling,
  • mash-ups,
  • de minimis use,
  • defence of fair use,
  • creative commons licences,
  • compulsory licensing,
  • moral rights of attribution and integrity,
  • DJ Dangermouse,
  • The Grey Album,
  • Jay-Z,
  • and The Beatles.
Disciplines
Publication Date
February 1, 2005
Citation Information
Matthew Rimmer. "The Grey Album: Copyright Law and Digital Sampling" Media International Australia Incorporating Culture and Policy Vol. 114 (2005)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/matthew_rimmer/16/