Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I am trying to break your art

A Wikipaedia article from last month (last modified 21:15, 18 May 2004) seems almost precient by mentioning The Conet Project and Wilco in one sentance after the other.

The Conet Project disc consists of recordings of numbers stations, which I used to listen to on Dad's shortwave radio. His radio is a bit bigger than an ATX mid-tower PC, IIRC, and is the only thing I've ever seen that uses a single-A battery. The recording in question is the album's titular sample, a woman repeating for a minute or two the words "yankee...hotel...foxtrot". The label that produced The Conet Project recordings says she's from Israeli intelligence. She may be, but it's not an Israeli accent — sabras have distinctive "long o" sounds, and the o's in "foxtrot" sound more British to me than anything else.

Anyway, the point is that the label Irdial sued Wilco's label for sampling of stuff recorded off a broadcast in the clear over shortwave. Though I don't have all the facts, my impression is that based on an crappy law, the suing, smaller label would have won the case. Joe Gratz, who comes up first in Google for this issue, thinks the case would be to close to call without a lot of fact-finding. The label ended up settling, paying Irdial's lawyers fees and some unrelease value in royalties.

All this prompted by the article in Wired, btw. Also, see pre-settlement post on Boing Boing yesterday.

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