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 Forum index » News... » Miscellaneous News
John Cage's Copyright Owners Sue Over Silence
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 10:40 am    Post subject: John Cage's Copyright Owners Sue Over Silence Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

See the full story at http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2002330066,00.html
Thanks to Elektro80 for sending this in...

Silence is old 'un
By THOMAS WHITAKER
Showbiz Reporter for The Sun of London

Shush-takovich ... Mike and Salima
Photo by Dan Kennedy
POP guru Mike Batt is being sued for putting out a song that is nothing but silence - amid claims he STOLE it.

Batt, 51 - famed for creating 70s group The Wombles - recorded the track A One Minute Silence for his new band The Planets.

But lawyers claim it sounds just like a 50-year-old piece by the late US composer John Cage. That song - entitled 4'33" - was also totally silent, apart from an audience's coughs and the rustle of crisp packets.

Nicholas Riddle, boss of the firm that owns the copyright to Cage's music, stormed yesterday: "John always said the duration of his piece may be changed, so The Planets' piece doesn't escape by virtue of its shorter length." He vowed to take Batt to court, insisting: "We want our royalties."

Batt jokingly gave Cage a joint credit on the new song, which appears on The Planets' album Classical Graffiti. It topped the classical charts for three months.

Yesterday the group - conducted by Batt - performed in London. The audience chortled as the musicians, including sexy clarinet ace Salima Williams, dropped their instruments to their sides for one minute.

Defiant Batt said: "Has the world gone mad? I'm prepared to do time rather than pay out. We are talking as much as £100,000 in copyright."

He quipped: "Mine is a much better silent piece. I have been able to say in one minute what Cage could only say in four minutes and 33 seconds."

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I met John Cage several times when I was at Mills College. I think he would ba appalled to learn about this law suit. His point in the piece was to help us realize that it is possible to hear all sound in your life as music. If you listen to everyday non-music with the same receptiveness as you listen to music, your consciousness is expanded - or at least you might enjoy your time more.

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Pretty amusing story which does tell us that the practice of copyright management can linger a bit far from the spirit of the works protected.
When I think of it, CD burner software has this "Cage" feature that puts in EMPTY spaces between songs. And.. I seem to recall that absolutely every audio CD I have quite possibly has silent spaces between songs. man this is getting even worse. Anyone remember LPs? Those have "silence" between songs too. Are those copyright infringments? On the other hand.. hey.. how old is the vinyl medium. Older than this piece by John Cage?
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You're starting to think like a lawyer! Let's move on to another topic. Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Reading is bad for me... I know Very Happy
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