Prince begins new war against semi-archaic copyright laws
Oh, Prince. Purple Yoda yadda yadda and walking contradiction. A few weeks ago during an appearance on George Lopez Tonight, Prince laid out a new gripe with how things operate in the music industry: cover songs. Ugh, cover songs! That's not your music, Sinéad!
Prince, during the interview, lays out a not-incredibly comprehensive takedown of what's called "compulsory licensing." This law allows artists to cover any song they wish (not limited to artists on their labels, as Paste described it here), provided they pay the copyright holder a fixed rate. It's a law that's been around for a long time, one of the many initially-surprising knots and twists of copyright law, most crafted quite some time ago. We are going to avoid the snake pit by saying: this stuff is not simple. But, on the other hand, we couldn't disagree with George Lopez more, who said during the interview: "there should be one version of music." That's a far broader statement than what the Purple One is getting at, however.
Here's the video of Prince laying out his distate for compulsory licenses on George Lopez Tonight (fast-forward to around 7:20):
If you're still confused (you probably should be at this point), here's a great video, coming to us via Digital Music News, of music executive Jeffrey Brabec explaining the what and how of compulsory licensing.
And now, as a fun semi-illustration of Prince's point, some versions of his single, "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man."
Sara "Tegan &" Quinn
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