A Fantastic Protest Against The Faulted Copyright System

Damien Riehl, a musician, a lawyer, a coder, along with his colleague Noah Rubin have a project called All The Music which is based on the creation of an “application to generate by brute force all mathematically possible melodies and write them to MIDI files.”

Basically the duo created and then copyrighted a database of every single melody possible to create. Then they made all these melodies available to everyone.

This is perhaps the most specific and complicated part of the world of protest music there is.

“We’ve seen a flaw in the current copyright laws, described above, and we’d like that flaw to be remedied — to help songwriters. And since the current copyright laws result in uncertainty, we’d like our work to help increase certainty, allowing songwriters to make more music (with less fear of frivolous lawsuits).”

See more about the project here: http://allthemusic.info

𝗜𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗼 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗽𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘂𝘁𝘀 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗯𝘆 𝘀𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘂𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝗣𝗮𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗼𝗻! 𝗪𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝘀𝗼 𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗮, 𝗯𝗲𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽 𝘀𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗰 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀. 𝗧𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗸 𝘆𝗼𝘂!
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One thought on “A Fantastic Protest Against The Faulted Copyright System”

  1. Some interesting ideas here. It’s hard to imagine in mattering in any legal defense whether a given two bars of melody are included in this database or not. But going ahead with the gimmick does raise awareness of a particular line of argument against this type of lawsuit.

    In the case of George Harrison & the Chiffons, there is a lot more similarity than just the few notes of melody. You listen to the two songs, and it can’t be a coincidence. Nevertheless, there are novels you encounter where the similarities in the storylines and characters are too great to be coincidental, and in those cases, for some reason, it’s widely understood that copyright infringement suits simply don’t work.

    I like the analogy Riehl makes to visual art; however, he concludes that such an exercise isn’t practical in that setting, which I don’t think is right. You can slice up images with any pixel resolution & granularity of color rendition just like you can slice up wavelengths of sound into musical notes. The key difference isn’t what’s feasible but where the lawsuits are happening.

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