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Radiohead participates in fraud/rip-off

permalink   Fri, Sep 26, 2008 @ 3:32 PM
So I’m sure there are some of you in the ccMixter comm that have heard about Radiohead’s latest publicity campaign. They are hosting their second remixing contest, the previous one being based on the track “Nude.” This one is based on “Reckoner.”

At first it seems like a really cool idea, the band providing stems to be chopped up and re-evolved into whatever, but has anyone bothered to read the terms of using Radiohead’s stems? Here they are, in full:

‘You (the Entrant) hereby agree, confirm, represent and warrant that:

1. all rights in and to any remixed versions (“Remixes”) of the song “Reckoner” (“the Song”) created by the Entrant shall be owned by Warner/Chappell Music Ltd (“WCM”) and to the extent necessary the Entrant hereby assigns all rights in the Remixes of the Song to WCM throughout the World for the full life of copyright and any and all extensions and renewals thereof. If requested by WCM, the Entrant shall complete and sign a formal assignment of copyright to give effect to the foregoing;

2. all rights in and to any Remixes of the original sound recording of the Song (“the Master”) created by the Entrant shall be owned by _Xurbia _Xendless Ltd (“Xurbia”) and to the extent necessary the Entrant hereby assigns all rights in the Remixes of the Master to Xurbia throughout the World for the full life of copyright and any and all extensions and renewals there. If requested by Xurbia, the Entrant shall complete and sign a formal assignment of copyright to give effect to the foregoing;

3. Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway will be registered and credited as the sole writers and WCM the publishers of the Remixes of the Song created by the Entrant;

4. the Entrant will not acquire a copyright interest in the Song by virtue of creating Remixes of the Song;

5. the Entrant will not use any other elements or parts of the Song (“Stems”) otherwise than to create Remixes of the Song for entry into;

6. the Remixes of the Song do not incorporate any samples or other materials which are subject to third party proprietary rights (for the avoidance of doubt this includes but is not limited to, other Radiohead sound recordings owned by EMI Records) or otherwise infringe the rights of any third party;

7. the Remixes of the Song are not obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, harassing, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, or encouraging of conduct that would be considered a criminal offense, gives rise to civil liability, or violate any law;

8. the Entrant will not exploit, or allow others to exploit, the Remixes of the Song created by the Entrant without seeking the prior approval of WCM and Xurbia. Accordingly, if the Entrant wishes to use their Remix outside of this Promotion they should send full details to:; and

9. by submitting Remixes to, the Entrant agrees to release and hold harmless Apple Inc from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of such Remixes or Entrant’s participation in the promotion.

In submitting Remixes to the Entrant confirms and warrants that they have full power and authority to enter into this agreement and hereby indemnify WCM and Xurbia from and against any and all costs and damages incurred as a result of any breach of the representations and warranties made by the Entrant herein.

Xurbia shall not commercially exploit the Remixes of the Song created by the Entrant without consulting with the Entrant prior to such commercial exploitation. reserves the right, in its absolute discretion, to remove Remixes from the website that it deems offensive or inappropriate and/or Remixes that breach any of the above terms and conditions.’

Ok, I can understand Radiohead retaining all rights to the material they are providing but for Warner to demand all rights to the work that the remixer has produced—-that’s f-ing ludicrous. AND that is not mentioned in any of the promotional media (via email & iTunes) that is supporting this contest.

And how about this specifically:
‘Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway will be registered and credited as the sole writers and WCM the publishers of the Remixes of the Song created by the Entrant;… by submitting Remixes to, the Entrant agrees to release and hold harmless Apple Inc from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of such Remixes or Entrant’s participation in the promotion.’

Basically if iTunes, Warner, and Radiohead make a gang of money off of your remix, you’ve renounced any right to compensation.

This has NOTHING to do with the spirit of re-use and recycling. Their simultaneously promoting Radiohead and exploiting the talent and interests of fans.

I won’t draw ccMixter into this, but I plan to remix and post everywhere, but the official contest site. I think we should create an album’s worth of Radiohead remixes that are always freely accessible and never sold through any distribution monster. Yeah, my motivation may be pure spite (actually I think it will be really fun to work with Radiohead material), but I think the idea is quite sound.

I’m tired of copyright. It has become more than an inconvenience and maybe it always was more than that. Think about, the hideous industry that has grown to enslave artistic freedom for the sake of financial and political gain has used copyright, both the legal mechanism and the moral structure, as it’s main tool for growth. It’s as apt a tool for exploitation and persecution as currency systems and war machines. Fuck that. No more.
permalink   Fri, Sep 26, 2008 @ 4:28 PM
My man spinmeister got the scoop here (I think)
permalink   Revlin Sat, Sep 27, 2008 @ 9:17 AM
Thanks for the link. I’m glad other people are talking about this.
permalink   Fri, Sep 26, 2008 @ 8:21 PM
I share your disgust, RJ! (thanks for the plug, VS - and most of the credit belongs to fellow ccM remixer DJ_Rkod, who emailed me about this issue when the first set of Radiohead stems were released and who’s email I published as the base for my additional commentary).

RJ, I honestly don’t know what the best way to react to such blatant unfairness is. The creative commons itself is one reaction to corporate copyright greed and overreach (you may find this video of interest).

Much needed and justifiable revolutions can be triggered by different means, and the best choice of means is hard to forecast. There’s a Mahatma Gandhi way, there’s a George Washington way and there’s a Rosa Parks way to mention just a few.

For myself I have chosen to take my remixing ball and go to a different playground. If Radiohead and the like want to be jerks about things, I’ll just banish them from my artistic endeavors.

I have taken my remixing ball and gone to the playground where Trent, Brad, Lisa, Frank, Kaer, Tamara, Shannon and too many others to mention play nicely and fairly with each other. And quite a number of them will actually listen to my remix and maybe even make a little comment, if they really like it. :-)

A final thought: What if Radiohead released their stems and nobody came?
permalink   Fri, Sep 26, 2008 @ 11:28 PM
I seem to remember that the conditions for the Marillion remix contest a couple of years ago were pretty similar (although I could be mistaken). If you don’t like these conditions then don’t remix the song. It’s not that there isn’t enough good stuff out there that is made available under more remixer-friendly conditions.
permalink   fourstones Sat, Sep 27, 2008 @ 12:28 AM
CC has always been about reform, in the courts and on the interwebs, but always through “legitimate” channels.

Awareness is good, shaking things up is good, promoting illegal acts on this forum is completely inappropriate and needs to be handled elsewhere… but believe me when I say I understand the need to vent.

MC Jack in the Box
permalink   Sat, Sep 27, 2008 @ 1:41 AM
lame rules. always pays to read the fine print. but like it’s been said, no point or sense (at least for me) worrying about the ones you can’t have when there’s so much good to be had. when artists can understand this reciprocated relationship like brad or shannon or trent reznor have, they build long term relationships. i’m not going to waste my time otherwise.
permalink   Sat, Sep 27, 2008 @ 10:06 AM
I’m happy to see that their is some commonality in the sense of rejection of the way that Radiohead and their handlers are presenting this.

I totally get the decision to simply abandon the past and focus on this new space that we are creating through CC. The legal ramifications of taking on the *entertainment* industry (why not art industry or creative industry?) are just a pain in the ass.

I, however, as a musician and as a living being have always been fueled by the past. There’s so much insight accessible through the media of past generations, and the farther you go back the more fascinating the relationships between things that came before and things that came after. CC is pretty much a microscopic recreation of this dynamic. Everything that gets uploaded today has complex ties to what was uploaded yesterday and because future content will be created with these same works, the present has complex connections to the future. Actually, through these relationships, if you begin to see the connections as *the thing*, as opposed to seeing the nodes between the connections as *the thing*, there is an observable blurring of the distinction between past, present, and future. Time begins to extend beyond its one-dimensionality, taking on a spacial, web-like manifestation.

Well, as much as we’ve created in this world of new media thus far, there is a wall in our path, blocking the connection between CC works and the titanic portion of work that was created and still being created in the realm of copyrighted works. Just imagine, considering what we’ve accomplished so far, what would happen if the material of our heroes, the product of some of the most celebrated minds in history was allowed to be overtly connected to the New Mind that we are all partaking in. What happens when our music becomes filled with John Coltrane’s, Bob Dylan’s, Thin Lizzy’s, The Beatles’, Hendrix’, Marley’s, Armstrong’s, Davis’, Young’, John Williams’ (who does a fair amount of reusing himself, under copyright), Tupak’s, Buckley’s, Elliot Smith’s, and yes, Radiohead?

Whatever we’ve accomplished so far, there is an undeniable mastery that the inspirational sources of our musical adventure demonstrated in their respective eras. And…


Over the last century we did something that was not possible at any other moment in human history. We captured some of the most transcendent qualities of our cultural messiahs in a way that could be shown to future generations—-for the rest of human history.

We essentially have pieces of people, extraordinary people, that are in a form that can be incorporated into our present day expressions and all future expressions. The future can be a synthesis of our individual selves with those qualities of our teachers that we are most moved by.

Actually, if you look at the challenges that face us, one can say that the future must take on this quality of synthesis and sympathy, a symphonic blending of elements that were once thought to be separate and alone. We are not alone. This site and others like it give undeniable evidence that no one is alone in their process. We are all a part of each other’s creation. But this site is just a mirror of a truth that exist “out there” just as much as it exist “in here.”

It’s not enough for us to know it. We connect to all those beings who do not know it, who have not experienced it. And because we know, and because we are connected to all of these beings, our existence is hanging on the opportunity that is before us:

To demonstrate this truth for EVERYONE. To reach into the loneliness and the separateness, with a bridge, a chord to the future, the past, and the present. In reality those are all ONE time space—Now. We create NOW.

Extending beyond what we perceive to be boundaries or barriers to our creative process is the next step. We create NOW and we create HERE. Literally (as in through wisdom and knowledge).

So what do you want NOW and HERE to BE?
permalink   fourstones Sat, Sep 27, 2008 @ 6:39 PM
As an individual (not a representative of Creative Commons) I agree that there needs to be a two-prong attack on the issues specifically encountered by musicians.

The first prong is the ‘legal’ tack - that is: create an alternative licensing system where we build up our own cultural references that the next generation of musicians can sample and reuse in a sane way. We also try to convince those that created the cultural references (samples) from the past to flip them into the Commons and that is slowly, but steadily happening. Many of our board members sit on the EFF which is starting to actually win cases (!) against the RIAA’s draconian punishment of consumers and artists.

If what you are saying is that more “established” artists need to participate in the Commons then that’s up to you - we are bottoms up community here, we are all in this together and if you want to start some kind of campaign to win over the owners of the back-catalogues of the last 70 years then I think you’ll find a lot of takers here.

The second prong is through civil disobedience. That is why I (as an individual) participated in Grey Tuesday and the 3 Notes and Running protests and will continue to do so. Some are more effective than others but I think they did a pretty good at raising awareness that the system is broken.

However, again, here at ccM we are all about the first type of tactic and CAN NOT be involved in anything remotely illegal because that’s not what we do here.

permalink   Sat, Sep 27, 2008 @ 1:32 PM
we don’t give legal advice here - and I’m not even a lawyer, so don’t take the following in the legal advice sense:

However I thought it might be worthwhile mentioning that creative commons licensed materials ARE copyrighted. It’s just that the creators of those materials are freely licensing their copyrighted work under certain conditions (depending on the particular Creative Commons license used).

I can only highly recommend to do some reading of the Creative Commons web site, which explains it properly.

I particularly like the comic strip version of the explanation of the basic concepts of copyright and creative commons licensing.

And this video has pretty good explanations, too.
permalink   Sat, Sep 27, 2008 @ 5:58 PM
There are still very few artists who offer their work to the World for remixing so we should be grateful for the few who do so.

Yes it is regrettable that all encompassing restrictions are placed on the use of the remix by some but major artists are still controlled and financially led by “The Rules”

These rules dictating the safeguarding of the intellectual rights are by their very necessity put together by lawyers and not the artists themselves.

Maybe as the music scene develops artists and their advisors will ease the restrictions of use but for now we are still only at the beginning of what will hopefully one day be an exciting two way relationship between the artist and the remixer.

It’s good to bring this matter up as the more attention given to it the more chance the music industry will change.

The move from CD purchase to online downloading was not led by record companies but by the actions of millions of listeners who wanted a more interactive way to get their music. ( Legal and illegal!!) Thanks to the pioneering work of Apple and some others the industry is now quickly changing the way artists interact with their audience and hopefully this will encompass remixing which is now becoming more high profile than ever.
permalink   Sun, Sep 28, 2008 @ 2:47 PM
Thanks RJ for posting those rules; it seems that once again, an initial burst of enthusiasm for embracing change has died down to some embarassed hemming and hawing (certainly not referring to CCM people)… I guess I just saved some hard drive space by wandering into this forum topic.
Here’s a big hearty “F**k you!”, to the folks busy trying their hardest to piss all over what we represent… Sorry, but while I know people have bills, kids’ college funds, etc. to worry about, it seems greed and paranoia are more what’s happening with stuff like this- there ARE ways for artists to make a living w/o resorting to such outdated and stifling modes of legal thought. We’ll get there someday- just not tomorrow, obviously. (My views are solely my own, and do not represent those of ccMixter, blah blah disclaimer blah freakin’ blah.)
permalink   Sun, Sep 28, 2008 @ 7:06 PM
This whole thing has a faint ring of familiarity to me. Initially I thought that these types of rules seemed fair. After all, but for the use of the well known, copyrighted material,there would be no opportunity to remix that work. The real trouble is burying the legal mumbo jumbo in lengthy and convoluted language. I mean why not just say, “you use our stuff, we keep your stuff, we give you a pat on the back if we like you and then we use you to make money and you can say thanks later.” Then you can vote to participate with actual knowledge of what you are doing.

We here at the mixter are doing the best thing we can; we are voting with our ears, our voices, our keyboards (both musical and qwerty), and lately possibly even our pocketbooks. I know I am. I haven’t bought any commercially produced music since I discovered online remixing and I doubt I ever will again.

The old model is breaking down and eventually music won’t make any money at all through big formal mass production outlets. Consumer satisfaction levels will be much higher as listeners get closer to their favorite artists through greater interactivity on the web etc. They will spend time and money to support these artists and a new musical culture will be established. This space is one model community although at present it is entirely non-commercial. Many many models must exist before the best way can be constructed for all.

I am a very proud member of this community, and am very grateful for the spirit that this place embodies, a spirit that is created through the work and comraderie of the people who hang out here. There is no better revenge we can take on those we feel exploit artists, etc than to be happily developing our work over here and not paying them a dime, or a euro, or a pound or a whatever your currency of choice is …
permalink   Wed, Oct 1, 2008 @ 2:35 AM
Well, guys, Amen to all of that.
I’m over the initial anger, so, now I’m just happy to see that people are so deeply committed to these new models, maybe even a new society. You don’t find alot of that out in the big, scary world. I’m grateful for what is being created here.
Moments like this bring Thin Lizzy to mind… “We Will Be Strong”
permalink   Sat, Oct 4, 2008 @ 9:10 AM
I shudder when I read things like this. It represents and highlights everything that’s bad about the “industry”.

Without going over old ground already covered so well by other comments here, I’d just like to add that I also find this both disgraceful and flat out immoral.

Maybe the band didn’t read it, who knows, to me there’s just no excuse for them charging money for these stems, having fans remix and give back and then taking whatever can be “exploited” from the result.

People are easily exploited.

Over the past few days I’ve even read about fans defending Radiohead , irrespective of these conditions.


I really don’t think “grey” remixes are the answer, they fan the flames of the existing regime and help the big labels promote new artists and extend the life of aged artists.

To combat this we need more focused and channeled CC projects I suppose. And then there’s the small matter of how we, the artists, break out of the ccMixter sandbox and into the subconsciousness of the masses.

permalink   zotz Sat, Oct 11, 2008 @ 1:21 PM
I don’t want to start any ruckus here so I hope to only say this once and I am putting this forward in all humility.

I think ccmixter made a mistake when they chose to disallow BY-SA.

I know the reason why, and they are sound reasons from one point of view. I just think that despite the good reasons for disallowing the license, the reasons for allowing outweigh them.

I struggled long and hard to figure out a way to try and take part here for years and finally figured something I think I can live with for now.

I don’t like the BY-NC license. But, that said, I don’t want to give out all of my stuff as straight BY either.

My solution is to release my stuff here as BY-NC while making the same material available elsewhere as BY-SA for those who might like to make commercial use of my stuff in some way.

I am also trying out doing some plain BY stuff in various places and mediums but this is much more risky from my point of view.

“And then there’s the small matter of how we, the artists, break out of the ccMixter sandbox and into the subconsciousness of the masses.”

NC stops people from making commercial use of our work. This reduces the number of people who will touch it and thus promote it for us.

BY lets people take our work and basically take their cover or remix of our work right back in to the “all rights reserved” game. It is now off limits to the very ones of us who created its foundations.

BY-SA lets artists try and earn a living in this new game while putting the brakes somewhat on taking commons works out of the commons.

But copyright laws are getting more and more out of hand around the world and people who care need to be thinking of various different approaches to bringing things back to a more sane level.

I have some thoughts posted here if anyone would care to check them out and comment or refine.

Some thoughts on a “Copyright Offensive”

That sight is not for arguments with people who think copyright is fine and perhaps needs to be pushed further rather than being reigned in.

There is a guy here who is trying to take things way further:

Digital Productions

fourstones says: “The first prong is the ‘legal’ tack - that is: create an alternative licensing system where we build up our own cultural references that the next generation of musicians can sample and reuse in a sane way.”

And to that I say bingo! But this is precisely why I think NC has no future in the game spoken of. Surely we want the next generation of musicians to be able to earn a living with their art should they so desire.

I know Brad Sucks has been here for a good long while. What I didn’t know until recently is that he has stuff over at Jamendo and under a BY-SA license (I think - can’t check right now, Jamendo is being upgraded.)

It looks like he has his stuff here as BY-SA and the finished stuff (at least) on Jamendo as BY-SA. I need to research this further.

But, enough of a ramble. Free The Art and Free The Artists.

Success and well wishes to everyone.

all the best,

permalink   teru Sat, Oct 11, 2008 @ 3:50 PM
It is my understanding that the licenses offered here are in the best interest of the source artists and compatibility with remixers.

Here is a post on the CC blog from which I base my understanding.

Also just in my experience, it seems most people who favor the SA license seem to approach things from a Open Source software perspective. A major difference of note is with music, the original source is equal to all derivatives. IOW just because there is a new remix doesn’t mean people will not go back and enjoy the original. Whereas software most likely is improved/updated through collaboration. Again just in my opinion and I only understand the basics of the licenses.
permalink   Fri, Oct 10, 2008 @ 10:07 AM
radiohead remix spoof - lots of inside (TV) jokes