29 April 2006


Via Gary Farber's Amygdala, I learn of a survey of intellectual property weirdness that includes this gem:
For including a 60-second piece of silence on their album, the Planets were threatened with a lawsuit by the estate of composer John Cage, which said they'd ripped off his silent work 4'33". The Planets countered that the estate failed to specify which 60 of the 273 seconds in Cage's piece had been pilfered.
Intellectual property law has gone mad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not so much about IP Madness than an ill-advised author credit. The track was credited both to Cage and to Mike Batt (with Batt’s name first btw), which was inane at best, outrageous and corrupt at worst.

Batt (who should have retired after The Wombles) is responsible for the horribly cheesy Planets group and the cheesily horrible Vanessa Mae, both serious money-makers, so it is surprising he would make such an unsavvy move, even in jest. Chalk it up to the fatuousness and hubris of a huckster-visionary who made millions off the Yanni/Tesh crowd.

The case also highlights Batt’s fundamental misunderstanding of 4’33”, which is not about “pure,” and certainly not digital, silence at all. He should have been fined just for historical and aesthetic stupidity IMO (and I’m not even one of those crazed Cage zealots).