You may recall our post from a while back about popular mashup artist Girl Talk, where we noted all the clearance and licensing hoops he'd have to jump through for his records to be 100 percent legal. Our takeaway? The current sample license clearance process is likely too time-consuming and cost-prohibitive for Girl Talk to make his art legit. read more
You’ve probably heard some of the buzz around Girl Talk — the biomedical engineer-turned DJ whose sample-based music is making waves among hipsters, tastemakers and even the New York Times.
Girl Talk released his most recent album, Feed the Animals, in June 2008. On it, Gillis blatantly samples over 300 artists, demonstrating his uncanny ability to overlay music from traditionally isolated genres: metal riffs run alongside ’70s love songs and West Coast rap; today’s pop gets down with ’60s R&B and classic rock. With its hundreds of easily recognizable samples, the album is part parlor game, part love letter to three decades of popular music. read more
We all know Greg Gillis’s invocation of the fair use principle in justifying the use of samples in Girl Talk’s Feed The Animals is dubious at best.
In an exorbitantly detailed, carefully argued blog post, The Future of Music Coalition has broken down the legal precedents of sampling in relation to Girl Talk. The post argues that though Feed The Animals is difficult to justify legally, it would be virtually impossible to produce through means sanctioned by law:
It?s no secret that Girl Talk albums are a legal minefield. Each one has, like, a gazillion samples ? none of them cleared and few if any sanctioned by the original artists.
As a recent FMC blog post points out, Girl Talk and his label Illegal Art believe his work is legal under the ?fair use principle,? a term in copyright law that recognizes that a copyrighted work can be used for ?purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research? without being considered infringing.