February 24th, 2004

Grey Tuesday

Art is never created in a vacuum: Shakespeare drew from many others' works to create his plays, and Disney made his fortune adapting works from the public domain (Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, the Little Mermaid -- even Steamboat Willie (Mickey Mouse's debut) was an adaptation of Buster Keaton's "Steamboat Bill, Jr"). Of course, Disney has (via the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, among others) since dedicated its energies to ensuring that no one else can ever do what Disney did. But the continued fertility of our culture demands that it remain free. In this spirit, I am participating today in Grey Tuesday, and offering links to BitTorrent downloads of DJ Danger Mouse's Grey Album. The Grey Album is a remix of Jay-Z's the Black Album and the Beatles White Album, and illustrates the artistic potential of a free culture, where we are not only passive receivers of culture, but able to re-imagine, re-mix, and actively contribute back to it. The album is also available from illegal-art.org. Note, however, that EMI is already sending out cease-and-desist letters to try to halt distribution of the Grey Album.

This posting of the Grey Album is done for purposes of political discourse: it is a concrete example of a cultural and artistic act prohibited by our country's new system of copyright. Join the EFF or Downhill Battle to fight to keep our culture free.