April 18, 2005  ·  Lessig


As reported at BoingBoing (thanks John), Trent Reznor of NIN has released a GarageBand wrap of a forthcoming song. The 70 meg download opens directly into GarageBand. The terms of the license (which you’ve got to accept to play) aren’t too bad. Not the share-cropper culture (the star owns the remixes) that the lawyers for some icons have insisted upon (Mr. Bowie, e.g.) — NIN permits sharing of the remixes, though not for commercial purposes. Would be very cool, however, were the expressions of freedom expressible in a machine-readable form, and in a license that others could combine other content with, say, in a friendster-like application made for music.

  • http://gnuosphere.blogspot.com Peter Rock

    Not the share-cropper culture that some icons have imposed (the star owns the remixes) (Mr. Bowie, e.g.)

    As Michael Tiemann would say – Esse Quam Videri Mr. Bowie…

  • http://www.jzip.org/ adamsj

    The earliest example of something like this I can think of would be Todd Rundgren’s The Individualist, which I’ve never owned or even had a copy of to toy with. Can someone knowledgeable compare the two efforts? I’d be fascinated.

  • Jon

    Moby did something similar in the early nineties with “Everytime You Touch Me”. I’m not certain what the license arrangement was however.

    I also recall a story about Limp Bizket soliciting “riffs” at an outdoor event a few years ago under the guise of a guitarist search. Without researching the information, I believe that participants waived all rights to their creations in order to take part. I had heard that several of these pieces made it onto the band’s next album, gratis of course.

    A quick Google search turns up this account of the story.

  • Doug Cutting

    George Clinton’s been publishing stuff since 1993 that you’re free to remix for non-commercial uses, and that’s cheap to use commercially.

    Check out the Wired article Hey Man… Smell My Sample. Is Clinton’s quote the origin of Lessig’s use of “share-cropper”?

  • http://beautiful_killer.blogspot.com Natali

    It is totally cool. A lot of people have been asking why nin.com aren’t running a fan remix competition – it’s because the NIN Hotline are running one instand. We’re closely linked with nin.com, and we have a bunch of prizes (vinyl, stickers, etc) up for grabs for the best remix. Seems to be pretty popular, especially now there’s a torrent of raw .AIFF files for folks on Windows/*nix/old Mac’s to download and convert. I think the last count was 116 remixes. Which, in less than a week, isn’t half bad.

    It’s not the only thing that Trent’s doing that’s net based. He’s well aware of the fanbase on the net, so he’s making a PDF file downloadable once the album goes on sale (May 2nd/3rd) with extended artwork inside. The album artwork is pretty minimal – he’s said he gets frustrated with the jewel case format – so he decided to take the majority of it out and make it available for everyone to download instead.

    Pretty interesting stuff IMO.

  • http://darkauthority.blogspot.com Adrian Lopez

    A small point with regard the idea that you have to “accept [the license] to play” is that clicking on a button should not be construed as a sign of acceptance. It often is, but it shouldn’t.