Seven months ago, Amerigo Gazaway presented his mix album Bizarre Tribe: A Quest to The Pharcyde as a means to show his respect to A Tribe Called Quest and The Pharcude, and did so by posting it on Bandcamp for free. In fact, I had made it my Bandcamp Suggestion on November 4th. This week, Sony made not a request, but a demand to “cease and desist” the recording in question because they own the rights to the material by A Tribe Called Quest. Sony has claimed copyright infringement, and if the recordings were not taken down, it was possible that the parties involved would face “further litigation for damages”. Damages: for a free album, right? Well, the means of copyrights and intellectual property involves a number of sticky situations.
The album was released through Gummy Soul Records, who had this to say about the ordeal:
Though we are confident that our work falls under “fair use” as defined by the Copyright Act of 1976, (something we explain further in our open letter response , we cannot afford to take on a Goliath like Sony Music. Due to the sheer amount of samples required to create this project, it would be impossible for a label of our size to release Bizarre Tribe through traditional means. Although Bizarre Tribe has always been available for free, Sony is demanding our immediate compliance.
MY OPINION: The songs in this mix/album were released for the sole purpose of being free. They were not meant to exploit or damage the reputations of Sony or A Tribe Called Quest, or the reputations of Delicious Vinyl and The Pharcyde. It was meant to be a celebration of music by creating music that is a recreation. Even though Bizarre Tribe: A Quest to The Pharcyde has been pulled from Bandcamp, that alone does not stop the circulation of the mix. If music fans know where to go, they will be able to obtain it through other means, so how exactly does one stop the flow of this album through “unofficial means”? I think it would have been more beneficial if Sony chose to work with Gummy Soul and Amerigo Gazaway and somehow prosper from it: use the mixes in TV shows or commercials, or in a film. In the end, this will only help to focus on future works from Amerigo Gazaway, and perhaps he can benefit from creating exclusive mixes in an official manner.