Monday, April 25, 2016

Beyonce's Lemonade Embraces Indie Rock...While Doing Right By Copyright Law


George Howard, 
CONTRIBUTOR

Listening to the second song of Beyonce’s new album Lemonade, I was struck by the the main element of its chorus – “…they don’t love you like I love you” – and, in particular, its similarities to the chorus of the songs “ Maps” by the band Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, which goes like this: “…they don’t love you like I love you.”
In this post-”Blurred Lines”-decision era – in which a jury awarded the Estate of Marvin Gaye $7.4 million due to the infringement by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, et al. of Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” – the lines around what constitutes an infringement are increasingly (ahem) blurry.
In fact, with the recent news that the Led Zeppelin dispute over that band’s potential infringement of the song “Taurus” by Spirit is apparently heading to a US courtroom, it struck me that – absent an agreement – Beyonce was fairly brazenly ignoring the “chilling effect” these recent actions – in theory – send through the right shoulder community.
little research however shows that far from flaunting copyright law, Beyonce has apparently embraced it wholeheartedly.
The credits for “Hold Up” are as follows:
Produced by Ezra Koenig, Beyoncé, and Diplo
Listening to the second song of Beyonce’s new album Lemonade, I was struck by the the main element of its chorus – “…they don’t love you like I love you” – and, in particular, its similarities to the chorus of the songs “ Maps” by the band Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, which goes like this: “…they don’t love you like I love you.”
In this post-”Blurred Lines”-decision era – in which a jury awarded the Estate of Marvin Gaye $7.4 million due to the infringement by Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, et al. of Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up” – the lines around what constitutes an infringement are increasingly (ahem) blurry.
In fact, with the recent news that the Led Zeppelin dispute over that band’s potential infringement of the song “Taurus” by Spirit is apparently heading to a US courtroom, it struck me that – absent an agreement – Beyonce was fairly brazenly ignoring the “chilling effect” these recent actions – in theory – send through the right shoulder community.
little research however shows that far from flaunting copyright law, Beyonce has apparently embraced it wholeheartedly.

Beyonce’s new album, Lemonade, contains a song that borrows heavily from the indie-rock band, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. In a post “Blurred Lines” universe, it’s refreshing to see Beyonce give credit where credit is due. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
The credits for “Hold Up” are as follows:
Produced by Ezra Koenig, Beyoncé, and Diplo
Written by Nick Zinner, Karen O, Brian Chase, Soulja Boy, Kevin McConnellAntonio Randolph, Mort Schuman, Emile Haynie, Doc Pomus, MeLo-X, MNEK, Ezra Koenig, Beyoncé, Father John Misty, and Diplo
Nick Zinner and Karen O are members of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, and the songwriters of the above-referenced song “Maps.”
The great, great Doc Pomus co-wrote “Can’t Get Used To Losing You” with Mort Shulman. It’s this song – made famous by Andy Williams – that gives “Hold Up” its “vibe” (a key element in the “Blurred Lines” case), and propulsive rhythm.
It’s interesting to see Ezra Koenig (from Vampire Weekend) listed as a writer. Mashable contends -wrongly, though they may be joking – that his credit is a result of his tweets (I say “wrongly” because it’s nearly impossible to copyright a tweet – maybe if the tweet is a haiku – and even if you could, you’d have to register your tweet to gain protection, etc.)
In any case, it’s great to see Beyonce giving credit (and, one assumes, financial consideration) where it’s due. Perhaps this was due to the “Blurred Lines” decision; perhaps it’s just the way Beyonce operates (I tend to believe the latter).
The song certainly does exemplify both the catholic palette from which Beyonce draws, and the opportunities and complexities surrounding making music today.

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