Crystal Castles: now under fire for abusing a Creative Commons license on a chiptune track. Photo by Oliver J. Lopena: oliverlopena.com. (And CC-licensed, via Flickr.)

As using sounds produced on unusual 8-bit systems and game consoles grows in popularity, some artists are appropriating the music as their own. Sometimes, as with Beck, a well-known or better-marketed artist is using lesser-known artists for purposes of novelty. That alone has riled some in the hard-core chiptune community. In some cases, though, artists are resorting to outright theft. In the most recent case, part of the problem is people misunderstanding Creative Commons licenses, even though those licenses are designed to encourage sharing.

Is Creative Commons a safe license to use, or does it encourage this kind of theft? I think CC is actually a solution, not part of the problem – and this illustrates that.

Not Just Timbaland: Fitts for Fights Syndrome

Online music piracy is well known. But ready access to music online has led to a much more serious problem: digital plagiarism.

The best known case, of course, is the infamous 2007 Timbaland Controversy, in which Timbaland apparently stole musical elements from Finnish demoscene artist Tempest in the song Do It by Nelly Furtado. (See EM411 story, Wikipedia article.) But Timbaland isn’t alone.

At least Timbaland was using a sample; some artists steal whole songs outright. The notorious Norwegian duo Fitts for Fights performed entire sets stolen from demoscene/"microscene" recordings — and kept playing the stolen tunes live.

In April of this year, Laromlab released an entire album — every last track — stolen from other recordings. After CMJ reported the story, widely discussed on chip community 8-bit collective, the "artist" was forced to admit the entire album was a "hoax." (Thanks, Peter Swimm, for the tip.)

In fact, the track record here demonstrates that, for all Timbaland’s press as the most famous figure involved, micromusical plagiarism is rampant. It’s not just geeks getting defensive; there’s something to this, fueled by the novelty and apparent obscurity of the music. (See also: an ongoing thread on Pouet.net.)

Crystal Castles and Creative Commons

The real Lo-bat, please stand up. Lo-bat, framed by Voltage Controlled’s visuals, at Blip Festival 2007. Photo: Joshua Davis, aka Bit Shifter, via Flickr.

The latest episode combines 8-bit musical plagiarism with an abuse of Creative Commons licenses. Crystal Castles is a Toronto-based band that’s gotten quite a lot of positive press for their use of 8-bit sounds, including a keyboard with an Atari chip. (And there’s the source of the problem: this stuff is "hot" partly because it’s novel to mainstream press.)

Unfortunately, some of Crystal Castles’ sound apparently isn’t their their own.

8-bit collective again noticed something is amiss, this time with their track "Insecticon." Far from simply sampling a track, the tune rearranges entire musical contents as the basis of the new tune. (Many in the 8-bit collective community at least claim they’re pro-sampling.)

There’s a difference in this case, though: the tune in question is Creative Commons-licensed. It’s possible Crystal Castles thought, incorrectly, that that meant "free." However, the CC license used specifically requires attribution, non-commercial use, and that the derivative work be released under the same license — that’s three strikes against Crystal Castles. The GPL license used in open source software has similar stipulations, and neither license means something isn’t protected by copyright law — the maker of something is still the copyright holder, and uses those rights to define the way in which they want their work used and shared.

Noted chiptune musician Marc Nostromo (M-.-n) writes us with a detailed explanation:

1. There is an unreleased track of Crystal Castles called ‘instecticon’ that borrows whole chunks of belgian artist lo-bat’s work.
Here is crystal’s track:
Insecticon
and here is lo-bat’s
My Little Droid Needs a Hand
Even tho the original track has been pitched down and chopped, there is no doubt it’s the same. Gameboy sounds are hard to get and the chances of getting the same complex sound lo-bat can get is absolutety zero.
The track is also featured on CC’s record label myspace
http://www.myspace.com/liesrecords
and although it NOW says lo-bat Vs. CC, it wasn’t before the story got found out:
http://discodirt.10pm.org/insecticon.png
Another ‘unreleased’ track of them ‘bitter hearts’ is just a mash up of several lo-bat tracks with ugly drums on it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4vWlbO_qoQ

2. There are two aspect in this.

A) The first is obviously that Crystal Castles broke (and still does) the creative common license that the track was released under. The license specifies that the track can be used, remixed and transformed under the following conditions:
1- Attribution. You must give the original author credi t
2- Non-Commercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
3- Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a licence identical to this one
In this case, non of the points have been respected.
It’s quite a big deal since a LOT of artists are trusting creative commons and this story puts the license to doubt, since it seems people can break it and use other people’s work to look cool or build a hype. Even if lo-bat’s work has not been directly used for commercial purposes, it certainly has been used to build the image that they were out there, build press and get visibility.

B) Crystal Castles has been getting a lot press using the image of getting sounds nobody did before by using modified old console chips and is somehow stealing the whole ‘concept’ that the chiptune community is based on, and now we discover that rather than thanking the very own ground of this, they actually ripped the guts of it.

It’s actually not the first time they steal someone else’s artwork, there’s been quite a big issue about them using someone else’s drawing for their own stuff.

The artwork example is a good one. In that case, Crystal Castles "found" an image that they decided to use without credit for promotional materials in the hopes that "the artist might reveal themselves." Then, when that artist did reveal himself, it seems the band strung him along about payment and used the artwork on everything from an album cover to t-shirts without permission. (Hint: if you’re a band and think you might yourself get into similar trouble, put it in writing and avoid fights. Well, unless you’re trying to rip off the artist, in which case, uh, behave like Crystal Castles?)

They Fought The Law And The Law Won

CC badges, photographed by ryanne lai hiu yeung.

I’d like to respond to the concerns about CC.

This isn’t the first time Creative Commons itself has been under scrutiny. Virgin Mobile got into trouble when it used Creative Commons-licensed images from Flickr in an ad campaign. (See discussion on Creative Commons’ site.) That case was similar to this one:

1. Virgin didn’t follow the license terms. They simply assumed the CC-licensed stuff was "free" and violated specifics of the license.

2. A CC license doesn’t mean you’re magically above the law. In Virgin’s case, the bigger problem was that the CC license doesn’t excuse you from the need to get a model release, legal permission to use someone’s image. When people in the photos found themselves plastered around the city without their permission, they were understandably upset — which is why the laws protecting people are in place to begin with. Now, I’ll admit, this is one rule that gets regularly ignored — but that doesn’t change the law, and it seems if you were plastering someone’s image on bus stops everywhere, you’d be more than typically cautious.

CC, of course, isn’t to blame, and far from discouraging people from using CC licenses, I think this illustrates the need for them. Bottom line:

  • CC isn’t the problem. Works released under a traditional copyright are just as susceptible to abuse as works released under a CC license. These rules are tough to enforce sometimes — but that doesn’t mean they’re not the law.
  • You still own what you make, for a reason. International and national laws protect creators from other people abusing their work. Copyright law came about because creators’ livelihoods were threatened by people stealing their output. Just because something isn’t a physical object doesn’t mean it isn’t theft if someone else takes it, especially if they call it their own. These laws hold even if you use "free", open source licenses or Creative Commons licenses. They give you the freedom to share your work in the way you want. Even the most radical advocates of these licenses believe in that right. Anyone who thinks they’re above the law because of a license is dead wrong.
  • The best enforcement is publicity. True, online access is making this kind of theft more common — but it’s also making it easier to track. Websites helped publicize all of the cases in this story. They didn’t always result in financial damages, but they did help put credit where credit was due, and often stopped the infringing activity from continuing.
  • Creative Commons is helping, not hurting. By raising the visibility of copyright issues and specific licenses, CC is activating awareness of these issues. True, some people misunderstand CC licenses as meaning something is "free" — but that’s the point of CC. People assume anything online is "free" for their use. CC puts that responsibility back in the hands of the person making the stuff, and gives them choices about how something will be used (will it be non-commercial, will other people be allowed to remix their work, etc.)?
  • Sharing is good — and you shouldn’t have to choose between sharing and your rights. The whole reason for Creative Commons is that people want to share their work, but they want some basic rights: they may not want someone making money off the result, and they will almost always want credit. The whole point of CC is that it’s your legal and ethical right to make those choices for what you’ve made.

CDM Goes CC

I haven’t done it literally because I haven’t gotten around to it, but it’s time for CDM to put its license where its mouth is. We’ve already released images and videos under a Creative Commons license, and this week we’ll be changing the license for all content on the site to a Creative Commons license. (I’ll update the footer with copyright notices on all our sites soon.) The thing is, traditional copyright rules unfortunately haven’t protected us in the way we’d like anyway; it doesn’t stop people from re-purposing RSS feeds for spam blogs, for instance. But for people who do obey the rules, we’d like to encourage sharing. We’ll be working on new projects that, beyond my usual ramblings and rants, could really benefit from this license. Stay tuned.

And if you have questions about CC in general, I have some contacts that can elucidate some of these legal issues. So stay tuned — we’ll follow up on this story, and on CC legality in general.

Remember, your source for all things Creative Commons — including friendly search engines that help you find content like this Flickr images — is creativecommons.org.

  • Ugga

    so who stole from who?

    watch the second half of the video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LepUbHjT-Z8

    first of all timba should pay up.

  • Mr.Grumps

    This story is sad because it represents the Toronto music scene quite well : a total rip off. People in TO care way too much about being cool. This is just an excellent example of it.

    I played in bands, worked in clubs and studio's downtown for 13 years and found most artists sick with the "indie rock star" disease. There is some fantastic talent in the city that isn't so caught-up.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Ugga: The YouTube poster in question is blatantly racist. As the post above makes clear, everyone from faux Norwegian synthpop duos to Canadian indie bands appear to be "getting away with it." So I wouldn't believe anything that poster says.

    Turning to the actual evidence:

    In the case of AYO Technology, there doesn't seem to be any ripping off going on. (Just because you hear a SID doesn't mean the thing was pirated.) No one identified the source on 8bc:
    http://8bitcollective.org/forums/viewtopic.php?id

    The best theory I've heard comes from this blog:
    http://thomascrownchronicles.blogspot.com/2007/11

    It seems to be a sample CD in that track.

    No matter. The track is pretty lousy. There's plenty of fantastic hip-hop to go listen to instead of that.

  • http://www.glomag.com glomag

    Great article! Very well reasoned and thorough. Now we have something we can point people to who haven't grasped it yet. Thanks Peter.

  • Wait a second

    It's an unreleased demo. I'd understand the problem if it was released. It's not. I don't see the problem.

  • http://toilville.com peter

    um if you post a file on myspace doesnt that mean YOU RELEASED IT?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, right. It was effectively released. And I'd say the fact that it was caught *before* they had a chance to do more damage by releasing it more widely is good news.

  • http://www.quoico.com RichardL

    > Now we have something we can point people to who haven’t grasped it yet.

    http://www.CreativeCommons.org is also a great place to point people, and it's specifically designed to be easily digestible and usable by both consumers and producers of content.

  • here

    thanks for the article. underground/alt/indie music and art has always thrived on authenticity. as that authenticity erodes it becomes no better than the mainstream junk it claims to be an alternative to.

    three reasonably well documented instances of art theft are more than enough to give us reason to string crystal castles up as an example to all.

  • dy-wen

    Hey Hey,

    Just to say that there seems to be some confusion about the term "to release": in the old school days a record had to be released, made, distributed etc.

    Nowadays, putting your music online is releasing it and all the legal matter that goes with it, whether you put a creative commons license on it or nothing at all (when you put no license on it, your music is automatically copyrighted, in the "traditional" sense).

    Creative Commons is as legal as copyright, whether you are linked to an author rights organization or not…

    (I know Lo-Bat quite well and I helped launch Creative Commons in Belgium :-P – In case of hardcore questions, I know the lawyer that translated the CC license to Belgian law…)

  • Ugga

    @Peter,

    yes the poster is a racist idiot. I'm just looking at the video from a musical standpoint – to me it sounds pretty much the same…same progression, same arpeggio pattern, similar sound.

    yes, he maybe didn't directly sample it, but got someone to reprogram it in a chiptune vst.

    very low and unoriginal for such a "big" producer…

  • http://soyuz7.net Chris

    it could be argued that sampling has been the backbone behind countless music styles… but the older and wiser me argues sampling this time around is done for quite less than altruistic reasons. this sadly, is more common than ever before. CC does indeed have more talent (I suppose thats a subjective point) than just putting their name on someone else material, and I admit I like some of it, but the dishonesty was apparent.

    @ here, I agree. Its the lack of it that makes me wait sardonically for the moment when people begin to realize how much they've been lied to and misrepresented. we unfortunately live in a world where the image is more important than the "thing" and it's all too easy for people to keep getting away with stuff like this.

  • http://little-scale.blogspot.com Sebastian Tomczak

    I just wanted to say thanks for the excellent article, Peter. You cover the most important aspects of this issue with clarity.

  • Marcus

    I hope people are downloading the two tracks in question and really having a good long listen for themselves.

    It's one thing to have a dispute. But sour grapes appears to up the witch-hunt quotient quite a lot here.

  • http://soyuz7.net Chris

    maybe it is sour grapes. maybe im old fashioned. I just don't agree with nor accept these people that pass off other peoples work, or derivative work as their own either through out right lying, misrepresentation or anything that will leave the listener assuming the work is original.

    it's a question of ethics that affects everyone. it's a problem bigger than daft punk or crystal castles.

  • http://myspace.com/8gb Akira || 8GB

    @Ugga, you CANNOT reproduce that with a VST or some such thing.

    programming the Gameboy, as said in the article, it's complicated in teh WAVE channel which this song has a plenty and has always bee na -signature- of Lo-Bat's sound. This is the song taken, NOT redone.

    Very nice article Peter, thanks.

  • http://www.glomag.com glomag

    @ Marcus- you should read Lo-bat's point of view on this before calling sour grapes. (read it in the 8bc forum link in the article.)

    He has been very level-headed and understanding in this. He accepted that they sampled the song originally, even though this is MUCH more than sampling (they use almost the entire track), but he was angry that they flouted the rather clear Creative Commons license. Add to this the fact that in interviews Crystal Castles has claimed to have no connection to the chiptune scene. No connection except that they rip off tracks!

    There are legitimate uses of sampling. This is pretty clearly not one.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Ugga: from what I can tell, there's a sample CD that may have been the source for both Crystal Castles and Timbaland in that case.

    @RichardL: oh, yeah, I just sort of assumed people knew the CC site but it is well worth visiting if they haven't, so I added that link; thanks!

    @Marcus: I think that what we're seeing is a pattern of this kind of abuse from various musicians. And I think the point is that folks like Lo-bat are all about sampling and Creative Commons; the problem is that if those licenses are abused, they lose meaning. And that's no good. I'm not singling out Crystal Castles here; this is a bigger problem than that. And "watchdogging" the situation to me is the solution, so I'm happy to support the artists blowing the whistle.

    Thanks to everybody for the feedback; I appreciate it!

  • http://trash80.net trash80

    Heres a more obvious ripoff from CC…

    Covox's Sunday:
    http://www.covox.net/audio/covox_-_sunday.mp3

    Crystal Castles crap:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpC_USbCE7E&fe

  • amplifier

    You might want to check this one too.

    http://www.pileup.com/babyart/blog/?p=81

    Apparently these guys have ripped of their album/Tshirt art as well.

    But you know maybe it's working for them. I'd never heard of them before. And I get a feeling that a lot of people just won't care. In fact I think a blatant disregard for copyright will actually make them look cool.

  • http://andrew.hicox.com plurgid

    holy alliteration, batman!

    Crystal Castles Craptastically Clobber Creative Commons!

    film at 11.

  • http://tactical-briefcase.com Caspian

    Blatant disregard for copyright may make them look cool for all of the few months it takes for SOCAN and CIPO to swoop in if anyone makes a copyright claim.

    Basically, Canadian law doesn't care if it's CC or not, as long as it was registered somewhere, whoever uses it without permission is violating Canadian Copyright law. However, it gets a little more tricky to argue or enforce if it's not registered somewhere.

    Unfortunately, musical taste does not extend to intellectual property and good behaviour. These people want to sell records and be rockstars, and don't seem to care how they get there.

  • KCross!!!

    Great article.

    @trash80:

    Yeah they definitely sound similar, I wouldn't say the same though, the drums just sound the same with the same starting note. The rest is typical boring arppeggio's mixed with distorted vocals – in other words Crystal Castles.

  • http://trash80.net trash80

    they sampled the drums from covox. that is what i was referring to.

  • gwenhwyfaer

    Wow, Mosh Girl took up heroin and joined a band… seriously, I know (those thieving bas–er, magpies) Crystal Castles haven't cast themselves in a flattering light, but surely there are slightly less frightening pictures you could put on the front page of CDM?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @gwenhwyfaer: it's part of our after-school special, DARE to Just Say No To Violating Terms of The Creative Commons License.

    @trash80: I'm with the others; I can't tell if that track is a rip or if it's just derivative. Derivative music, of course, would be a much older / pre-digital trend … ;)

  • Marcus

    So, ummm, sampled drums are bad bad no no to someone here.

    Then at least one person don't like the Toronto music scene and that was a big wide black tarry brush painted over an interesting scene.

    A lot of people seem to not like Crystal Castle's music at all and feel that this is relevant.

    Someone else thinks the photo is horrid.

    Add to this that the article makes us feel quite sure that the band members are major asshats the way they supposedly strung along an artist over payment. Then I read the article and before even getting to the punchline realized that this artist sounds like quite a difficult person himself.

    And to top it off, o what a lark to read the writings of the 8-bit collective "discussing" Crystal Castles. Lots of personal attacks to say the least.

    And even more interesting is to read the original Lo-Bat comment. As far as I can tell he's saying its sampled and is theirs is original work, but he's also saying that its restricted by his license which doesn't allow any commercial purpose. I'm really unclear on how much sampling is acceptable (in the community, not the DCMA or whatever), but let's just be clear that Lo-Bat doesn't allow commercial use, thinks its non-plagiarist use of samples, but believes they must license the samples (and apparently wouldn't license them anyway according to his non-commercial clause).

    On the topic of open source and licenses, many people don't realize that the CC license is configurable, and that Lo-Bat is placing fairly heavy restrictions on usage for the open source world. In open source software for instance almost all licenses allow you to "remix" and use commercially. Many popular licenses let you remix, use commercially, and not even share. But artists have a funny little thing about their precious that's not quite as common in the software world. it's a if they are certain that the horrible thief is entirely unsuccessful without that one piece of IP supposedly lifted with complete malice.

    What would really be fun to find out is if its legal or not to extract and use Gameboy samples the way he does?

    In any case, being a miser I really really need a new pitchfork, so sign me up for the mob!!! :-)

    (And please delete your "liberated" MP3s on all your computers and storage before you flame me for my disrespect for the artists.)

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Marcus, there are a ridiculous number of open source licenses. Show me the one that doesn't require attribution, doesn't require the inclusion of the license with the software. I've never, ever seen one that lacks explicit requirements. Heck, even the GNU/GPL license *itself* is a copyrighted document; the Copyright is owned by the Free Software Foundation. Open source does not mean "free" as in "do whatever the heck you want." It actually requires these explicit legal protections in order to support the specific freedoms the authors of these licenses want. And that's a good, productive process.

    You have every right to be critical of the way artists are handling themselves, or the way the discussion is held. But I have to passionately disagree with you that artists are somehow more protective than other people of work they've created.

    I think that artists actually want a *broader* spectrum of rights — and it's a spectrum, as CC themselves argue.
    http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Spectrumofrights_

    For some, that does mean allowing more freedom with use. And music has a long tradition of that — one far older than software or computers. (Talk to, for instance, Irish folk musicians, who have long made "borrowing" each other's work part of the tradition.)

    Look, if I released Firefox, as is, but changed the name to Kirnfox and claimed I invented it, that'd be plagiarism. ;) Now, obviously, there's gray area in between, but that's why we have licenses — so it's black and white, and you know what your rights are.

  • http://gameboygenius.8bitcollective.com/wordpress/ nitro2k01

    <a&gt <a href="http://;http://gameboygenius.8bitcollective.com/wordpress/2008/05/06/crystal-castles-and-chip-music-copyright-infringements/” target=”_blank”>;http://gameboygenius.8bitcollective.com/wordpress/2008/05/06/crystal-castles-and-chip-music-copyright-infringements/
    Here's both my opinion on the matter and as well as a list of Crystal Casttle's copyright infringements. If you have any tips, post a comment to my blog or in the thread on 8bitcollective.

  • gwenhwyfaer

    So Marcus, I'm intrigued. Is your argument "the last sin in a chain is no longer a sin", "let he who is without sin cast the first stone", or "stop being mean to my friends"?

  • tobamai

    Hmm… been a long time since I've had to explain gratis vs. libre to anyone. Looks like artists who sample need to have that talk.

    I think the publicity thieves get from this is a very big point to make. Sure, making "an example" of them and publicizing it on the internet raises awareness and tarnishes their image… but I think there should be legal action and that should be the end of it. Why? Because you can't tarnish someone's image if they're unknown. For many sample pirates the publicity of getting news posts on several major sites in one week is more than they'll get in their musical career. You aren't hurting them, you're feeding their 15 minutes of fame. And regardless of if it's good publicity or not, it is free publicity.

    Legal action, end it.

  • MonksDream

    Well said, Peter. Well said.

    @Marcus – Whether lo-bat's wishes amount to "fairly heavy restrictions" is entirely irrelevant. The point is that, as the artist that created the work *he* has the right to say how his work can be used, period. He can choose to give it away without restrictions or demand that it not be used at all. But it's still *his* choice. The CC is only the mechanism for expressing his wishes.

    I have been an IT professional for the last 16 years and I have rarely seen an open source license that allows me to sell the work of others as my own without attribution, permission,, or requiring that it be offered under the same license.

  • http://www.datascraper.org PDX

    I just want to say hi to TRS80 and tell him I miss him.

    :)

    Good article though. :)

  • benji

    start whining!

    if people don't rip off other people you don't get new art.

  • amoeba

    holy cow… is this what the kids listen to these days? man, when i was young, we were lucky if we had 2 bits to rub together.

  • Pingback: Gameboy Genius » Blog Archive » Crystal Castles and Chip Music Copyright Infringements

  • Low Resolution Sunse

    I think, in the interest of further discussion, that there are some other things that rankle our sensibilities in addition to the legalities of the matter.

    The notion that hipsters can co-opt the chip music scene's cultural currency without dues paid (learning Nanoloop, e.g.) seems to really bother folks. They also seem to have been somewhat disingenuous about their process, fabricating some sort of creation myth involving a modded keyboard. They seem, at least in my opinion, to be focused on building mystique around a sort of false outsider-art than owning up to technical aspects of their craft.

  • Rob

    I'm suprised it took someone so long to notice. That track has been on their MySpak page for about 10 months.

  • http://toilville.com peter

    @Low Resolution Sunset

    You really think so? I find the process of creating chipmusic to be extremely well documented, and most of the more arcane depictions of the process are wholly media fabrications, something that most artists cringe at. Hell, most tracker formats are completely open source, you can just open and tweak.

    I think the problem is less that some outsider is crashing the party (no one has problems with a scene crossover act like david sugar) and more with a general lack of respect paid by these groups to the hard work most chiptune musicians have put into their crafts. From timbaland dismissively refring to the sample issue as moot "because its a video game, jerk (sic)" to getting jerked around by reps for fitts, Crystal castles, etc, it seems like no one is offering these artists a leg up, they just want to stand on the shoulders of their achievements.

    On the bright side, maybe this is the equivalent of early 80's rap sampling electro. How much did liquid liquid get paid for white lines?

  • http://myspace.com/8gb Akira || 8GB

    @ Marcus:

    "What would really be fun to find out is if its legal or not to extract and use Gameboy samples the way he does?"

    He doesn't use Gameboy samples, he uses the Gameboy as a sound synthesizer. There are no samples involved, it's sound synthesis…

    People are -really- being confused about the key point here.

    Lo-Bat's reaction was "it's ok to sample and everything, but you have to do it by my licence's rules". These rules are set and, clearly say that any of the points can be bypassed if the author gives permission to do so, so if an agreement is reached, Lo-Bat certainly can allow them to use the stuff commercially.

    One of the key points for me in all this is that they have not properly credited Lo-Bat for the tune, and that they have this derivative work released (and distributed) without the same license Lo-Bat originally put in the tune.

    Focus on the license breach instead of discussing if sampling is illegal or not. Same can be said about the Covox beats. Sampling is OK but they again breached a creative commons license…

  • KCross!!!

    Also, if you listen to that track, then listen to insecticon(the one they blatantly stole) they've used those drums again to try and change lo-bat's track… pathetic…

  • MrMZ

    This shit is simple.

    You're looking at the shortcut generation in full effect right there. Unfortunately technology is an enabler for jerks who won't do the work.

    When they get a little older and have some life perspective and IF they are still trying to create some shit they may see the other side of the argument. I highly doubt it though. A dissapointing amount of 25 and under kids I've met have an appalling sense of entitlement. Couple that with push button digital audio and the internetz as "source material" and now we have 40 plus responses on the CDM page.

    In addition sampling has been around long enough to have parameters which are very different from copying. Artists who sample generally take great pride in the lengths they go to aquire the perfect sound or texture and have no problem documenting it. It is a badge of honor or a measure of authenticity. It is also a great way to learn some music history listing the originals for others to check those artists out as well. Any artist that respects themselves, the process, and the music will respect others who have come before and left their marque.

    These castle people have some kind of cover-up going on which implies guilt. If it isn't a problem then why not rep your sources?

    I'll tell you.

    Because these fools are faking the funk, knowingly.

    In graffiti world we have a saying.

    Don't bite it's not polite.

    Keep it up be ready to fight.

  • Pingback: Crystal Castles and Chip Music Copyright Infringements « Brian Green

  • zenzen

    Go after the label. Even if the CC kids are just plain ignorant and/or reckless, the buck stops with the label.

    Oh, Mr. Grumps, you're right. But it was always thus. Support the good ones. Karma (and time) will take care of the rest.

  • Pingback: Crystal Castles and Chip Music Copyright Infringement « Brian Green

  • http://gameboygenius.8bitcollective.com/wordpress/ nitro2k01

    Akira: Actually, the Covox beats in question were not CC'd*, but just released as promos, which means the default copyright holds for them. (The creator reserves full rights for his work)

    I actually think the sampling of the Covox beat is within the limits of what's acceptable, at least for those beats alone. But if it would later turn out that most or all of CC's** music is sampled from unknowing artists, the sampling of the Covox beats becomes a part of a bigger pattern.

    And apart from the legal aspects, eg license breaches and whether it's legal to sample stuff, there's the aspect of all the kids who think CC has come up with a rad new sound, but don't have a clue about the roots that lead up to bands like CC, whether we're talking about instances of outright sampling, or just aesthetic similarities.

    *Here meaning Creative Commons.

    **Here meaning Crystal Castles.

  • Sizzurp Sippa

    Basically, this is the situation:

    After you invest a certain amount of time/love getting into a band (or getting into anyone), it is difficult to turn your back on them even if you find out they are 100% assholes.

    If someone is into Crystal Castles, and then they find out that Crystal Castles are a bunch of Millie Vanilli thieves, they can either:

    A) Accept that they were suckered, and change their mind about the group – A very difficult thing to do if they have invested time and money.

    B) Dismiss the accusations as some sort of conspiracy or think of some convoluted justification, so they don't feel they have been had.

    It is quite clear to people who never heard of Crystal Castles until now, that they are ripping people off. The only people who are asserting otherwise are the people who where into it before the controversy broke.

  • llamastorm

    The comment I repeatedly seem to be making to folks (as both a photographer and a developer of Open Source software — both areas where licensing is paramount), is that the CC is not about waiver of copyright — copyright is what enables licensing — but is there to provide at least one form of commonly understood initial open licensing. One is still allowed to make deals with the creator of the content to acquire other licensing, but in all cases the author still has his copyright.

    In most cases, abuse would occur even with All Rights Reserved content, as is the case with much of the "sampling" that occurs.

  • Ian Copeland

    As The JAMS observed: "Every song ever written is only made up from bits from other songs. There is no lost chord. No changes untried. No extra notes to the scale or hidden beats to the bar. There is no point in searching for originality."

    It isn't like Crystal Castles pilfered a Beatles tune. Most Chiptune is a bassline and organized noise. CC is writing electro and, man, if you believe there's no undiscovered country in regular music you sure as hell won't find it in electro. And the 8 bit scene's palette is mightly limited which only accelerates the 1,000 monkey effect. So did both artists arrive at the same place at the same time in similar fashion?

    Likely. The songs aren't entirely dissimiliar. But neither is original. And to CC's credit, at least their's sounds like a song. Not a great song, mind, but also not a collection of game sound effects.

    So Creative Commons may not be the problem. It is likely a question of who yelled Eureka first (and, maybe, the fact NME has no idea who lo-bat is).

  • http://discodirt.10pm.org/ M-.-n

    @ian

    you might think chiptune are done by monkeys pressing buttons in a cellar. One thing people seems to fail to understand is that the very tones used by lo-bat are the result of a complex work using Synthetisers for game console. It might not be your cup of tea, fair enough. You might not get the difference, fair too.

    However, there is *zero* chances of getting the same result and there is *no* doubt whatsoever as to whom layed the egg.

  • Steffi

    Peter,

    One thing that really bothers me about the tone of CDM is that sampling is presented as only using a small snippet of a song in a larger original context. What about what Girl Talk does? Making entire tracks out of samples. This blog consistently relies on an antiquated notion of what it means to "sample."

    For example, John Oswald takes Michael Jackson's "Bad," slices it into a thousand pieces and reconstructs into a twisted piece of sound collage. That is awesome, and obviously far more creative than Crystal Castles will ever be, but nonetheless the CDM definition of "sampling" would never even allow for work like that.

  • Sizzurp Sippa

    Ian:

    There is a difference in sampling a loop or chop, and admitting that you make sample music – than taking the full recording of another song, dubbing vocals, and claiming that you created the whole thing yourself.

    People who used the "Amen" break, never claimed to have programmed that break… and they only used a tiny 4 bar chunk of the entire song "Amen Brother".

    If someone took the entire "Amen Brother" song, and simply dubbed vocals over it, and claimed authorship, it would be blatant fraud.

    If Crystal Castles took a recording of the Beatles 'A Hard Day's Night', dubbed some screaming vocals on top with their karaoke machine, and claimed to have written the song, it would be fraud. Well, they did just that, but instead of the Beatles it was a less-known musician, so Crystal Castles thought they would get away with it.

    Any reasonable person should be able to tell the difference between sampling a bar or two (and often paying royalties) as traditionally done in things like hip-hop, and just blatantly jacking an entire track. Crystal Castles are just blatantly jacking other people's music outright.

  • mode

    @MrMZ: I don’t think it’s a good idea to make blanket statements about an entire generation. I see comments like these posted on message boards more frequently these days and I don’t think they are necessarily fair or accurate.

    Look, plagiarism, entitled behavior, and sheer idiocy are things that have been around a very long time. Every generation has its share. The main difference now is that, as you correctly point out, the *tools* that are available make it *easier* for idiots like CC to plagiarize. But they also make it easier for them to be caught. So we *see* it happening more often.

    The CC kids and similar rip off artists don’t represent my generation, and they sure as hell don’t represent me.

    (age: 23)

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Steffi: hey, John Oswald's definition of sampling works for me, too. No argument from me. Composer friend of mine did something similar with minimalist renditions of the Beatles — all in the composition, no digital technology. And that goes back to much earlier musical traditions, deriving a cantus firmus from other pieces. So I'm not anti-sampling. In fact, I think you have *more* questions of ownership and originality in a digital age.

    Peter

  • Low Resolution Sunse

    back @ peter: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that chipmusic was super arcane! but you cut to the core of my idea right in your response. They sampled when they didn't have to.

    You have also better handle on what I mean by CC not paying dues than I do. These cats should know better that to write their sources off as a novelty.

    You're right to bring up hip hop and electro, though. I'm pretty pissed at CC, because I like their album, but I'm AM interested in how this shakes up the various digital music scenes…

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  • http://www.glomag.com glomag

    @ Ian Copeland:

    Congratulations for writing the least informed post yet.

    If you think chiptunes are all electro, you just haven't listened to much. Check out Bud Melvin, Mark Denardo, Anamanaguchi, Bubblyfish, amongst many, many others that have nothing to do with electro.

    The two songs are not only "dissimilar," one uses large portions of the audio of the other with some overdubbed vocals and editing. You really are downplaying a pretty blatant bit of appropriation and ignoring most of the responses and opinions expressed here. Most importantly, you seem to have no opinion on the crucial point- that Crystal Castles not only sampled large parts of the Lo-bat track, but did not try to contact him for permission or abide by the specific license he set forth. These would have been simple things for them to do. They obviously just chose to just take it and hope he didn't notice.

    Why did you have to quote the JAMs? I love them!

  • http://soyuz7.net Soyuz

    @ LRS

    i actually agree with your original comment. i think the intent to deceive is as serious an issue as the lack of credit / CC abuse.

  • bliss

    Fact is, most sample based music is produced before the samples are cleared. Sample based music, especially the collage styles of some rap music, will most definitely be produced prior to getting samples cleared. Why would one bother covering the cost of getting a sample cleared without first knowing whether it works in a track? Thing is, these days hip hop producers do not advertise the samples that they are using until after they have received clearance. They do this because of the litigious climate enveloping the use of samples. Lawyers will threaten to sue based on rumor. They will even try to sue if a portion of music that is not a sampled or plagiarized sounds similar to a source their client owns the copyright to.

    The system is screwed up. One cannot even apply the doctrine of Fair Use to sampling anymore. Even visual artists are having a hard time. We know that there is no such thing as owning something that has been publicly released. We also know that there needs to be a mechanism that allows artists to get paid. That's where copyright law plays a role. What we have forgotten is that art is not created in a vacuum. It is not created out of nothing. That's where the now defunct doctrine of Fair Use used to play a role. One can create something new and original, but it generally will be made out of preexisting ideas. And that is what was at the heart of early sample-based rap music. The ideas and the sound that could be applied to a new art form. But the music industry and their lobbyists chose to portray sampling as theft, and eventually the judges sided against the artists.

    One shouldn't be surprised, though. In the artificial systems we refer to as civilization and capitalism, it should be expected that natural behavior would become suppressed. Anyone can study classical compositions, jazz compositions, improvised musical performances of any kind and come to the understanding that sampling is the lifeblood of music. But tell that to a judge today.

    Artificial laws to back an artificial economy that props up an artificial society. Doesn't mean these things aren't real, just means they are not natural. Except, again, the necessity to suppress nature is a natural consequence of these artificial systems.

    Anyway, the doctrine of Fair Use kept the system in check. Kept it in balance. Folks are talking about racism. What I know is that Andy Warhol created the most wealthy estate of any visual artist ever in the history of the world. And he did it using samples. Folks forgot about that, conveniently or otherwise, and took the legal whip to hip hop artists.

    All artists suffer. Some more than others. That's nothing new.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @bliss: You may be interested in this:
    http://creativecommons.org/license/sampling

    I agree that the Fair Use doctrine has been wildly diluted (since a small amount of sampling would hardly constitute "substantiality") — but the principle was vague from the start. And the bottom line is, the copyright holder has always been the final say. If you feel there isn't enough sharing in the world, then you should be explicit with that right and how you intend to share it. But that only has value and meaning if other people obey the intent and terms of the license you dictate. I don't think that's unfair.

    Bottom line: Lo-bat created work he wanted other people to share, provided they attributed it, didn't use it for advertising or specific revenue purposes, and shared the work they created, too. That's not unfair, and it's not vague. Crystal Castles failed on the credit, and they failed on sharing their work (ie, we should be able to sample crystal castles' song, too). Because they didn't release on a for-sale CD, they actually didn't fail the non-commercial test.

    But there's plenty of CC-licensed media out there, plenty to build on.

  • MrMZ

    @ Mode

    You're right I should have been more careful in my wording. I was speaking in my experience and not saying all young people are wack. I have a few friends in the twenties who are very positive, creative and genuinely enthused about what they do. I think the ratio of people I meet is slanted to lazy and moderately interested. I don't know why and hope that isn't the norm.

    Let me also add that I respect anyone who gets up and puts themselves out there to pursue their craft whether or not the end result is good, great or amazing.

    Good call though. Keeping me sharp I like it.

    I guess in the end it all just balances out. I just hope the interntez will always be on patrol.

    Respect.

  • http://www.myspace.com/liliththekitten lilith

    "On the bright side, maybe this is the equivalent of early 80’s rap sampling electro. How much did liquid liquid get paid for white lines?"

    from what I understand they didn't get shit. They and/or their record company sued Sugar Hill and won, but Sugar Hill went bankrupt and didn't pay. Think the story is in the liner notes to a Soul Jazz compilation, probably NY Noise.

    there was a lot of great use of sampling, "White Lines" included IMO, going on at the time.

    Anyone know if Kraftwerk actually cared when everybody sampled them?

  • phlexor

    The thing that bugs me more than the sampling itself is the fact that about a month ago I read an interview where they claimed they had nothing to do with the chiptune/8-bit scene and that they had only discovered it after their success, but had no connection to it. This press hype Crystal Castles is getting about "sounds that have never been used before" is also a little laughable in light of the discovery that these tracks are sample based (i guess we were supposed to believe that the taped up spot on the back of the guys microkorg was where the magic atari 5200 chip was inserted) On the plus side, lo-bat has some top notch tracks which I most certainly would never have heard had it not been for this controversy – so I'm on the fence on this issue i guess.

  • phlexor

    I should add to that, there is another track "magic spells" by crystal castles which I believe samples the synth line from "the message" by grandmaster flash and the furious five. I think this is a great track and a very creative use of the sample. anyways, my ramblings don't really have anything to do with CC licenses so ill shut up now.

  • dimestore

    At the risk of this getting lost in the plethora of comments here…

    I'm surprised that nobody has noted that the Crystal Castles song rips off 'Insecticide' by Fad Gadget even more than it rips off the other bloop-bloop song thing.

  • Ian Copeland

    @glomag

    "If you think chiptunes are all electro, you just haven’t listened to much."

    In my post, I wrote "CC is writing electro…" Referring to Crystal Castles. But you are correct, it is not a scene I follow. On the plus side, I was directed to Covox's page and introduced to a band I might have otherwised missed.

    As for having "the least informed opinion"… I know that going in. But, hey, in a converstaion about copyright and what PWEI gleefully called 'robbing and stealing,' I was frankly surprised no one had mentioned The Jams (KLF).

    'Abba Joins The Jams' is the recipe Crystal Castles followed. To the letter. The Jams sampled an entire Abba tune into an AMS Time Window and basically talked crap over the top. The record was a sensation with DJs but only after Abba noisily sued. The record label, as part of the settlement, "recalled" the illegal mix — the replacement cheekily included an instruction sheet for recreating the illegal mix on your decks. The illegal vinyl became a collector's item and the band got a shedload of free press, at least in the UK. Had there been an internet in the 80s, things may have turned out differently for Lord Rock and Time Boy.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Ian: Interesting … I suspect that what would have happened had there been an Internet is that "Abba Joins The Jams" would have been even *more* popular. ;)

    What's interesting to me about this is that there's clearly, for many people, a line with what's considered plagiarism. It's not legal/illegal, maybe not even right/wrong, but it means that a band passing off other people's stuff as their own in some kind of substantial way passes over into the "uncool" territory. So "Abba Joins The Jams" would be reasonably safe. These aren't legal definitions, but they're arousing such passionate feelings that I think this *is* bad press for Crystal Castles — particularly as that band uses its supposed savvy with 8-bit sounds as a selling point.

  • http://soyuz7.net soyuz

    @ Peter

    maybe were reaching a saturation point in the internet culture of copy and paste personas. maybe the tide is turning against it and people are hungry for honesty and sincere self expression.

  • mode

    Right on, MrMZ. I understand your frustration and don't doubt you've met plenty of people in my generation that are in need of some perspective. The unfortunate thing is that it will always be easier to find people who don't respect the craft, who are in it for the wrong reasons, and who may (sadly) have a cynical view of older people. I live in a college town where there is some sort of self-proclaimed "live music scene" so I see it all the time. It's to be expected.

    As easy as it is to be cynical of all that, I find the best rememdy is to keep an open mind, focus on what I love and be true to my own instincts. When I do that none of that other bullshit matters. And the real, geniune people have a way of making themselves known.

    peace and love

  • martin brinkmann

    afair the song was called "the queen and i" (there is also one called "whitney joins the jams"), and it uses

    not the entire song (like todays (a few years ago…) 'bastard pop' tracks, but "only" an 8 (iirr) bar loop.

    and i think it makes a difference whether you use an obvious sample from a well known song, or sample an unknown track and pretend that you have made it

    yourself.

  • http://www.stardotstudio.com christian.ryan

    Part of what's interesting about sampling, to me at least, is how the artist uses the sample to creatively reference the source material – either in homage, ironically, or otherwise. When Dangermouse samples The Beatles, there's a historical reference happening and a dialog occurs within the music. When Rhianna's track "Don't Stop the Music" samples Michael Jackson, that's an obvious homage to the source material.

    When Crystal Castles "samples" an unknown chiptune artist, I fail to see any creative intertextuality happening.

    It's clear that Crystal Castles, in addition to not understanding how Creative Commons works, don't seem to understand how creative music works either. It's just easier to post tracks on myspace pages and pretend like ethics don't apply to you.

  • http://www.glomag.com glomag

    Ian,

    you are right. I misread your post. Sorry about shooting off, and thanks for not fanning my flames.

    I disagree with your anaolgy to the JAMs though. As Peter points out, the JAMs credited ABBA in the title, and, as Martin points out, they were sampling a very well known song. There is a power relationship that is reversed in the Crystal Castles example- a realtively well-known band sampled a relatively obscure artist without attribution.

    Dimestore, I don't have a copy of the Fad Gadget track here, but it is called "Incesticide" and sounds nothing like the Crystal Castles track as I recall.

  • http://www.myspace.com/prospect Jon

    AH! The Covox rip off really bothers me. I'm a HUGE fan of Covox and they havae blatantly ripped him off.

  • B.D.

    Covox and Lo-bat may be obscure to a larger public, but correct credit could have placed them in more og a highlight, even with Lo-bat not being active anymore. I think it's laughable these kids are playing in Lo-bat's home country in the largest club now and the promo text states they invented the genre, when the bloke lives only a couple of miles further as I recall, and never got to play there.

    Shows how uninformed the music scene has become over here.

  • http://myspace.com/jphoenixmusic J. Phoenix

    I recall reading an interview with a well known producer in the 80's who said, "Well, once they've sampled all the great songs out there, what are they going to sample after that?"

    Of course, this producer was of the school that put sampling as tantamount to theft from the get-go, but I do finally have an answer for his rhetorical question.

    The hope underpinning Open Source & Creative Commons is that the number of people with respect and decency outweigh the number of people with a lack of respect and decency.

    Interestingly, the number of people with respect have a tendency to find and to point out those who aren't following the rules very effectively.

    And I daresay that participation is the saving benefit behind Open Source and Creative Commons.

    Those actively involved in the communities are serving as a much more effective form of sample clearance/source identification than even major labels are.

    In this way, the Internet and the connection it provides us is exceptional for rooting out and recognizing examples of plagiarism and appropriation–even as it apparently makes it easier to plagiarize and appropriate.

    So I still have hope.

    On the downside, if you believe the adage that any publicity is good publicity, then I wonder who is coming out on top of this story after all?

  • Required Name

    "On the downside, if you believe the adage that any publicity is good publicity, then I wonder who is coming out on top of this story after all?"

    Ask Milli Vanilli!

    The music biz is fickle and volatile. Crystal Castles are looking quite ridiculous now.

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  • amoeba

    this is what happens when people get health care for free

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  • http://discodirt.10pm.org/ M-.-n

    And there's more !!

    So far, 4 songs infringing Creative Commons where found (3 using lo-bat's material, 1 using X-Agon’s released on 8bpp). Note the X-agon's released under 8bpp is using "Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative".

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  • http://www.eightbit.com 8Bit

    Out of numerous releases (I'm writing this as the original 8Bit, post-millenials have stolen my name more than once) I've never sampled another artists work because it's totally not the ARTIST THING TO DO, plus its way easier to make a melody yourself. If you're an artist be an artist, and don't be a thief. If you make chiptune's than MAKE CHIPTUNES, dont sample some SID track or something from the demo scene (like timbaland did) . I find that, as the original musical artist known as 8Bit, I'm in a position to have to defend why I, as an artist that has called himself 8Bit since 1993, does not make "gameboy music". On that note, check out http:///www.eightbit.com for links to my album Reinterpret, which was totally written from scratch and uses live instruments as well as electronic ones.

  • http://eightbit.com 8Bit

    I sampled the actual Crystal Castles themesong from the commie 64 and threw some distorted 909z and derivative vocals to express my point clearer.

    http://eightbit.com/mp3/8Bit%20-%20Crystal%20Batt

  • 8bit

    hmm..sounds like maybe you should change your name..

  • eightbit

    yeah!!

  • humpha

    yeah.. crystal castles aren't as innovative as some teeny weenies think.. however they are smart mofoEz for "borrowing" tracks, selling it as their own and just getting their name out there…

  • 8-bit

    Trent Reznor using the Crystal Crassholes as an opening act is like Obama having Romney as running mate:

    http://www.echoingthesound.org/phpbbx/viewtopic.p

    maybe he'll think again ..

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  • THE SONG WAS NEVER R

    All this anti-Crystal Castles stuff is based on an unreleased song from 2004? I'm sure the publicity Crystal Castles are getting from this is amazing. Well done people.

  • THE SONG WAS NEVER R

    I'm a penis and unable to read. Sorry people.

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  • Bugs

    I havent read all the posts…

    But for all i know, what ive heard from friends and my personal opinion, the stolen stuff Crystal Castles have released is not even good music. Their better tracks are their own, and their lesser ones are… not very much their own.

    Just embarresing for them when their fans dont even appreciate the stolen stuff.

  • Crissy

    Thanks for introducting me to Crystal Castles. If it wasn't for this controversy I would never have known about them. I love their music. The rest of you wasting your time bickering about this – Get a life!!!

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  • http://piratescurse.net Jake

    Well, either way, it's getting them publicity. I only like Crimewave anyhow, that girl's voice is annoying as hell in all the other songs. I'm a large 8bit fan though, and this really turns me off to them as I've heard and have all the tracks mentioned and compared them. Very disappointing, won't listen to them any longer.

  • 8-bit

    so has Prickfork contacted any of the artists who got ripped off? they say they'll be printing cryscraps side..well no one in the realworld fuckin press has even printed this scene's side yet! take note of the publications who are nothing but sock puppets for some industry that no longer even exists in it's same form.. this how the music of the people is treated in our modern age , in fact this how the fuck the world's folk in general of our time.

    time to expose all you nme puppets that have the gaul to call yourselves 'journalists' .

    this is a new playing field you payrolled fucks, your prickfork "reviews" will carry no wieght in the brighter light of history, and ridicule will be thy lot

  • samtb

    hahaha,

    i like 8-bit's piss take song :)

    also @ian & @glowmag

    use your argumentative skills against CC themselves!

    not on our fellow comment brothers!

    also i made a picture ;]

  • samtb

    i cant seem to get the picture to display in a comment here :S

    i'll give a link,

  • samtb

    ok…….. :@

    3rd time lucky,

    http://img380.imageshack.us/img380/1299/ccburgalo

  • Anon.

    I would like to preface what I'm about to say with this: I am remaining anonymous to get a point across with this below anecdotal truth that has recently befallen me without using this post as an ad to my work. Here goes…

    I have roughly been a part of the chiptune/micromusic community since it's inception. Thus, I have been making this type of music for close to 2 full decades. I am extremely thankful to be able to say that my work is well known, and respected by the community. However, I have never, in that time, seen any return other than the aforementioned. I am by no means cheapening, or implying any sort of ingratitude for that respect and praise (which, by the way, hadn't come into my life until the first bulletin board systems, and in the nineties with the growth of the internet, and consisted of electronic pats on the back) until now.

    Not only are people outside "the scene" appreciated what we are all doing (even if for a measly 15 minutes, but recently, I've been approached by parties expressing interest in my original work, offering me an opportunity to make a living out of it. This would not have happened had Crystal Castles not appropriated my work. That's right, MY WORK.

    I assure you, you haven't heard a peep out of me about this, complaining about this and that and demanding money, or criticizing them for making theirs. Upon hearing my work interlaced with their music, I contacted them, made it known to them that I was aware that they had used my work, and that's it. Now, thanks to them, people know more about chiptune, and something that I had never, ever thought possible within my life time is taking place: People, other than us nerds want to hear this music. Take a second and think about that.

    Some may indicate that this is a short lived trend, and very soon, people will be over it and move on, and I say, why not buy in now? Should people grow bored of it, the true enthusiasts will remain, and the community will continue, if not thrive better than it ever did before. As for me, I like to think of myself as diverse, and flexible. I compose electronic music of many different kinds, and after all these years, my masterpiece has yet to be written. They've taken my music, they've used it for their purposes, and they've made what relatively little money they can from it. Frankly, I think the twist they've put on makes it sound better than anything the community could ever create, myself included. I am thankful for what I consider to be their contribution. To be honest, I am a fan of their work, but do I think they have staying power? No.

    I've discussed this with other artists in the community, and those of you know yourselves. We should have some dignity and not appear as the stereotypical sore and abused pizza-faced nerds. You are all talented enough to turn this situation into a better one. Imitators, imposters and "thieves" will fizzle, and now that the spotlight is on you, what will you do to prove your longevity?

  • samtb

    i've known and loved chiptune (and 8-bit) for about 3 years odd now, stumbling across sabrepulse, then the more techno type henry homesweet, then swiftly down to the melodic falco lombardi.

    taking an element from Anon's mammoth comment ;]

    he's right.

    this whole incident is getting chiptune more recognized among those who, before hearing crystal castles, would have hated it.

    while this remains a travesty to the chip community it provides much needed publicity.

    or so i think,

    jus sharing my thought y'all.

  • THE INFRINGING SONGS

    I am huge a CC fan and had no idea these tracks existed. They sound really shit compared to the CC stuff that everyone knows.

  • dylan

    wouldn't this just be considered sampling?

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  • McHunt

    The fact of the matter is: fuck Crystal Castles. They stole/sampled from other musicians, and then lied about it. There's no problem with sampling, but there is a problem with lying about it. Had Crystal Castles never ripped of Lo-Bat or Covox, they would've never become popular. It's the same thing as Timbaland, who was an already established artist before he sampled that SID track; Crystal Castles became popular BECAUSE they sampled. The sounds in Crystal Castles' music that the mainstream music press fell in love were created by Lo-Bat and Covox and whoever else Crystal Castles sampled from, not by them. The fact that they sampled obscure tracks that they thought no one listened to and then claimed that they not only made the sounds themselves (with a magic MicroKORG, no less), then denied that they ever heard of the scene is the problem. That is why I say Fuck Crystal Castles. If I see them live, I'm gonna throw a fucking huge Sega Game Gear at them, with all three hundred batteries in it.

  • McHunt

    Oops. I meant to say 'It's NOT the same thing as Timbaland…'That kind changes the whole context of what I meant to say.

  • John Anonymouse

    50 Cent: "if they hate then let em hate & watch the money pile up"

    not that that's exactly what you're doing here, but rah rah more press for Crystal Castles.

    they should give credit where credit is due, but much ado about nothing, no?

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  • dotty

    they havent denied knowing about the 8bit scene, theyre just not a part of it. and they didnt get popular off of just one background tune in two songs. they SAMPLED some music, and lo-bat is apparently fine with their remix. none of the stuff they remixed had lyrics to it, or they were different and alice changed/added to them.

    this all started because trevor brown got greedy (he gave them permission to use the image then decided he wanted $10000 for it which is insane) and he started pushing that they were 'stealing' from people to further his chances of get money (which are probably none cause of all the sh*t that pedophile talks) and because of people in the 8bit scene who feel unrecognized cause theyve been looping mario noises in their parents basements for years and no one gives a crap, and theyre suddenly upset that someone else is getting attention that they wish for themselves. they sampled some tracks a bunch of years ago, people need to get over this whole thing.

  • Crystal Crassholes

    hey the real chip music scene don't give a rats about the 2 selfish immitators in Crystal Crassholes! they're a joke. they don't even know what to steal next haha! i've never seen grown ups acting a like children the way cryscraps and their uninformed lame 'label' do re this issue. they signed a guy who steals shit and they didn't even know…take not of all the publications who talk at all favorably about them regarding this attempted weasly theft of a whole genre. crystal castles and their choice of musical theft is not even interesting anymore. an old dj and a naive poseur that's all they are. get over them and support real music.

  • THANK YOU FOR INTROD

    IF IT WASN'T FOR THIS CONTROVERSY I WOULD HAVE NEVER HEARD OF CRYSTAL CASTLES. I AM NOW OBSESSED WITH THEM. THE SONGS WITH SAMPLES ARE THEIR WORST SONGS. THEIR ORIGINAL SONGS ARE GENIUS.

    CRYSTAL CASTLES FOREVER.

  • required name

    What's the matter dotty? (aka Andy of Lies Records and Crystal Castles MySpace), no one listening to you?, no one believing you?. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • uninformed record la

    hah.. every interview i read w your boy claudio palmieri ak ethankath (aka old anonymous dj til he stole sounds and claimed he made them til he got caught cos andy told everyone those songs were from 2005) makes me laugh..now he claims he that fictitious transplanted atari chip was circuit-bending..hahah! he don't even know what circuit-bending is…it ain't chip switching dumb ass lies records and 2 idiots who couldn't get signed til they stole. 'feotus fatale' indeed .. hahaha! like 12 year old mentality

  • shitmusic label

    i think it's absolutely orgasmic* that your 2idiots have to explain away all this in every interview =D it's karmic that 8bitcollective.com has increased membership greatly, w youg members from the world over , who see the real scene and post lots of dislike for cryscraps :)

    the cryscrap idiots2 are just anothe in long line of irritating footnotes to chipmusic that we have to wipe off, like timalame and the rest of the nameless losers in the hall of shame:

    http://8bitcollective.com/wiki/Hall_of_Shame

    time to start a hall of shame for the'jounalists' who cover these losers and don't mention the creative commons issues or the fact that the actual official album has countless uncleared chiptune artist samples..telling that they cleared all the famous samples but would even give a shout to the small guys, which is all they would wanted! but lies rec and cryscrap wouldn't understand that. they're about not paying people they steal from as is evidenced by over 10! incidents now!!??

  • snyggast

    "get over them and support real music."

    no mainstream music, even classical music, is 'real music' for this crowd. this is the same type of pseudo artists (unemmployed) who prefer to stay 'underground and remain obscure. so they say. but the only reason why their careers never take off is because they're mediocre. being underground or 'real and hardcore' is not a choice but an excuse.

    yet these same people are quick to defend timbaland, john mayer and but single out CC only because Cc brought the genre to the masses, not to mention add lyrics and made the usual 8-bit garbage sound poppish.

    Remember NIN?

  • Name
  • Unbeknownst Lo-Bat F

    I NEVER WOULD HAVE HEARD ABOUT LO-BAT IF IT WAN"T FOR THIS CONTROVERSY! THANKS CRYSTAL CASTLES!

  • http://www.amazingmusicvideos.com Alex

    Electronic music is an entire genre of people taking other people's sounds and making them their own. It's silly when people start bickering over sounds just because an artist becomes successful. Crystal Castles stole a sound from Lo-Bat which I'm sure Lo-Bat 'created' by stealing someone else's sound and modifying it. . . when are the original creators of the NES 8-bit midi sounds going to sue all 'chiptunes' artists over 'techno theft'?

    on that note, enjoy this Crystal Castles video:

    http://amazingmusicvideos.com/2008/06/23/crystal-

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  • http://www.photoretouchonline.ru/ Antanida

    Thanks! gut text

  • http://www.thexvid.com/articles/23797/four-ways-to-make-the-case-for-outsourcing gameIsose

    Very usefull post, i think i will use it.

    Thanks.

  • mnorgovudkka

    Hy my name is mnorgovudkka

    Im from mongolia

    Buy

  • Ian MacKaye

    Screw CC, Law.

    PUNK ROCKERS DON'T ASK PERMISSION!

  • this post is factual

    Timbaland did more than sample in the case of "Do It", he actually incorporated the melody and bassline into his song. It appears that this was settled with a gag clause for both musicians (the sampled version was a cover done with permission.)

    As for where he got the files, it's clear he downloaded a SID collection anthology for use with his SIDstation.

  • dght

    alex when people use other people things on electronic music, they pay for it, like french house artists, like daft punk, le knight club and others, they use a lot of parts 80's songs on their musics, but they pay for it. The only guys that use without paying are guys like tape beatles, negativeland and others similar artists. Also speedcore artists and others ultra strange hardcore sub-genre artists, also dont pay, but they are so underground that the sampled artists dont see them.

  • dght

    …. and care about them

  • anthony

    crystal castles are legit. these demo tracks are unreleased, no one has heard these tracks. i can see why they were left off any releases, there's no quality at all.

  • Mike

    Crystal Castles will be a very, very minor footnote in a year. They're really quite meaningless.

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  • Will C.

    Speaking as an artist, albeit an amateur, I will say a few things. The first is that it seems to me a lot of this outrage is simply puerile – boring jabs at Crystal Castle's style and outrageous accusations that all of Crystal Castles' material is stolen. (Personally, I enjoyed the Crystal Castles album. It's no paragon of innovation, but the songwriting is consistent and diverse and the tracks are almost uniformly memorable, which isn't something I can really say for any chiptune albums I've come across.)

    The second thing is that it seems funny that people in the chiptune scene are so outraged about it. For years the scene has complained about being marginalized, overlooked, and misunderstood, but if it is going to get any attention, it'll be through young artists like Crystal Castles, borrowing liberally from the scene's ideas but taking it in a new, poppier direction.

    The third thing is that today's attitude towards "plagiarism" is really strangling to artistic innovation in the field of sampling – a field which has been and likely will be the most interesting one in music technology for quite a while. By the definitions of plagiarism offered here, enormous chunks of music history are plagiarized – the entire old-skool hardcore scene, for example, was built on unattributed samples ranging from the classic "Amen" break to movie clips and on occasion passages of popular songs. Is it plagiarism? Honestly, I don't think so. Taking drum samples or brief passages from a song and recontextualizing them isn't plagiarism, any more than T.S. Eliot's works are plagiarism of Shakespeare, Dante, and the like. (Before anyone argues that T.S. Eliot expected his readers to recognize his quotations, look into some of the sources "The Waste Land" and "Prufrock" borrow from – even most English majors wouldn't catch most of them without help.) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, trite as that may be, and this "flattery" is the lifeblood of art.

    My final point is that when it comes down to it I don't care whether my favorite artists committed these supposedly heinous ethical breaches. I'm not the type to hand-wring over who Daft Punk samples any more than I obsess over the personal life of Wagner (well-known to be reprehensible). I listen to music and absorb art not to analyze the life and ethics of the artist but to find something that connects. Spending hours worrying about this or that artist's moral standing, to me, is antithetical to any sort of real understanding of music.

  • anti-canadian

    Toronto music scene is dying…it shoulda been dead before it started. A bunch of egotistical jerks who just steal from one another in an effort to be cool. CC is not the first group to "rip off" other artists…popular remixes artists from toronto will do this all the time; they steal a line from one lesser knowm electro track, plop it with a pop song, call it "Pop-song So-and-so's remix" without giving any credit to the artist who's line they stole. They try to do the LA banger house scene, or the Brooklyn/UK ambient electro scene but in the end it just sounds like a huge ripoff.

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  • diodywosums

    Hey, just i just wanted to remind, tha global I4oTuFskPCc4 is near.

  • http://toxicrhythms.com Collin

    Crystal Castles was just messing around with this when they made the track. They did not post it to the public, Lies Records did, one of their record companies. They did not intend for this to be out in the open, the fault is not theirs. They never performed this live either, so nothing was abused.

  • http://toxicrhythms.com Collin

    Also, Lo-Bat or whatever his name is had the track posted on his site for free sampling at the time. You all have been proved wrong and look stupid.

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  • http://none Max

    There is a reason CC use artist work without permisson. Why they use samples from chiptune artists without a care for them.

    Because they dont give two shits! There attitue is were going to play this music, so either like it ordont. And there loved by all for it!

    Also, this isall great publiserty. Using artwork banned by the artist and pastin it over everything! Brillient idea!

    Love Crystal Castles, theve really got it just right. :)

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  • Worldkiller

    Stupid hipster music. It's so lacking in talent and originality it makes cybergoth music look good and thats saying something..actually thats quite a horrifying thought. I like how the scenester non-conformist conformists think being completely shit is "cool".

    my advice : spend less time on your makeup and crying and start learning how to make your own sounds.

  • dumb

    lobat never cared, since they never sold it. get over it people. your opinions don't matter. only the ones ACTUALLY involved do.

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  • http://www.google.com S D

    I hate this. The notion that everything must be owned is ridiculous.

    I'm sick of articles like this that accuse artists of "theft". You can steal what can't be owned.

    I'll explain:

    In Canada, we fundamentally believe in free health care, and, to summarize it simply, I think it's because a) it benefits the entirety of our population and b) advances in medicine are made by the contributions of innumberable researchers.

    Music, the codes and rules of the language, has also evolved based on the miniscule contributions by innumberable people. And up until present day, there was no "copyright" to speak of. Artists, including the greats like Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, freely appropriated whole portions of other artists' work.

    And more importantly, music is completely irrelevant without an audience. If you want to make music for only yourself, fine, make it and listen to it. That can be really fun. But for music to truly come alive, it has to be shared. And, as any musician knows, you don't go around charging people money for your music right off the bat — you gotta win each and every member of the audience.

    In other words, the audience has the majority of the power.

    In fact, if I want you to stop making noise, I have the right to make you stop. You can't just go around public giving away FREE music, even if you wanted to!

    I'm a musician, and I don't like the idea that musicians shouldn't get paid. But I think arguing in favor of something that doesn't really make sense won't work, in the long run — look at the record industry today. It took one small technological leap to throw the whole thing out of wack.

    So my belief is that artists have to focus on the performance aspect to make more money, and, more importantly, that musicians need to band together, and musicians' unions need to more strongly fight for commissioned works — meaning, if you are approached by a label, they don't LOAN you the money (which is effectively what the case used to be), but that they PAY a percentage UP FRONT, and withhold full payment until the job is complete.

    It worked for the greats of the classic period, it can work now.

  • Datch

    Timbaland didn’t just use a sample, he used the whole chiptune track as well and just added a few other sound layers like a drum beat.