U2 Vs Negativland Essay

2028 words - 9 pages

I overturn the decision of the lower court that Negativland violated copyright law.
Although it may be perceived that music is a free market based on the love of music, others may argue it is based on profit. In the article “U2’s double trouble,” the band Negativland proclaims that Island Record’s, U2’s record label, only concern in the lawsuit is, “to control the marketplace” (139). Negativland believes Island is trying to control what music is being made and sold. Island is so focused on profit that they are limiting the musical market.
I agree with Negativland that Island Records is only concerned about the profits they would receive from controlling the market place. Music is created to induce emotion, not only to make money. Seeing as there are only so many ways an instrument can be played, it will not be long before songs will sound similar. The similarities between the two songs should flatter the original composer because their work has inspired a fellow artist to produce a similar sound. Composing and making music is a craft that should be shared and used to help influence or inspire other people, not for anyone person to control. As a result, the decision that Negativland violated copyright law should be overturned.
At first glance, it might not appear like it, but the lawsuit between the two bands is actually about censorship. In “U2 Negativland the Case From Our Side”, the band Negativland asserts that the song they created was, “a parody, satire, social commentary, and cultural criticism” (147). The band is expressing that their song is a work of art and has every right to be sold like U2’s song. In removing Negativland’s song, U2 and Island Records are censoring the public from hearing new works of art that may be controversial and filing it as a copyright issue.
With reasoning based on the Constitution, I agree with Negativland that their song has every right to be sold and heard. Island Records immediate elimination of all things involving Negativland’s song was a violation of the first amendment. Negativland reserves the right to express themselves however they choose in their music and create whatever cover art they choose. Taking away every copy of the music and requiring that all money be given to U2 and their record company is limiting Negativland’s freedom of speech. U2 is not the first band to utter the words, “I still haven’t found what I am looking for” therefore Island Records has no right to control everything using that phrase. This violation of the band’s civil rights is why the decision of the courts should be overturned.
There is precedent in the court for legally sampling music to create a parody. When creating a song most artist look to create a central melody which acts as hook to catch the listener. Negativland used U2’s central melody in their song. In the article “How Copyright Law Make Sample-Based Music Impossibly Expensive… If You Want To Do It Legally,” the...

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