Cultural artifacts are always susceptible to reproduction. Much like many things nowadays, technology has allowed for this to be made easier. The saying “good artists copy; great artists steal,” attributed to Pablo Picasso, revolves around a lot of modern technology. Is it safe to say that Mashup and remix culture is a form of copying? It involves using existing songs and rearranging their order, but in doing so creators are essentially making their own piece of music because they put in all of the effort to re-create the existing pieces into something else. Many questions have arisen when it comes to copyright protections in mashup and remix music.
As a musician it would be in your best interest to protect your creations from being used without your permission. However, as a mashup artist, you would need to make sure that you are creating your work without getting in a copyright infringement lawsuit. Using different song samples to create an entirely new song could be considered critical commentary; in this case, mashups could be seen as a form of free expression protected under fair use. Nevertheless most people who create mashups know that the original artist could question their work at any time!
On social media, many fans of Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya have accused Adele of copying his music. There were noted similarities between her song “Million Years Ago”, an
d a song from Kaya’s second album. Fans of the Kurdish-Turkish singer claimed that Adele’s song is ‘not a million miles away’ from Kaya’s 1985 song “Acilara Tutunmak (Clinging to Pain)”. Although this is not a mash-up or a remix, it still goes to show that there is a fine line between the validity of original and existing work!