Kind of Bloop
Kind of Bloop is a chiptune tribute album by Andy Baio, based on Miles Davis' 1959 album, Kind of Blue. In 2010, Baio was sued by Jay Maisel, the photographer of the Kind of Blue cover art for copyright infringement, resulting in an out-of-court settlement for $32,500. Following the news of the settlement, Maisel was attacked both online and offline by Baio's supporters. This case has been used as a case study for debates surrounding copyright online and the limits of fair use and allowances to remixing of copyrighted art.
Andy Baio produced this album to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. Baio wondered what chiptune jazz covers (electronic music synthesized with sound chips of vintage computers and video game consoles) would sound like and opted to try it on one of his favorite albums, obtaining funding for this project through Kickstarter, a crowdfunding site which allows people to pay initial capital with the expectation that the money would be used purely on the completion of the project. On the Kickstarter page, he wrote
"To create this album, I hope to raise $2,000 to pay royalties, pay the artists, and print CDs. Legally releasing cover songs requires paying mechanical licenses to the song publishers through the Harry Fox Agency, totaling about $420 for every 250 downloads and a $75 processing fee." and later continues and says that none of the money goes to him and that it was a labor of love. . The album was to be remade track-by-track through a collaboration with ast0r, sergeeo, and three chiptune artists: Virt, Shnabubula, and Disasterpeace. Baio noted that this was his first time licensing music and commented on how he was required to pay loyalties even though he wanted to release the album for free download. Upon release, the original photographer who took the picture of Miles Davis in the slightly modified cover claimed copyright infringement which led to many people who are pro-creators and against the use of the law in restricting what they believe as creative works. Even after the settlement by Baio many people still hold that he was in the right.
Baio managed to secure licenses for the music on the album, but he did not license the original album's cover art. The photographer and copyright holder of the original cover art, Jay Maisel, objected to the use of art and the dispute resulted in an out-of-court settlement. After the settlement, Baio posted a statement with his argument against the infringement. In this statement he alludes to Jeff Koons's 2006 case where the court ruled that his photo "adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message." He argues that the 8-bit version of the cover art used, "does the same thing." However, others argue that his cover art is derivative of the original and copyright owners have exclusive control over derivative works. Also, this is not the first time Andy Baio's faced copyright issues. In 2005, he made a parody cartoon, House of Cosbys. The video was removed from the original hosting site due to a cease and desist letter from Bill Cosby's lawyer. However, Andy mirrored these videos and consequently received similar cease and desist letters. This time he did not comply, and the video was not removed. Some of his supporters actually mirrored the video on other hosting sites. Baio argued that this was discrimination against independent artists since the Cosby Show is commonly parodied and that satire is protected under the 1st Amendment.
Following the news of the settlement, several bloggers and other supporters of Baio were up in arms over this dispute. One blogger named Jeremy Nicholl wrote a post examining the facts of the story called "Jay Maisel Is A Dick." The title was a quote from one of Baio's supporters who joined in the mobbing of the photographer. While the issue of the cover art copyright sparked this mobbing, supporters were more concerned that Maisel, a rich photographer, targeted a "poor" artist. It should be noted that Baio sold his website Upcoming.org to Yahoo in 2005; figures aren't available but Baio is not a "poor" artist as many of his supporters may believe. While much of the mobbing occurred online, such as through Facebook, some supporters plastered posters of the cover art with the slogan "all art is theft" over Maisel's house, moving from cyberbullying to actual offline bullying.
- Chalk, Andy. Chiptune Cover Album Leads to Huge Legal Bill. The Escapist. 2011-06-24. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
- Hart, Terry. Kind of Bamboozled: Why ‘Kind of Bloop’ is Not a Fair Use. Copyhype. 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
- Baio, Andy. Kind of Bloop: An 8-Bit Tribute to Miles Davis. Waxy. 2009-08-17. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
- Baio, Andy. House of Cosbys, Mirrored. Waxy. 2005-11-12. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
- Miller, Lia. Cosby's Lawyers See No Flattery in an Imitation.> The New York Times. 2006-03-06. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
- Nicholl, Jeremy. “Jay Maisel Is A Dick”: Freetard Mob Savages Octogenarian Photographer Over Copyright. The Russian Photos Blog. 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
- Nicholl, Jeremy. The Photographer, The Entrepreneur, The Stockbroker And Their Rent-A-Mob. The Russian Photos Blog. 2011-08-04. Retrieved 2011-12-09.