The law of music – written by Europeans and people of European descent – recognizes strong claims to authorship for the melodist, but not the drummer. Conveniently (for businesses run in large part by Europeans and people of European descent), this has meant that the part of the music that Europeans value can’t be legally sampled or re-used without permission, but the part of the music characteristic of Afro-Caribbean performers can be treated as mere infrastructure by ‘‘white’’ acts.
Natürlich ergibt das Gesetz immer weniger Sinn, je genauer man sich anschaut, wie Musik tatsächlich entsteht:
The reality is that all music takes from all other music, anyway. They called Brahms’s first symphony ‘‘Beethoven’s Tenth’’ for reasons that are immediately apparent to anyone familiar with both composers. The parts of music that can be used under the banner of ‘‘inspiration’’ and the parts that constitute ‘‘infringement’’ or ‘‘plagiarism’’ or some other frowned-upon taking are arbitrary, and there is an enormous gap between how the law treats music production, how music producers describe what they do, and what scholars who study music see happening.