Congressman Uses Girl Talk in MashUp Debate
Pittsburgh based U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle (D - PA) recently joined the company of such reputable musicians as Beck and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips that have taken notice of Gillis by recently acknowledging the buzz-worthy laptop rocker on the floor of Congress.
I want to tell a little story about a local guy done good, said Doyle in a recent statement during a hearing on the future of radio. His name is Gregg Gillis and by day he's a biomedical engineer in Pittsburgh. At night, he DJs under the name Girl Talk. His latest mashup record made the top of 2006 lists from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and Spin Magazine among others. His schtick, as the Chicago Tribune wrote about him, is quote based on the notion that some sampling of copyrighted material, especially when manipulated and re-contextualized into new art, is legit and deserves to be heard. In one example, he blended Elton John, Notorious B.I.G. and Beyonce all in the span of 30 seconds. While the legal indie music download site eMusic.com took his stuff down for possible copyright violations, he's now flying all over the world to open concerts and remixing for artists like Beck.
Rep. Doyle is the Vice Chairman of the Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee. Doyle takes great interest in Internet and fair use issues, and he closely examined the difference between mixtapes and the legal battles surrounding them, such as the current one with Atlantas DJ Drama, and mash-up artists in the vein of Girl Talk.
Doyle goes on to say, I hope that everyone involved will take a step back and ask themselves if mash-ups and mix tapes are really different, or if it's the same as Paul McCartney admitting he nicked a Chuck Berry bass riff and used it on the Beatles hit 'I Saw Her Standing There'. Maybe it is. And maybe Drama violated some clear bright lines. Or maybe mixtapes are a powerful promotional tool. And maybe mash-ups are transformative new art that expands the listener's experience and doesn't compete with what an artist has made available on iTunes or at a CD store. I don't think Sir Paul asked permission to borrow that bass line. But every time I listen to that song, I'm a little better off for him having done so.