Recently a controversy erupted involving Don Henley. Bob Lefsetz reported on this on 6/5 on his blog. Seems that Frank Ocean used the entire musical track of Hotel California and added his own lyrics. Don didn’t like that, and I don’t blame him. This is copyrighted material. Also, isn’t Frank Ocean supposed to be talented?? Can’t he write his own music????
“I’ll make it very clear, you can’t sample without paying, which is why hip-hop is completely different these days, twenty-odd years ago seemingly every rap hit stole a lick. But it turns out now you can’t do that. And I for one will argue we’re worse off for it. Because the beats we have today, which resulted from this enforcement of copyright law, are so much less interesting. Used to be there was some melody, a hook! Come on, wasn’t Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing,” with Eddie Van Halen’s guitar, much more interesting than most of the music today?”
Then there is Okkervil River, who “covered” End of the Innocence, but put their own lyrics over the Eagle’s track. Maybe they aren’t as talented as people say they are.
So Don Henley sued to have the songs taken down. Good for him!!!
Okkervil River Responds to Don Henley: Copyright Laws Kill Art
What a bunch of morons!!!
This article is great. Will Sheff, singer of the band, writes an article for Rolling Stone (above)
“When Henley made us take it down, I figured I’d comply because I can’t afford to get sued by Don Henley. I was advised not to talk about it in public, but when an interviewer asked me about it I couldn’t disguise my feelings and shot off at the mouth about it. I actually figured Henley hadn’t even heard the song and that someone in his employ – maybe even a computer algorithm – had done an automated search, found the song, and sent out the order. It turns out that Henley had heard it and didn’t take kindly. In an interview that went online today he complains about my song and about Frank Ocean’s “American Wedding” from his phenomenal nostalgia, ultra release, saying, “Anyone who knows anything should know you cannot take a master track of a recording and write another song over the top of it. You just can’t do that. You can call it a tribute or whatever you want to call it, but it’s against the law. That’s a problem with some of the younger generation. They don’t understand the concept of intellectual property and copyright…. I’m sorry, but it wasn’t an improvement. We were not impressed. So we simply had our legal team tell them to take it down and they got all huffy about it…. We work really, really hard on our material. We spend months writing it and years recording it. You don’t go into a museum and paint a moustache on somebody else’s painting. Nobody would think of doing that.”
I heard it,” Henley said of American Wedding. “I was not impressed. He needs to come up with his own ideas and stop stealing stuff from already established works.”
Ocean wrote on his Tumblr that Henley was “apparently intimidated by my rendition of Hotel California” and “threatened to sue if I perform it again.”
Henley admitted his lawyers were involved.
“Mr. Ocean doesn’t seem to understand US copyright law. Anyone who knows anything should know you cannot take a master track of a recording and write another song over the top of it. You just can’t do that. You can call it a tribute or whatever you want to call it, but it’s against the law. That’s a problem with some of the younger generation, they don’t understand the concept of intellectual property and copyright.” “(Mr. Ocean) was quite arrogant about it,” Henley said. “We tried to approach him calmly to talk reason to him via his managers and his attorneys and he wouldn’t listen. So finally we threatened to bring legal action against him. He was clearly in the wrong. I wouldn’t dream of doing something like that. What kind of ego is that? I don’t understand it.”
Henley also nixed a remake of his solo hit “The End of the Innocence” by US band Okkervil River, who had planned to release it online for free.
Okkervil River singer Will Sheff told The Music they “sincerely” loved the song and said Henley was an “old-fashioned guy who doesn’t understand…it’s not like I was making money, I figure that’s all he f—ing cares about. “It’s not like I was making money off it, but he still made me take it down.” Henley said he was more concerned by the fact they altered his original lyrics. “They don’t understand the law either,” Henley said. “You can’t re-write the lyrics to somebody else’s songs and record it and put it on the internet. I’m sorry, but it wasn’t an improvement. We were not impressed. So we simply had our legal team tell them to take it down and they got all huffy about it.
As an artist, I will do anything to protect my rights and ownership to my work. If one of my subjects decides that my work belongs to her because she is the subject, and uses my photography in her book, and label them with a copyrite notice claiming the photographs as her own, I will go to the end of the earth to claim those photographs as my own. The work I create is all that I own, and is my legacy. It is also a source of income that I need to protect. Bravo to Don Henley!!!
Several days later, Larry Solters weighed in with this:
This has nothing to do with money. It’s simply about these punks having the audacity to take original, copyrighted material and CHANGE it. It’s not about them or Don making money. It’s about them not respecting the original material, treating it like it was some kind of interactive plaything. It’s about respecting the integrity of somebody else’s material – Grammy-winning material. What both Frank Ocean and Okkervil River did wasn’t merely “sampling.” In Ocean’s case, it was wholesale theft. What Okkervil River did was take the original “The End of the Innocence” and add extra (lame) verses and musical sections. That amounts to musical vandalism. They seem to think that because they aren’t “selling” their little piece of hackery, it’s O.K. to do what they did, which is beyond comprehension.