nettime's deaf reader on Tue, 2 Jul 2002 05:31:42 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Does John Cage have a copyright on recorded silence?

Big noises at odds over the sound of silence

By David Lister
Media and Culture Editor

21 June 2002

'The Sound of Silence' may have prompted engaging harmonies from Simon and
Garfunkel - but a more literal appreciation of the absence of noise has
prompted one of the more curious copyright disputes of modern times.

Mike Batt, the man behind the Wombles and Vanessa Mae, has put a silent
60-second track on the album of his latest classical chart-topping
protégés, the Planets. This has enraged representatives of the
avant-garde, experimentalist composer John Cage, who died in 1992. The
silence on his group's album clearly sounds uncannily like 4'33", the
silence composed by Cage in his prime.

Batt said last night: "I've received a letter on behalf of John Cage's
music publishers. I was in hysterics when I read their letter.

"As my mother said when I told her, 'which part of the silence are they
claiming you nicked?'. They say they are claiming copyright on a piece of
mine called 'One Minute's Silence' on the Planets' album, which I credit
Batt/Cage just for a laugh. But my silence is original silence, not a
quotation from his silence."

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: