DJ Danger Mouse's recent Grey Album, which remixes Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles White Album, has been hailed as a innovative hip-hop triumph. Despite that and the fact that only 3,000 copies of the album are in circulation, EMI sent cease and desist letters yesterday to Danger Mouse and the handful of stores that were selling the album, demanding that the album be destroyed.
"EMI isn't looking for compensation, they're trying to ban a work of art," said Downhill Battle's Rebecca Laurie.
"Special interests, including the major labels, have turned copyright law into a weapon," said Downhill Battle co-founder Holmes Wilson. "If Danger Mouse had requested permission and offered to pay royalties, EMI still would have said no and the public would never have been able to enjoy this critically acclaimed work. Artists are being forced to break the law to innovate."
The Grey Album has been widely shared on file sharing networks such as Kazaa and Soulseek, and has garnered critical acclaim in Rolling Stone (which called it "the ultimate remix record" and "an ingenious hip-hop record that sounds oddly ahead of its time"), the Boston Globe (which called it the "most creatively captivating" album of the year), and other major news outlets.