Nelly Furtado and The Mod Scene

It’s funny. Not long ago I wrote about the Phil Collins influence on the Nelly Furtado track “Maneater.” A lot of songs sound like that – I think you could fit Madonna’s “Dress You Up” in there too.

Then THIS story breaks.

Apparently Timbaland, Furtado’s record producer on “Loose,” is accused of stealing a 2000 mod composition and using it as the basis of the track “Do It.” I don’t mean sampling. I mean it’s literally layed down in Pro Tools or whatever, not hidden very well, and pretty much used throughout the whole track straight through. You can even hear it in the iTunes sample. Pay attention to your right speaker for the melody.

So the original composer should get a cut, right? Well – think about that for a second…

Say the composer sued Geffen records for copyright infringement. Geffen could actually argue that its appearance in “Do It” is fair use. The original composition was not released for commercial purposes, and therefore does not devalue it in anyway. It was released for free on the internet. Who knows where they got the original track from? If it’s been floating around on the internet for 6 years it could have very well been distributed in some place that didn’t provide details for contacting the original copyright owner – much in the same way that most “free” font sites are set up.

And, although his reputation as an original producer is it stake, should the blame completely fall on Timbaland? Is it Timbaland’s responsibility to clear the use of the work, or is it Geffen’s legal department?

What say you?

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