A “remix” of John Cage’s famous and completely silent composition 4’33”, has been removed from SoundCloud for copyright infringement.
The composition, which consists of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence, was remixed by an artist known as D.J. Detweiler and uploaded to his SoundCloud account, only to be removed after automatic copyright-detection systems flagged the song as an infringement.
D.J. Detweiler is known for creating meme-ridden, satirical remixes on SoundCloud that usually feature out-of-tune recorder-playing.
SoundCloud has been criticised for the poor quality of its automatic copyright-detection system, which frequently removes legitimate music from the original copyright holders by accident. Detweiler has been satirically protesting SoundCloud’s copyright system extensively recently, replacing every single one of his songs on the website with text-speak messages parodying SoundCloud.
Most of the messages consist of 15 second repeats, with one saying, “This is a message from SoundCloud. This is the cyber police. This remix was too banging for the new internet. Move along. Nothing to see here.”
Oddly enough, speaking to Business Insider, Detweiler did once praise YouTube’s copyright detection system. “I can upload a remix or a mashup to YouTube. And I will get a e-mail saying this is using 3rd party rights, and the video will start being monetised towards them.
“That’s a better system to deal with copyright. I think it should be changed in some way too, giving some percentage to whoever remixed it too. As they own a percentage of the creativity of that piece.”
Though it is odd that a remix of a completely silent track should be removed on copyright grounds, a SoundCloud spokesperson told Business Insider that Detweiler’s track “was not a track of silence and was taken down because it included Justin Bieber’s What Do You Mean without the rights holder’s permission.”
SoundCloud went on to say: “The respective user uploaded the track under the title “4’33”, which is also the name of John Cage’s famous piece of silence but it was not, in fact, silence.”
It is unknown as to what the contents of D.J. Detweiler’s remix were since the track has long been taken down, and does not appear to have any mirrors.
Charlie Nash is a British libertarian writer, memeologist, and child prodigy. When he is not writing, he can usually be found chilling at the Korova Milk Bar, mingling with the elite of society. You can follow him on Twitter at @MrNashington.