Beck has been targetted by a group of activist re-mixers who are selling re-worked tracks from his ‘Odelay’ and ‘Mellow Gold’ albums without his permission.
The group, called rtmark, are offering for sale a 13-track CD called ‘Deconstructing Beck’ on their web site, www.detritus.net. The group are devoted to what they term “the subversion of restrictive copyright laws.” Their spokesman, Philo T Farnsworth, say they targeted Beck “because he’s good, but still a product. I don’t even have to buy a Beck record to hear him. We’re bombarded by images and sound more and more every year. It makes sense to me to take all this stuff that’s pushed at us and do something with it.”
The remixes, done using easily available computer programmes, have taken the edge off of the material and made it middle-of-the-road. Although Beck himself, currently in the studio working on a new album, says he’s interested in hearing the new versions, the CD has met with a swift and angry response from Beck’s legal representatives.
Brian McPherson, Beck’s attorney, said what rtmark have done basically amounts to theft. He wrote: “Bragging about copyright infringement is incredibly stupid. You will be hearing from me, Universal Music Group, BMG Music Publishing and Geffen Records very shortly.”
In the past, rtmark have infiltrated the computer games industry. In the 1996 pre-Christmas period, they inserted semi-nude male characters into the SimCopter video game and switched voice boxes in Barbie dolls. Last week, the group were foiled in an attempt to hang giant banners from Times Square hotel windows reading ‘New York Welcomes Saddam Hussein.’