Okay that's an overused perhaps too-easy pun, but relevant in this case. And what is this case? Danger Mouse's Grey Album. Yes, an old story, I know, but check out the EFF summary page. Here's the part that blows my mind:
First, it's important to understand that there are at least 4, and maybe 5, "rights-holders" potentially involved:Rights to the sound recordings and to the musical works are different? Are you kidding me? I'm not even sure what the difference between the "master" and the "compositions" are! Copyright law is totally out of control. And it's unclear who owns the rights to the George Harrison songs? Ok honestly I understand how that can be, but that doesn't mean it's a good thing.
- Owners of the rights to the sound recording ("master") for the Beatles' White Album. That's EMI.
- Owners of the rights to the musical works (songs or "compositions") that appear on the Beatles' White Album. For the Lennon and McCartney songs, that appears to be Sony Music/ATV Publishing, a joint venture between Michael Jackson and Sony. It's unclear who owns the rights to the George Harrison songs.
- Owners of the rights to the sound recording for Jay-Z's Black Album.
- Owners of the rights to the musical works that appear on Jay-Z's Black Album.
- And, possibly, the owner of the rights to the Grey Album (presumably DJ Danger Mouse).