The song, which uses an unauthorized sample of the 1968 Todd Rundgren hit “Hello It's Me,” was removed from the band's Bandcamp page and other websites last week after Rhino Entertainment issued take-down notices, saying that the song violates copyright law, according to a notice sent to a blog and viewed by CityBeat. In an emailed statement, TV Girl argued that their song is protected by the “fair use” doctrine because they haven't made any money off of it.
The band can issue a copyright counter-notification to challenge Rhino, but there's no guarantee that the song will ever get re-posted. Art Neill, executive director of New Media Rights, a local advocacy group, says fair use is a “difficult grey area,” especially with music. “[S]ound and audio samples have been protected at times even when they are only a few seconds long,” he tells CityBeat in an email. “This is different from quoting short sentences or paragraphs of text, which is typically excused.”
TV Girl's Trung Ngo says the band will consider seeking legal advice, “if only to learn more about fair use,” but they won't stop using samples in their music.
The San Diego Music Foundation announced the nominees for the 2011 San Diego Music Awards this week. (Disclosure: SDMF President Kevin Hellman is CityBeat's publisher.)
Nominees include usual suspects like Slightly Stoopid, who won Artist of the Year in 2009 and 2010, but also some fresh blood, such as veteran gangster rapper Black Mikey. Head to sandiegomusicawards.com to look at a full list of nominees and vote in the non-album categories. The ballot deadline is Monday, July 25, and the awards ceremony goes down at Humphreys by the Bay on Monday, Aug. 8.