This morning, while groggily trying to find the motivation to get back on the road, I was surfing through some websites and stumbled across something which disheartens and somewhat angers me.
About 5 years ago, I created a little website which is, essentially, a fan-site for the Beastie Boys. It is intentionally low budget and non-flashy. Over the course of those 5 years it has garnered the attention of slightly over a 120,000 fans and currently enjoys about 1,000 visitors every week. It is not your typical site, there are no gossip and news sections, no discographies, no pictures or tour dates, and no advertising (which means, I make nothing from the endeavor). It is simply a breakdown of their five studio albums, with the lyrics annotated to explain references and identify samples.
Today I discovered a one year old website called Beastiemania which is a full blown fan-site with slick graphics, etc. They have a section called "song spotlight" which is rather comprehensive and bloody impressive. I was having fun reading through it, discovering things which I didn't know or had missed in my own annotations. I was mentally making notes of these things; to come back to it later and incorporate these things in my own page. The fun stopped when I began to notice that some of the words I was reading were uncannily similar to things I had written in my own annotations. In one case, they mentioned one of my speculations as being "widely speculated" when, in fact, I had never heard it mentioned anywhere else, it was merely my own thought. In another case, a rather obscure reference to jazz musician Grady Tate and his involvement with the Schoolhouse Rock project of the late 70's. In both cases, their notes appear to be a virtual paraphrase of my own annotation! These two particular instances keep me from thinking that it was achieved independently. The phrasing and laguage used is so similar to my own. Judge for yourself:
"I'm in the pocket just like Grady Tate" reference: in the late 1970's, Grady Tate did the vocals for a Schoolhouse Rock song called "I Got Six," which contained the following lyrics: "I got six in my right hand, six in my left hand, six on my head. You got six in your pocket. Put 'em all on the floor, that's twenty-four"
"I'm in the pocket just like Grady Tate "
Grady Tate is a well-respected jazz session drummer and sometimes singer. In the late 1970's he became involved with the Schoolhouse Rock series for the ABC television network's saturday morning programming. He lent vocals to one particular track called "I Got Six", which contained the following line:
"I got six in my right hand, six in my left hand, six on my head.
You got six in your pocket. Put 'em all on the floor, that's 24."
The Beastie Boys are not known to disrespect any artists, but this song could be an exception. It has been widely speculated that the target of the "dis" portion of this track is MC Serch of 3rd Bass. 3rd Bass, another white Def Jam rap group, first disrespected the Beastie Boys on their debut album, The Cactus Album, with the song "Sons of 3rd Bass."
This is odd for the Beastie Boys, who have never been known to single out an MC to disrespect. While many have certainly speculated the object of this attack, I've never heard it confirmed by anyone. My personal opinion is that it is probably MC Serch of 3rd Bass, who also happened to be white hip-hop artists. On their debut, The Cactus Album (on Def Jam, no less) they repeatedly disrespected the Beastie Boys ("walk on me to get some ground to walk on"), even devoting an entire song to it ("Sons of 3rd Bass")
What's more. I have recently done a rather exhaustive update of my own page, due to incoming information from site visitors, which I welcome and encourage. A lot of my "new" information doesn't appear on Beastiemania, since it is only one year old, but virtually all of the the "old" infomation on my page, which has been out there now for 5 years, is.
I'm aghast! Sure, I was going to (and probably still will) utilize this page as a resource for my own, but I would have given proper credit. Anyone who has read my page knows that, anytime I've received information from other sources (site visitors, other websites), I am quick to identify the source of it, if I did not dig the information up myself. What's more infuriating is this website puts little "All Rights Reserved" copyright notices at the bottom of each page. On my own page I recognize that the work I did wasn't something that anyone else couldn't have done and encourage people to use the information included within, just to give me the credit, because I did do the footwork.
Don't get me wrong, this website is far superior to mine in every respect, and it is evident that a lot of friggin' work went into compiling the information. I'm not fuming in jealousy, here. I think the page, in terms of the information it provides, is superb and is a welcome addition among the mindless fansites which permeate the world wide web. But I feel a little cheated that some of my own work was likely scooped to build it. But more than that, the parts of my work that were actually my own words were essentially paraphrased. I'm debating on writing a nasty letter.
I wonder how much money I could win in a lawsuit. ;-)
The original young aboriginal, continued evolution, I'm an individual