Droplift press [Home]

The following is a translated article from Le Courrier:
(Original article http://www.lecourrier.ch/Selection/sel46.htm)

"Droplift" misbehaves: the diffusion of the disc

Subversive project of a new type, the "Droplift" operation is insured of relays across the the whole world.

A marketable object not identified. A CD novelty, there without having been invited. It is now in the hands of a potential purchaser. However, the stockman is unable to identify the product, this one being not labeled, nor listed. In short, officially non-existant. Set to occur these next few days - in department stores here and elsewhere, the situation is maybe incongruous - but not accidental. Because the origin of this grain of sand in the commercial machine is Droplift.

Before we continue, it is necessary to understand the context. Technologies of communication ask some as yet unanswered questions through the innovations that they propose. In these times one speaks a lot of the MP3 formats or WMA, even more compact, that permits free download of music on the internet. Before, it is the principle of the sampling of sounds (sampling) that had launched the controversy. At stake is none other than the battle for rights of authors. In the United States, part of the controversy is that the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), that defends the interests of the biggest companies of the musical industry, is committed to stopping the craft of sampling. They believe that the reproduction of musical sequences would rape authors of their rights. But not everybody agrees with this notion. Repression of piracy and plagiarism appear to be legitimate goals, but users of samples claim the right to work with sounds like all raw material; according to the principle of "nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, all changes". Besides, the artist under contract with a record company is often constrained to give up him his or rights of authorship anyway. This is a more concrete example of artists losing their rights than the risk of plagiarism. The multinationals are protecting their own financial interests - not the rights of artists. This is how was born, to Los Angeles, the Droplift project: a disc entirely free of rights, freely accessible to all. The idea follows disappointments of the collective "Negativland" (brilliant pioneers of sampling), that have been ruined simply by lawsuits from the recording industry. So about fifty sample artists (mostly American), collaborated on the development of a CD. But this is not all. Once the creative process is finished, it is again about proceeding to the diffusion of the finished product. And it is there that is played the more interesting part of the project. In repsonse to not having access to networks of commercial distribution, the project is about nothing less than infiltration of the industry in a clandestine way. And for it, all contribution is welcome, everywhere on the planet.

It is through the Droplift website that Christophe P. got wind of the operation. The musicians exercising the sampling don't linger to be involved in the operation of "recruitment". However, in its defense, Tim Maloney (coordinator of the project in Los Angeles) claims that there will soon be a thousand or more droplifters (inversion of shoplifter). The release of the CD has been set as the last weekend of July. One week before this date, Christophe P. received the precious package through the mail. That day J, accompanied by a partner, entered the large music stores in order to put down the CDs of the Droplift Project. Two precautions imposed themselves. "It was not necessary to pass for thieves, and the droplifting was done with a certain jubilation. And for that the CD is well visible, in the privledged racks of novelties and compilations!" Can one foresee the fate of the clandestine CDs, set free thus in nature? Mentioned by the Los Angeles Times on July 30 (in an article reproduced on the Droplift website), the local director of the chain Tower Records appears amused more that angered: "It might be able to slip by [and be sold in a Tower store], but not very often", adding that the interest of the store wouldn't be opposed to selling a product that cost them nothing!

-- Roderic Mounier

(click here for original french)