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Stevecombsmusic on 05/06/2016 at 02:03PM

Big Juan

A pretty polite comment, I thought.

Hey FMA'ers. I've had an interesting day.

I'm used to people using my music in their projects. In fact at this point, I expect it. It would be weird if they didn't. Out of the roughly 250k downloads my songs have gotten, I'd bet at least half of them were for use in a video, on a podcast, or for a school project. And I love and am so grateful to everyone who does this because without it, I probably wouldn't be doing this anymore. To be honest, I think the FMA made my career what it is, and I owe it and the whole free culture community so much. That said, there is a limit to the freedom of my culture.

I woke up at around 11am this morning, because I'm a college student, and saw a couple of Twitter notifications (@stevecombsmusic, by the way). A German fan, @ruhpkid, tweeted at me to say that some guy named Big Juan put a copyright claim on a YouTube video of his in which he used my song, More Or Less OK, from my new album Riotwhich is available here on the FMA. Ruhpkid gave me credit and was generally wonderful. But Big Juan was claiming that my song was his song, Equalizer. At first I didn't think anything of it, that it was just a misguided attempt at stealing royalties or something. The joke would be on him, of course, since I don't get any kind of royalties. But I did a Google search for "Equalizer by Big Juan" and found the song on YouTube.

That's when I got angry.

I hear the first three seconds, which is the same opening drum fill as my song, and think "Well, maybe he just sampled it and forgot to give credit." But it quickly became clear that that wasn't the case. This wasn't a sample, this was a theft. Big Juan literally downloaded my song, changed the title, and put it on YouTube as his own.



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