Remix the Illegal “U2” Single from Negativland

Back in 1992 when sampling was still young, Negativland, a bunch of experimental pranksters from the San Francisco area, decided to “cover” (that’s what they say they did) U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”  They did, however, take a few, um, liberties with their version.

This greatly pissed off U2’s label, Island Records, and there was a big lawsuit which saw most of the copies of the Negativland track pulled and destroyed.  I have on my shelf a book called Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2 which documents the court fight.

But that was before the Internet, of course, and the track is easy to find.  And now with the death of Casey Kasem (if you listened to the track above, you’ll know why this next bit is relevant), Negativland has released a series of stems so that anyone can remix their “cover.”  From their press release:

 [I]nstead of merely reissuing the U2 record itself, Negativland presents, for free digital download, the original un-mixed studio multi-track tape for re-mixing, re-purposing and re-inventing in whichever way the listener may choose. Negativland encourages the re-contextualization of this seminal work for whatever reason, whatsoever. In keeping with the working methods and philosophy of Negativland, and the Fair Use provision in U.S. Copyright Law (Section 107), the group offers up this raw material in the hopes that entirely new versions of the work are created and disseminated. Listeners/remixers are encouraged to post their creations in these locations: www.negativland.com and [our Facebook page]. 

Download the tracks in a .zip file here.  More at Dangerous Minds.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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