I've worked on a lot of great projects and collaborated with artists like Chuck D and Donald Glover. I've also had a lot of big projects that nearly happened but were tied down in legal red tape.
In 2008 I made video remixes of The Temptations for Motown. Motown had wanted to do a bigger project but were unable to clear the video footage needed. When Motown artists were performing in the 60s and 70s music videos didn’t exist so all the recorded performances were from shows like the Ed Sullivan show. Clearing the video clips from these shows was deemed too costly and time consuming and the project was scrapped.
Some very cool people at BBC America asked me to make an entire Audio-Visual performance using just clips from 50 years of the TV Show “Doctor Who”. I made the show and performed it at SXSW and twice at different Comic-cons and also online. BBC in the UK were celebrating the anniversary of Doctor Who and wanted me to perform the show on BBC2. They spoke with their legal team and realized they would have to clear every single video clip in my performance and there were well over 1,000 of them.
I made a remix of the Wolf of Wall Street Chest Thump scene that did really well. I never switch advertising on on YouTube but sometimes the film companies themselves put adverts on my remixes. I think my Wolf remix has made the film company at least $30,000. A Dance record label owned by the film company approached me to do the remix officially. Though they were able to clear the audio sample they weren’t able to clear the movie clip and suggested re-doing the video with puppets and I declined.
In 2003 I went to MTV Europe with the first ever Eclectic Method CD-ROM, we were putting things on CD-ROM back then. The people at MTV were so excited they said they would put it on MTV the next week but called later that day to say they’d spoken to their lawyers. Apparently although MTV could play music videos in their entirety they could not re-edit them out of context. It then took a few years before the idea got off the ground as MTV Mash. MTV Mash had a huge legal team that had to work on clearing the rights to 8 remixes for every 1 that got broadcast because the legal work was so complex. I did one Busta Rhymes remix that didn’t even use the instrumental music but they had to clear the instrumental sample just to be on the safe side.
However these unauthorized remixes have lead to great things.I was part of the Copyright Criminals Documentary which lead to me making a song with Chuck D and performing with him and the Funky Drummer Clyde Stubblefield at many shows and on Jimmy Fallon’s late night TV Show. I’ve had a lot of unauthorized remixes be embraced and shared by the people I remixed people like Anthony Bourdain, Sarah Silverman, Casey Neistat, Juliette Lewis, Gordon Ramsey and many others. I even made an unauthorized remix of Fatboy Slim and when he saw it he paid me and put it on his DVD. Though I am still remixing I’m more focused on making totally original video musical art now so I can spend less time talking to lawyers.