Copyright Law

Drake & Kendrick Lamar lift Copyright for Diss Tracks & It’s working in their favor

Drake and Kendrick Lamar drop copyright restrictions on their re, fueling their rivalry with fan-made reaction videos. Is it all just a big marketing scheme? If so, it’s brilliant.

by Timothy Geigner from Tech Dirt

Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you’ve likely caught wind of a rap beef that has taken the internet by storm. I won’t pretend to be enough of a pop culture expert to have any idea why both Drake and Kendrick Lamar have been lobbing frequent shots at each other in the form of diss tracks over the past couple of months, but it’s been fascinating to see how, and why, some have called this particular verbal battle “made for the internet.”

A great deal of that has to do with just how many Drake and Lamar memes already exist out there, such that they can be repurposed to make references to the current beef. Indeed, both artists themselves have gotten into that game somewhat, sharing memes of their own on the internet.

But that’s not the only way both are leaning into the internet culture side of this whole thing. It has been reported that both artists lifted copyright restrictions on the diss tracks that are flying back and forth specifically so that streamer personalities can post reaction videos to the tracks and keep this whole thing trending.

Kendrick Lamar and Drake have allegedly removed copyright stipulations from the diss tracks aimed at each other as the rap rivals’ war of words continues to grip social media.

This is fascinating for a couple of reasons. If you’re cynical like me, you may be wondering if all of this is a coordinated and manufactured situation designed to raise the profile of both artists. I would probably argue that neither of these artists really need that much lifting, but it’s also true that musicians like this definitely want and benefit from the public talking about them. If this is all some purposefully memefied “conflict,” it’s worked brilliantly.

And regardless of whether that’s the case or not, it’s equally interesting to watch two artists leave their copyrights to one side with the understanding that doing so will get the tracks, that they want people to hear, distributed more widely and trending with the internet crowd. All of that leads to the most obvious of questions: if it works for beef tracks, why doesn’t it likewise work for their music writ large?

In other words, why wouldn’t these two want to lift their copyright restrictions for reaction videos to their music entirely? It would serve the same purpose: to make the music more top of mind, relevant, and distributed thanks to the internet doing its thing. That would likewise lead to more interest in the music, in their concerts, and all the merch and other revenue streams that come along with it. Why is this plan fit for only diss tracks?

One hopes both artists, and maybe their respective labels, are paying attention to just how good this entire episode is for the exposure both artists are getting, regardless of whether the whole thing is as real as they are portraying it to be.

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