Rocking in the Key of Nintendo

kmhess writes "This afternoon, I listened to Rocking in the Key of Nintendo on NPR's All Things Considered, about a Phoenix Band, called the Minibosses, who cover background music from Nintendo games.

The band admits on-air they are basically stealing the music, becuase they don't own or have permission from the copyright owners from the music they play. They don't pay royalties, because Nintendo doesn't care - they won't even return their calls!

Who want's to bet this garage band gets a cease-and-desist letter tomorrow?"


These guys are great--I remember figuring out the themes to Nintendo game music on the piano in my youth (though not as well as this guy: html).

I read about them in Wired, and they basically said they've tried to get in touch with Nintendo about permission, but their calls have never been returned. In any event, it's not like they're making money doing this. The day that they do, you can expect Nintendo to take notice.

I wouldn't bet on it, for two reasons:

1. Composed music is typically subject to a compulsory licensing scheme: A performer has the right to perform a composition whether the composer likes it or not, as long as the performer pays the license fee. So the letter would presumably be a demand for license fees accompanied by appropriate identification of licensing agency.

2. Nintendo may just be smart enough to realize that this band is increasing the awareness / popularity of Nintendo games and is not in any way competing with Nintendo, since Nintendo doesn't sell CDs of their game music. (I don't know that Nintendo is that smart, just saying that they could be.)

So yes, money is involved.

Huh. There's one of these bands already. They're called the Advantage.

Their crazy Web site.

A review.

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