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What do you get when you mix black and white? Gray, of course, along with a flurry of tersely worded cease-and-desist letters from IP attorneys. That’s what an underground disc jockey named Danger Mouse discovered recently after he digitally combined tracks from rap singer Jay-Z’s “Black Album” and music snippets from the Beatles’ so-called “White Album” to create a limited-issue CD that he titled — what else? — the “Grey Album.” Danger Mouse, whose real name is Brian Burton, neither sought nor obtained permission from any of the copyright holders before embarking on his adventure in musical odd coupling. As it turned out, Jay-Z and his label, Roc-A-Fella Records, had no objections to the Grey Album. But lawyers for Capitol Records, the U.S. unit of Britain’s EMI that licenses and distributes Beatles albums, promptly demanded that Burton halt production and sales of his CD. In response, scores of Web sites in late February enlisted in a one-day show of support for Danger Mouse’s artistic — albeit legally suspect — creation. Several sites on that day made the Grey Album available for downloading. Most, if not all, of those Web sites received pre-emptive cease-and-desist demands from Capitol’s lawyers at New York City’s Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman. All of the Grey Album tracks remain readily available on various file-sharing Web sites. Here’s a copy of the cease-and-desist letter aimed at Web sites that participated in the “Grey Tuesday” event. Click Herefor a PDF of the “cease-and-desist” letter. Viewing this PDF requires Acrobat Reader version 5.0 or later. You can download a free copy of Acrobat Reader here.

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