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Rap song samples extensively from C64 demo

Kyle Orland

If you're into the ultra-niche classic console demoscene, last June's release of the Nelly Furtado single "Do It" may have sounded awfully familiar to you. Apparently, the single samples heavily from a 2000 piece originally composed for the Commodore 64 as part of the Old Skool Music Competition. What's more, a 2005 ringtone from Furtado mega-producer Timbaland uses the same sample.

The similarities between Tempest's "Acid Jazzed Evening" (later remixed by demoscener GRG) and the Furtado track are apparent and extensive -- from the bass line to the melody, the songs are nearly identical, except for Furtado's addition of lyrics. Still, it's a tough call as to whether or not the sampling constitutes illegal copyright infringement -- the case law involved is long and somewhat contradictory.

The legal point may be moot though -- according to some hearsay from a self-described friend on the SomethingAwful forums, original artist Tempest doesn't want to go through the "time-consuming and horrible" process of a legal suit. Still, the fact that a major record producer is taking direct inspiration from a years-old chiptune composition speaks to both the creativity of the demoscene and the dearth of originality in modern pop music.

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