Category Archives: copyfight

Leviathan Jams, the Inventory Cut: a DJ mix & fair dealing field-test for ACCUTE 2022’s soundtable

Stream the mix at the link above. Access a transcript at — and for the hearing impaired, loud playback or wearing a device like SubPac is recommended. Access a downloadable mp3 of the mix at

Leviathan Jams mixes music used in James S.A.Corey’s #TheExpanse and Dionne Brand’s Inventory; field-tests a countermeasure against copyright bot overreach; and exercises #fairdealing in #openaccess research. The track list and abstract follow below.

Track List

00:00 The Carpenters, “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” (A&M, 1977; cover of Klaatu’s 1976 record)

* 00:03 Deep Purple, “Highway Star” (Purple, 1972)

00:04 CC radio static sample

00:05 Rush, “Cygnus X1 Book I: The Voyage” (Anthem, 1977)

00:11 CC radio dial tuning sample

00:12 sample of dialogue from “Flu Season,” Season 3 Episode 2 of Parks and Recreation (NBC, 2011) by Tom Haverford (perf. Aziz Ansari)

* 00:18 sample of dialogue from “Intransigence,” Season 3 Episode 9 of The Expanse (SyFy, 2015) by Drummer (perf. Cara Gee)

00:19 sample of The Beatles, “Revolution 9” (Apple, 1968)

00:21 Marvin Gaye, “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” (1971)

00:29 Deadmau5, “Do It Again” (2006; samples Sneaker Pimps, “Spin Spin Sugar [Armand’s Dark Garage mix]” [Clean Up/Virgin, 1996])

* 00:37 [Cheb] Khaled, “Didi” (Barclay, 1992)

01:10 CT Burners and Jubilee, “Kick It (The Squire of Gothos remix)” (Nightshifters, 2009)

* 04:46 Joey Cramsey, “Radio Free Eros (OPA Fan remix)” (no label, 2017; fan-made song sampling dialogue and music from “Static,” Season 2 Episode 3 of The Expanse [SyFy, 2017])

04:46 Crisp Biscuit, “Wink1” (no label, 2002; remix of Josh Wink’s “Higher state of consciousness” [Strictly Rhythm, 1995] sampling Incredible Bongo Band’s “Apache” [Pride, 1973])

* 08:29 Gatekeeper, “Tense Past” (Punch Drunk, 2007; used in “Rock Bottom,” Season 1 Episode 6 of The Expanse [SyFy, 2015])

08:41 Lou Reed, “Romeo Had Juliette” (Sire, 1989)

08:45 Fader Gladiator, “Battle of the Planets” (Kickin, 1997; samples John Williams’ “Imperial March” [RSO, 1980])

09:12 The Beatles, “Revolution 1” (Apple, 1968)

* 09:30 Tigerstyle feat. Kaur-B, “Zulfaan De Naag (Monstaboy remix)” (AK Music, 2013; used in “Remember the Cant,” Season 1 Episode 3 of The Expanse [SyFy, 2015])

13:19 CC radio static sample * 13:19 sample of dialogue from “Pyre,” Season 2 Episode 8 of The Expanse (SyFy, 2017) by Anderson Daws (perf. Richard Harris)

About “Leviathan Jams”

You can seldom criticize [intellectual property] law by breaking it and yet expect the law to forgive your infraction as criticism. (Saint-Amour 19)

My ACCUTE soundtable contribution is a music mix, “Leviathan Jams,” designed to field-test a particular DJ mixing technique—the sustained synchronization of two to four tracks—in social media platforms surveilled by automated copyright enforcement mechanisms (copyright bots). This mix field-tests the hypothesis that a sufficiently complex music mix can jam the signals copyright bots use to suppress the unlicensed reproduction of copyrighted music on Internet social platforms, where users’ rights (e.g. fair dealing) supposedly apply but copyright bots routinely override them.

My mixing methodology is based on the approaches of DJs like Jeff Mills, Z-Trip, and Grandmaster Flash; on the “CV Dazzle” makeup strategy developed by artist Adam Harvey to resist facial recognition technology; and on arguments for appropriative forms as creative expression (see Amani, Coombe et al, Shields). This music-mixing methodology’s basis in playback and repetition also engages with critical theories of slowness (see Berg and Seeber, Bureau).

“Leviathan Jams” imagines a dialectical dialogue between two improbably paired literary works—Dionne Brand’s 2006 long poem Inventory and James S.A. Corey’s roman fleuve, The Expanse (2011-21)—by combining music cited in Inventory (listed above in bold) with music cited in The Expanse, (listed with asterisk *). Both Brand’s and Corey’s works share practices of quoting music, the exercise of fair dealing and fair use (the unauthorized use of copyrighted works for specific purposes like research), articulations of labour solidarity, and dialectical elements of form. Inventory quotes music by major artists like the Beatles, whose song lyrics command astronomical licensing fees (see Orr); complementarily, The Expanse often mentions poetry (e.g. Corey, Leviathan Wakes, p. 520), and the series’ plots involve intellectual property, open access, piracy, and audio remixing (Babylon’s Ashes, p. 245-6, 248; Leviathan Wakes, p. 445; Nemesis Games, p. 454), while self-reflexively acknowledging their own contradictory status as openly derivative (Leviathan Wakes, p. x) intellectual property (Leviathan Wakes, pp. 211, 343; Babylon’s 222). Both works also share a specific anti-colonial trope. In Inventory, Brand writes: “does she care about “the human species / spreading out across the cosmos” / no, God forbid, stop them, and forgive her this one / imprecation to a deity” (p. 48). In the first Expanse novel, the detective Miller (whose investigation of Juliet Mao’s case informs my renaming Lou Reed’s titular “Juliette” with the Beatles’ line in “Revolution 1” about “Mao”), reflecting: “‘Stars are better off without us,’ he said, but too softly for anyone but Julie to hear” (Corey, Leviathan Wakes, p. 465). In the subsequent third novel another character, referring to “the stars,” “wonder[s] if we should have them” (Abaddon’s Gate, p. 539). “Leviathan Jams” echoes this anti-colonial trope in a song Inventory quotes, Marvin Gaye’s 1971 “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”: “rockets / moonshots / spend it on / the have-nots.” Gaye’s track mixes with “Didi” by the raï musician Cheb Khaled, the only real-world pop star named in the Expanse books (Babylon’s Ashes, p. 168), which refer often to raï music (e.g. Memory’s Legion, pp. 6, 76, 144; Nemesis Games, p. 433). As this shared anti-colonial trope thematizes deterritorialization, so does the mix’s form practice depropertization.

By synchronizing and juxtaposing samples of music cited by Inventory and the Expanse franchise “Leviathan Jams” field-tests copyright bots’ capacity to identify discrete songs. (That listening to the mix resonates with a major plot point in the last Expanse novel, Leviathan Falls, is a happy, uncanny coincidence.) “Leviathan Jams,” then, both prototypes a “jamming” device (Corey, Leviathan Falls, pp. 266, 442) and models fair dealing. Notice or takedown of the mix would prove my hypothesis wrong. The mix was recorded using DJay for iPad (fig. 1), edited using Audacity (fig. 2), and saved as mp3 for sharing; the file is available on request, and a transcript is forthcoming.

Works cited and consulted

1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything. Prod. and dir. Asif Kapadia et al, Apple TV+, 2021.

Amani, Bita. “Copyright and Freedom of Expression: Fair Dealing between Work and Play.” Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online, edited by Rosemary J. Coombe et al, U of Toronto P, 2014, pp. 43-55.

Berg, Maggie and Barbara K. Seeber. The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. U of Toronto P, 2016.

Brand, Dionne. Inventory. McClelland & Stewart, 2006.

The Bureau of Noncompetitive Research [Victoria Stanton and Stacey Cann]. Slowness and the Institution: Doing Research Differently [webinar series]. 29 Sept.-24 Nov. 2021.

Corey, James S.A. Abaddon’s Gate (2013). Orbit, 2014.

—. Leviathan Falls. Orbit, 2021.

—. Leviathan Wakes (2011). Tenth anniversary ed. Orbit, 2021.

—. Memory’s Legion. Orbit, 2022.

—. Nemesis Games (2015). Orbit, 2016.

—. Babylon’s Ashes (2016). Orbit, 2017.

Eshun, Kodwo. More Brilliant Than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction. Serpent’s Tail, 1998.

Guertin, Carolyn. Digital Prohibition: Piracy and Authorship in New Media Art. Continuum, 2012.

Harvey, Adam. “Computer Vision Dazzle Camouflage.”, 2020.

Jameson, Frederic. Marxism and Form: 20th-Century Dialectical Theories of Literature. Princeton UP, 1974.

Katz, Ariel. “Fair Use 2.0: The Rebirth of Fair Dealing in Canada.” The Copyright Pentalogy: How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook 20 the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law, edited by Michael Geist. U of Ottawa P, 2013, pp. 93-156.  

McRobbie, Angela. “Thinking With Music.” Stars Don’t Stand Still in the Sky: Music and Myth, edited by Karen Kelly and Evelyn McDonell, New York UP, 1999, pp. 37-49.

Murray, Laura J., and Samuel E. Trosow. Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide. 2nd ed., Between the Lines, 2013.

Nair, Meera. “How Canadian Education Really Hurts Creators.” Fair Duty, 16 Oct. 2017,

Orr, David. “When Quoting Verse, One Must Be Terse.” New York Times, 8 Sept. 2011, terse.html.

Reynolds, Simon. Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno & Rave Culture. Little, Brown & Co., 1998.

Richardson, Tasman. “Jawa Manifesto” (1997), ed. Elenore Chesnutt, Incite!, 2008,

Saint-Amour, Paul K. The Copywrights: Intellectual Property and the Literary Imagination. Cornell UP, 2003. Shields, David, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (2010). Vintage, 2011.

Forthcoming articles and reviews

I’m excited to announce a bunch of newly written (and co-written) articles and reviews have been accepted for publication and are forthcoming soon:

  • McCutcheon, Mark A. “Reading poetry and its paratexts for evidence of fair dealing.” Studies in Canadian Literature / Études en littérature canadienne, in press.
  • —-. “Paratextual and ‘sampladelic’ techniques for ‘committing centonism’ in contemporary poetry published in Canada.” Cento-Texts in the Making: Aesthetics and Poetics of Cento-Techniques from Homer to Zong!, edited by Manuel Baumbach, Bochumer Altertumswissenschaftliches Colloquium series, in press.
  • —. “Frankenstein meets the FAANG five: figures of monstrous technology in digital media discourse.” Beyond Modern Science: Essays on Frankenstein and STEAM for Charles E. Robinson, edited by Robin Hammerman. Delaware UP, in press.
  • Clitheroe, Heather and Mark A. McCutcheon. Review of The Expanse [TV series]. SFRA Review, in press.
  • McCutcheon, Mark A. Review of The Monster Theory Reader, edited by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, U of Minnesota P, 2020. Extrapolation, in press.

“This Machine Chills Copyright Bots”: a #DJmix coda to #FairDealingWeek

A mad mash of Billie Eilish, Deadmau5, Lil Jon, Carly Rae Jepsen, Armand Van Helden, Public Enemy, Young Galaxy et al:

The general idea here’s a thick mix–2-4 tracks playing at most times* (all in the key of Gm/Bb)–seeking to scramble copyright bots’ capacity to discern properties; and in the process to share a genre-bent (#twotone) music mix for use in your socials that hopefully won’t get taken down by copyright bots. Which are just the worst judges of #fairuse and #fairdealing. (If you do use this mix but find your socials take it down, I’d welcome a comment about it.)
What CV Dazzle is to face recognition tech, a mix like this wants to be to automated copyright enforcement. And a coda to #fairdealingweek.
(* except the intermezzo with Sasha’s “Xpander”)

This mix, btw, began as an improvised #ValentinesDay jam for my basement #rollerskating fam…which I add to reflect how critique proceeds as a labour of love.

Downloadable-file version: TBA. Here’s the full track list:

“Ravel” by Mary Dalton (a cento from Hooking, 2013)

This weekend I’m giving a talk at the Interdisciplinary Workshop on the Technique of Cento Texts, hosted by the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. The poem I’ll be discussing as a case study is “Ravel” by Mary Dalton, from her book of centos, Hooking (Véhicule P, 2013). I’m sharing an annotated copy of that poem here so other delegates can read it, since it is hard enough to find in Canada, never mind elsewhere. (I’m sharing this copy under educational fair dealing auspices, and will delete it from this post after the weekend.)


Who owns copyright in what you publish?

“Who owns copyright in what you publish?” is the talk I delivered for #ACCUTE2019 at this year’s Congress in Vancouver, and it’s now online, in full, as a post for English Matters, the blog of the Association of Canadian College & University Teachers of English.

“There are many interests vying for rights to your research, and many ways to assert or regain your own control over those rights. It’s important to know what the main regulatory contexts are — and what your options are.”

Read the full text of the talk at

This research has been supported with the generous assistance of Athabasca University’s Academic & Professional Development Fund.

#FairDealingWorks: Fair Dealing Week 2019

This week (Feb. 25 – Mar. 1) is #FairDealingWeek, a time to celebrate this vital statutory right’s affordances for expressive freedoms and the public good, and to dispel the misinformation that copyright maximalists spread about its supposed harms. Despite repeated, clear, and consistent Supreme Court rulings, big publishers and their intermediaries continue to treat the lawful exercise of fair dealing — by users, educators, and, yes, creators too — as if it’s debatable, dubious, or diabolical.

Among the many online resources and testimonials being shared this week — see for an aggregated collection — Meera Nair, NAIT’s copyright officer and a vocal advocate for fairer copyright, has shared a blog post that brings home the importance of fair dealing.

“Fair Dealing matters. Individual writers, musicians and artists should not need to be well-versed in the intricacies of copyright law, to benefit by exceptions to copyright defined in the law.”

And if you wish to add your voices to those telling the federal government’s copyright review committee to preserve and extend fair dealing in copyright law, you might consider signing the Fair Copyright petition organized by the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

Lastly: I’ve linked to its abstract above, but let me reiterate here that essential reading for understanding how fair dealing benefits creators is Eli MacLaren’s 2017 article on poets’ incomes and fair dealing.


“working out an inter-ACCUTE thought exercise” music mix

[In my post-#congreSSH post about this year’s ACCUTE dance party, I’d said I’d be following up with a post reflecting further on that event. Voilà: further thoughts, related to other current concerns, in the form of a DJ mix. What can I say? I have a phonographic memory.]


My brief on fair dealing & education for Canada’s copyright review

Here is a copy of the brief I submitted last month to the Government of Canada’s current review of the Copyright Act (a review mandated among the Act’s 2012 amendments). This brief focuses on fair dealing and education. (Click here for the direct link to its Scribd page.)

Other excellent submissions to the review include Meera Nair’s and the Dalhousie Faculty Association’s.

It’s Fair Dealing Week 2018

This week (Feb 26-Mar 2, 2018) is Fair Dealing Week, a national campaign to raise public awareness of the importance of users’ rights in copyright law that further education, creation, and innovation. (Said rights are a subject of the federal government’s current copyright legislation review.)
See to find out more; and consider signing the CAUT’s petition to the federal government to preserve (and if anything strengthen) the users’ rights in Canada’s amended copyright law.

I’ve contributed a testimonial of my own to’s collection of statements from Canadian creators and educators:

Without fair dealing, licensing fees to excerpt even single lines from extant published works, especially works of poetry or song lyrics, could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Creative writers and authors need fair dealing no less than educators do.

If you don’t want to hear it from me, take it from no less a bona fide luminary than the late great Northrop Frye:

Six things the public & the government need to know about fair dealing

Amidst ongoing efforts by copyright-maximizing lobbyists to mislead both the public and the government (which is now undertaking its 5-year review of the amended 2012 copyright act) about what fair dealing is, and what it means for Canadian culture, innovation, and education, here are six evidence-based points worth understanding about fair dealing.

  1. Over a decade’s worth of Supreme Court rulings have firmly and consistently enshrined fair dealing as a users’ right in copyright law.
  2. If Canadian publishers are hurting, it’s not because of fair dealing.
  3. In the name of authors, lobbyists against fair dealing antagonize and vilify educators — but many educators are authors themselves.
  4. Far from “pirating” protected works, educators actively promote authors’ interests, e.g. by ordering Canadian authors’ works in large quantities for schools and students to buy. (See p. 2, item 4 of CARL-ABRC’s Fair Dealing fact sheet.)
  5. Authors need fair dealing too, no less than educators do.
  6. Fair dealing augments and reinforces our Charter-guaranteed freedom of expression: any change to fair dealing (or to copyright more generally) must be understood as a change to free speech rights.

All these points are supported by case law and rigorous, evidence-based studies (by nationally recognized experts like Bita Amani, Carys Craig, Michael Geist, Ariel Katz, and Meera Nair, among others).

So next time you read that teachers are killing Canadian publishing, or stealing Canadian content, don’t believe the hype.