‘It’s an art form, what I do’, he told reporters. ‘For years I’ve been talking over other people’s songs, and getting half the royalties. One day my manager asked me if I could hum. I was like, ‘yeah, man, who can’t hum?’ And then he got me humming over the top of Shakespeare’s, like, plays. Now they’re half mine – I’m part of the creative team, cos of what I done. Awesome’.
Legal experts say that this is a grey area. ‘To be honest, nobody thought that talking over other people’s songs would allow rappers to claim creative rights, but that’s what’s happened. And a graffiti artist in New York has claimed half the credit for Einstein’s Mass-Energy equivalence equation by drawing a smiley face below the equation ‘E=mc²’ on walls all over Brooklyn. He would have done the same with Einstein’s General Relativity equation, but couldn’t find any walls big enough.
The picture is not completely clear-cut. Londoner Kevin Smith claimed 50% of the intellectual property rights in the film ‘Gravity’ by rustling his sweet wrappers throughout the performance, but a court denied his claim, commenting that this was ‘not a creative act’. However, a couple in Reading who conceived their first child during the screening of Seven Psychopaths may have a stronger case.