In 1991, the experimental sound collage band Negativland released a single called “U2”, which extensively sampled both U2’s hit single “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and colorful studio recordings of Top 40 disc jockey Casey Kasem. This offbeat recording would have languished in obscurity if weren’t for Island Records, U2’s record label, which decided to sue Negativland and their independent label SST Records for deceptive packaging and copyright infringement. After a protracted legal battle, Negativland’s legal funds were exhausted and they settled out of court. Today, it is illegal to produce the “U2” single in the United States. (U2, on the other hand, would go on to use unauthorized samples of appropriated satellite video in their Zoo TV tour.)
Now you can commemorate this ignoble episode in intellectual property history with iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition. From its packaging to its pre-installed content, this unauthorized iPod modification is an artful mash-up of the forces of corporate megarock and obscure experimental music, and a provocative symbol of the ongoing struggle between those who would confine culture and those who would free it.
The package design of iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition is inspired by Apple’s unparalleled focus on every last detail of the shopping experience. This iPod comes packaged in a standard “cube” box that will be familiar to iPod owners around the world. However, one side of the box has been subtly modified to show the two bands in opposition, with U2 on top and Negativland on the bottom. On another side, the box label has been modified to read “iPod/Special Edition/U2 vs. Negativland.”
Inside the cube, you will find iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition. Physically, this is Apple’s standard iPod U2 Special Edition; no functional or physical changes have been made. This means that you get all the great features you’d expect from Apple’s iPod U2 Special Edition, including:
- Use the iPod with Mac OS X or Windows 2000/XP
- Custom red-and-black enclosure, with the signatures of the four U2 band members on the back
- Integrates seamlessly with iTunes and the iTunes Music Store
- Hold more than 5,000 songs in a sleek, 5.6 oz. package
- Find songs quickly and easily with the iPod’s Click Wheel
- Includes a coupon for $50 off of The Complete U2, a digital boxed-set containing more than 400 U2 songs
- Exclusive U2 poster
To get you started in your subversive listening habits, iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition also comes pre-loaded with these Negativland albums:
- Points (1981)
- Free (1993)
- Fair Use (1995)
- Dispepsi (1997)
- Happy Heroes (1998)
- The ABCs of Anarchism (1999, with Chumbawamba)
- Deathsentences of the Polished and Structurally Weak (2002)
You will also receive physical copies of these albums in Compact Disc format. Fair Use includes a 270-page book about the “U2” single and its legal repercussions, and Deathsentences of the Polished and Structurally Weak includes a 64-page full-color book.
All profits from the sale of iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition will be donated to Downhill Battle, a not-for-profit organization working to build a fairer music industry.
With the recent release of Apple’s iPod U2 Special Edition, and the continuing legal battles over the sampling and copying of music, there has never been a better time for such a tribute to the impact of technology on the flow of culture. Buy the unauthorized iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition and become a part of intellectual property history today!
iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition is designed and produced by Francis Hwang. It has not been licensed or authorized by Apple, Downhill Battle, Island Records, Casey Kasem, Negativland, or U2. iPod, iPod U2 Special Edition, iTunes, Mac OS X, Windows 2000/XP, and other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
- Payment will be accepted via PayPal, check, or money order. Buyer pays shipping.
- Cost of materials for iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition is $449.50; this amount will be deducted from the final auction price before the donation to Downhill Battle is made.