Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Andy Samberg - NBC gets sued over "Iran So Far Away"

One correction to this article: this video isn't just doing well because of this lawsuit controversy. That's only a small part. It's mostly the humor, the quality of the video, the quality of the music, and the policital controversy it's causing.

This article is regarding the "Iran So Far Away" video:


"On Monday morning, as it made the rounds on the AIM and the blogs and that, "Iran So Far" was yet another mildly amusing Andy Samberg-helmed "Saturday Night Live" digital short. In case you missed it, it's a slow jam featuring some hushed rapping about Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, buoyed mostly by Fred Armisen's Ahmadinejad impression and a surprise guest appearance by the actually-OK-in-miniscule-doses Adam Levine. As these things go, it did the trick, but it's no "Roy Rules".

But it's Tuesday now, and the internet's still abuzz about "Iran So Far". As our postmillenial attention spans don't permit mere amusement to retain mere chuckle fodder for more than maybe a day and a half, that can only mean one thing: CONTROVERSY.

Turns out, the Silk-style backing track of "Iran So Far" was lifted from an unlikely source: Mr. Richard D. James, better known to you and me as Aphex Twin. Samberg (or whoever) lifted the piano track for "Iran" straight offa "Avril 14th", a tune from Aphex Twin's 2001 double LP Drukqs.

Mr. James' publisher, Chrysalis Music, was apparently less than amused by the uncleared sample, which-- according to, prompted NBC to take the video off the show's website (replaced, it seems, by "COMING SOON") and their official YouTube channel.

It's at this point that the plot-- never the show's strong suit-- thickens. According to The Daily Swarm (who first reported all this nuttiness), an "SNL" source confirmed that the sample was, indeed, Richard D. James' work, and that a clearance procedure is currently in progress. In addition, Daily Swarm reports that Chrysalis Music has confirmed that NBC didn't actually need permission to use the song for "ephemeral use," and won't, until they plan to air the show again. The internet being roughly as ephemeral as a stone tablet, the video remains yanked from all official NBC sites until, presumably, some clearance agreement is made.

Will Mr. James and the brass at NBC ever settle their differences? Will "Iran So Far" ever flash across our TV screens again? What will Andy Samberg Jodeci up next?

In the meantime, check out Aphex on a few dates this winter, or watch Spoon and Seth Rogen on "SNL" this Saturday night. "

Here's the controversial song:


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