July 21st, 2010

DJ Yoda’s Tweet Inspires Rebellion Against Darth Jeszenszky and the MAHASZ Empire


A simple tweet from visiting UK scratchologist DJ Yoda at the Volt Festival two weekends ago (above) caused a flurry of activity within the Hungarian blogosphere and news portals over the last two weeks. As several blogs and index.hu reported, the simple 137 character message provoked comment and outrage from many at the actions of MAHASZ (Association Of Hungarian Record Companies) and VPOP (Customs & Excise) agents who were present at the festival checking for illegally downloaded music. Fortunately for the Star Wars inspired DJ the dark side of copyright enforcement didn’t target him, instead concentrating their wrath on the Hungarian DJs present at the festival.

The resulting furor amongst the commentariat has caused no end of grief for “music industry expert” Zsolt Jeszenszky (above right), head of the DJ Association and spokesman for ProArt (Association of Author’s Rights). Along with fielding questions from the media all week and being asked to cancel his appearance at his own DJ Association’s workshop at the recent Balaton Sound Festival, Jeszenszky has also come under fire from many of the DJs he seeks to represent.

He has generated a great deal of opposition to his organization, which seeks to reintroduce a DJ exam, which was originally a communist-era test for judging the technical proficiency and moral rectitude of DJs. Of course, the new exam will hopefully not be judging DJs on their morality, especially as the DJ Association includes female DJs who perform topless and a DJ who calls himself Nigel Snorter.

The extravagantly coiffeured, Slovakian-licensed car driving representative of Hungarian pop music has also been making several defamatory statements against his not so green skinned antagonist. Implying that DJ Yoda is a thief and openly calling him a szárhazi on radio, Jeszenszky seems to have overlooked his own past copyright misdemeanor.

That is not exactly what one would expect from someone who says he is acting to protect the intellectual property rights of others, but then again he is well-connected and therefore unlikely to give a damn about what laws he himself infringes upon, so long as he can get away with it and continue to create his “music mafia”, as many choose to describe it.

There is, however, a silver lining to this cloud: if Jeszenszky chooses to lie low for a while, maybe we won’t have to listen to his inane commentary at next year’s Eurovision song contest or his atrocious taste in music.

Story courtesy of Józsi.

And here is what people were saying back before we forced readers to use Facebook to comment. Weren't those the days?
  1. Dr. Evil says:

    DJs are the lowest form of life in today’s music industry.

  2. tom says:

    How being topless has anything to do with morality?

    I would suspect tens of thousands european girls who either sunbath topless across the continent or perform topless are way more morally respectable than e.g. mindless rap or hip hop “artists” or presidents who without any reason attack countries around the globe.

  3. merkurio says:

    You said it all tom!

  4. PiP says:

    @Dr.Evil: You’re showing your lack of understanding about how the music industry works. It’s simple. People hear music, people like music, people buy music. It happens in that order. DJs, along with social networks, facilitate the first part of that chain.

    I think the lowest forms of life in today’s music industry are the major international labels that seek to fortify their top-heavy, antiquated system by using desperate tactics, at the same time as pumping out vast amounts of dross such as mindless rappers and crappy pop acts that have a shelf life of a couple of years.

  5. Corporate Scum says:

    @Pip: well, yes and no. you’re describing the “traditional” dj, while i think Dr.Evil was referring to the “modern” version, ie the DJ as artist or entertainer, as opposed to just spinning tunes.
    in some instances this is well deserved, as some DJs have an ear for bringing new life out of an old song, but there are DJs who get paid unbelievable money for a set, and this is more the sad by-effect of a trendy lifestyle, than the outcome of pure artistic expression…

    (if you don’t believe me, just pay a visit to hajogyari sziget)

  6. PiP says:

    @Corporate Scum. You get me :D Dokk Klub, Romkert (in the last 3 or so years), Rio, etc…shudder! I hope Dr.Evil was referring to the ‘superstar DJ’ and not just to all DJs. But even these ‘stars’ play an important part in disseminting music. I just can’t stand their taste. Ahhh, music. It brings people together, and drives them apart.

    I’ve seen some of the best DJs in the world in my time, guys and gals who can do things with vinyl, FX and additional equipment you wouldn’t believe. Unfortunately, we don’t get many of them visiting Hungary. I’m still waiting for the long overdue visit of Greg Wilson, a chap who was the only European pioneer, for nearly 2 decades, of the tape-editing and mixing techniques that DJs like Larry Levan and Danny Krivit used in the 70s in NYC. Now there’s a man who truly deserves the title of ‘superstar DJ’.

    From ’83:

  7. mahaszmacoat says:

    Greg Wilson eh? D’ye think it’d be popular? I’ll email him and see what he says..

  8. jtbs says:

    Can I join in this conversation, or is it just
    between the one of you?

  9. Delt4 says:

    this is a pathetic predicament of misleading
    conduct and using incomplete copyright laws to
    literally steal money from the general public.

    It is a shame that we live in the 21st century but
    people like this can come and go as they please,
    harassing people who make music for our

    Mr Jeszenszky just needs a good lawsuit to try on
    by someone who is not affraid to break his
    glasshouse down to the ground. This is illegal,
    based on false pretenses and shameful. People need
    to get informed before they get conned.

    So that’s it then. And Mr Jeszenszky or whatever
    is your name…a big fuck you from the UK m8

  10. mahaszmacoat says:

    Like it or not, copyright has to be paid one way or another. Noel Edmonds look alike Jeszenszky has found a way of extracting money and establishing a “Bizniz” empire by simply applying the law. All perfectly legal. And no matter how much people complain about it theres not a damn thing they can do about it. Most, if not all, the dj’s and clubs he and his Mahasz team are shaking down are breaking the law, the dj’s download illegally from DC++ and the like, and the clubs try and avoid paying the Artisjus fees. Ban laptop dj’s and ensure the dj’s play vinyl or real cd’s and Mr Jeszenszky’s income will soon dry up. He can then go back to running topless bars or being a wedding entertainer or whatever and we won’t see any more of this odious little man. By the way, Greg Wilson IS coming to Budapest. He WILL be dj’ing with reel to reel tape machines. And Vinyl.

  11. New Age says:

    Stealing cars is still illegal, even if you share the ride with others.
    I used to earn enough in royalties to buy a nice new car every week. Now it’s down to the price of a bus ticket.
    Copyright is no longer enforceable, and there’s not much we can do about it. You can’t police the Internet without making it completely useless.
    Google can get away with YouTube, while they terrorize a few poor schmucks in Hungary.
    We just have to adapt to the new age of freeloaders. Bands will have to make their money playing concerts, and selling their tunes really cheap on the web. Anything that can be uploaded will be uploaded and shared free with the rest of the world. Royalties, if any, is a bonus, you just cannot rely on them any more.

  12. Corporate Scum says:

    @mahaszmacoat: sorry, mate, but you’re clueless… djs that travel to play sets with a laptop+hd+mixer combo cost less money to the promoter (and thus to the festival-goer) than djs who carry bucketloads of cds and vinyl. plus it’s much less of a hassle to the dj (less weight, less bulky).
    (how much is greg wilson paying to get his r2r machines to budapest?)

    not to mention that a large chunk of the tunes that get girls (the good-looking ones, anyway) to shake their booty, are “white label” remixes, or mashups that you can’t get on itunes or the cd version of the album.

    and i’m all for the artists to receive proper royalties, but if what PiP wrote here http://www.pestiside.hu/20100809/summertime-nightlife-police-raid-season-continues-in-full-swing/#comment is true, the money mahasz collects doesn’t entirely reach the artists’ pockets.

    /now i’m off to mashup the latest selena gomez single with abba’s money money money… :-)

  13. mahaszmacoat says:

    Dear Corp S, Yes you’re right, I am clueless. I’ve been an artist (made a lot of records and all that) for a lot of years but I can’t say I’ve ever made money on it so i do agree with your point. A bit galling to hear one of my tunes played on the Hungarian Telly several times a night and not getting a penny for it (and without permission I might add).
    But I do know one thing, and that is the last time dj’s were “cool” and were ahead in the “get a girl” stakes was probably some time at the end of the 60’s. Now they are at their true position which is slightly behind Comic shop owners and possibly at the same level of an indie band roadie.

  14. Corporate Scum says:

    didn’t mean to offend you, and i’m sorry if i did… just wanted to point out that there are practical reasons for laptops and mp3s over vinyl and decks.
    (and if you care to direct me towards your records, i’m all ears… :-)

  15. mahaszmacoat says:

    Dear CS,
    I agree with you, there are practical reasons for using laptops, serato etc. But unlike all the previous replacements of existing media (78’s, jukeboxes, cassettes, cd’s and so on) this time the producers of the music are unable to earn in any way due to the free peer to peer downloads. One group of people who are earning money out of it is the dj who is downloading, storing and then playing that recording and getting paid for it. And that is the loophole that the Mahasz’s of this world have spotted. There’s no defence possible, unless of course the dj in question can produce his receipts proving that he bought his tunes from Itunes etc (in Italy apparently this has to be the case) so quite an easy shakedown. It would be quite nice that this might actually give a bit of a boost to the ailing Vinyl industry. “Show me your receipts or hand over the laptop!” “I’ve got vinyl!” “Curses! No money tonight lads!”
    The Music Industry has been looking for a replacement for all the lost cd sales for a long time, all these Grandad Bands (copyright Sziget Festival) can only play live for so long. Johnny DJ will do. There’s millions of ‘em.

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