Copyright Criminals on PBS Independent Lens

The documentary Copyright Criminals airs on PBS this week so check your local listings. For those who haven’t seen it, you’ll wish it was 4 hours longer. There’s just no way to cover all the interesting aspects and stories about sampling in an hour. Omitted is Negativland/U2, Verve/Rolling Stones, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose, nor any mention of DJ Shadow, Prince Paul, Girl Talk, Amon Tobin, Fatboy Slim, the cut-ups/musique concrete era, the legal/cultural difference between mixed media in visual art vs. music, etc. I don’t think the phrase “derivative work” is used once. Lessig makes a very brief appearance but should have been given way more time. There is too much time wasted on these video mash-ups of Michael Jackson videos that could have been spent on philosophical content. Moreover, nobody in the film suggests a solution to the problem. That said, the stuff on Hank Shocklee and Clyde Stubblefield is worth watching and kudos to PBS for embracing the issue.


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