Hello guys! since we were talking about copyright and creative commons in our last session I thought it would be great to share this video and write a post on it.
Here it goes:
Rip a Remix Manifesto is a documentary based on the copyright concept and the idea that all creations should fall on the public domain (copy left). The protagonist in this documentary is the mash up artist “ Girl Talk”. The central premise of the documentary revolves around the estimation that Girl Talk’s sample based music should not be considered copyright infringement. In order to convince us (the audience) they (the documentary staff, along with remixers and Djs) drafted a manifesto, which they corroborated with interviews and facts and it consists of four points: culture always builds on the past, the past always tries to control the future, our future is becoming less free and to build free societies you must limit the control of the past. From the outset, the documentary seemingly emboldens its viewers to take a stand on the issue of copyright infringement: either you agree with the argument that all ideas should fall on the public domain or you agree with the copyright law and see Girl Talk’s music as an infringement. For the uninitiated, a copyright is a legal concept that gives the creator (“author”) of an idea exclusive right to it. In order for an idea to be copyrightable it has to be an original work of sufficient duration and fixed in a tangible medium. The main purpose of copyright law is to promote the development of science and the useful arts. The government makes this possible by granting authors ownership of six exclusive rights (monopoly) to their work for a determined period of time.
The six legal rights of a copyright are: right to reproduce, right to distribute, right to publicly perform, right to publicly display, right to digital transmission and the one that affects girl talk’s music more directly, the right to create a derivative work. According to the copyright act a derivative work 17 U.S.C. §101: is a work based upon one or more pre-existing works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.
In order to create a derivative work in the music realm the user has to negotiate an agreement with the copyright holder of the song (usually the artist or composer) and with the copyright holder of the master (in most cases the record label). Girls Talk’s music is based upon famous songs, which makes them, derivative works as a result. Therefore, according to the copyright law Girl Talk is liable of copyright infringement in every song that he samples and or remixes without getting a license from the copyright holder.
As a musician and a music business major student, I analyze this problem from two different perspectives: I understand that music has always been built upon earlier works and it is impossible to create something new that doesn’t relate to a previous work. On the other hand, no person is more powerful than or able to usurp the written law. Therefore, any creation that breaks any of the exclusive rights in a copyright should be considered infringement. Even though Girl Talk’s music can be considered original and creative most of it constitutes significant amounts of copyrighted material. From my point of view, Girl Talk is been unethical by ignoring the fact that the music he is creating breaks with the law (willful infringement). Hope you guys find this information helpful and watch the video!!!! do it do it!!!!