Archive for the ‘Remixes & Derivative Works’ Category

Girl Talk As Fair Use Martyr

We saw today on the Creative Generalist blog a post about a film entitled Rip! A Remix Manifesto. The film, according to the Open Source Cinema Web site, is “an open source documentary about copyright and remix culture. Created over a period of six years, the film features the collaborative remix work of hundreds of people who have contributed to this website, helping to create the world’s first open source documentary.”

The film debuts March 15 at the South by Southwest film festival, but its trailer is available now.

The film’s protagonist is Gregg Gillis, the personality behind the one man sample band Girl Talk. Gillis has become the poster child for fair use lately: Gillis also was a protagonist in another fair use documentary entitled Good Copy, Bad Copy, which was released in 2007. We want to use this piece to probe Girl Talk’s role in the policy debate about copyright, technology, and fair use.

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Written by Copycense Editorial

03/12/2009 at 16:40

The Shrinking DVD Reissue Market

Gordon Cairns. Boxed Sets Exhaust Back Catalogue. Sunday Herald (Scotland). Jan. 28, 2008. The Herald is a new addition to Clippings, and its coverage of the UK DVD market suggests the film industry is beginning to feel the decay from which the music industry has suffered. The details are not encouraging: the number of DVD releases (through 3Q, 2007)dropped 15%. What’s more pressing, though, is that the candidate pool of older television shows that could be re-released is shrinking rapidly. Here at the Cense, we are big fans of American TV shows compiled on DVD box sets, but with each passing year, the offerings seem to become increasingly tepid. “Gilligan’s Island” is OK for an occasional trip down memory lane, but coughing up $30 to see Ginger prance around in the sand for more than 15 hours? We’re really not feeling it like that.

(Editor’s Note: Copycense editors originally commented on this article in the Jan. 29, 2008, edition of Copycense Clippings.)

Copycense™: Incisive IP.

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Written by sesomedia

01/31/2008 at 08:57

Sampling, Registration, and a Broken Copyright System

Remember this name: Armen Boladian. According to Columbia law professor Tim Wu, Boladian is the sole owner of Bridgeport Music, Inc., a one-man company that just happens to control the copyrights to most of George Clinton’s song catalog. Clinton is the mastermind musician and producer behind the monstrous Parliament-Funkadelic bands that ruled soul music during the seventies and eighties. Along with both bands, Clinton is a 1997 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and his works remain popular today because they are sampled widely by contemporary hip hop artists.

Boladian also is the plaintiff in the stunningly stupid and ill-conceived 2004 case Bridgeport Music v. Dimension Films. The Bridgeport decision effectively has illegalized musical sampling within the Sixth Circuit (which includes the states of Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee), a holding that runs counter to longstanding doctrine in other judicial circuits about fair and “de minimis” use of protected works.

Following the Bridgeport precedent, a federal jury earlier this year found that producer Sean “Diddy” Combs illegally used an Ohio Players sample on a track of Notorious B.I.G.’s epic 1994 album Ready to Die. The jury awarded Bridgeport a $4 million judgment, and the judge in that case ordered the album off the shelves. The injunction means a work that Rolling Stone magazine considers one of the 500 greatest albums of all time is no longer available.

And last month, Bridgeport sued rapper Jay-Z, alleging he illegally used a sample of a song in the Bridgeport catalog in the 2003 single “Justify My Thug.” Wu’s November article in Slate characterizes Boladian as a “copyright troll.”

On the surface, this month’s column is about music sampling, but the fundamental issues in the Bridgeport cases – including questions of ownership, lack of identifying information about protected work, and the narrowing of fair use – affect all types of information and creative information.

An Information Today exclusive.

K. Matthew Dames. Sampling, Registration, and a Broken Copyright System. Information Today. January 2007.

CopyCense™: Creativity & Code.™ A venture of Seso Group LLC.

Written by sesomedia

01/16/2007 at 09:00

Read This Article

Here at Copycense, we’ve long contended that the trend toward user-generated content had so altered America’s business, technological, and cultural landscape that the country’s legislature and court system would have no choice but to recognize this shift and begin to change the laws it passes and the way such laws are interpreted.

We have wanted to codify these ideas into a CommuniK. article, but to some degree, the Times‘ Jon Pareles has beaten us to the punch. Pareles’ article on user-generated content is one of the best single statements we have seen about the trend and the issues that surround it. Virtually every information professional, entertainment executive, and creator should read this article as a Cliffs’ Notes version of the digital economy.

The following quote helps show how good this article is

Copyright holders might be incensed; since buying YouTube, Google is paying some of them and fielding lawsuits from others. But a truly shrewd marketer might find some larger value. Those parodies, collages, remakes and mismakes are unvarnished market research: a way to see what people really think of their product. They’re also advertising: a reminder of how enjoyable the official versions were.

The amateurs may seem irreverent, disrespectful and even parasitical as they help themselves to someone else’s hooks. But they’re confirming that the pros came up with something durable enough to demand a reply. Without icons, what would iconoclasts mock?

Pareles follows with another outstanding observation

Individually the hopefuls can’t compete with a heavily promoted major-label star. Face it: Song for song, most of them just aren’t as good. But collectively they are stiff competition indeed: for time, for attention and, eventually, for cultural impact. The multiplying choices promise ever more diversity, ever more possibility for innovation and unexpected delight. But they also point toward an increasingly atomized audience, a popular culture composed of a zillion nonintersecting mini-cults. So much available self-expression can only accelerate what narrowing radio and cable formats had already begun: the separation of culture into ever-smaller niches.

That fragmentation is a problem for businesses, like recording companies and film studios, that are built on selling a few blockbusters to make up for a lot of flops. The music business in particular is going to have to remake itself with lower and more sustainable expectations, along the lines of how independent labels already work.

But let the business take care of itself; it’s the culture that matters.

For these reasons, Pareles’ article is this week’s Article of the Week and Quote of the Week.

Jon Pareles. 2006, Brought to You by You. The New York Times. Dec. 10, 2006.

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Written by sesomedia

12/11/2006 at 09:00

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