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Copyright Criminals

  NR Closed Captioning

Benjamin Franzen

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About the Movie

Copyright Criminals examines the creative and commercial value of musical sampling, including the related debates over artistic expression, copyright law, and (of course) money. This documentary traces the rise of hip-hop from the urban streets of New York to its current status as a multibillion-dollar industry. For more than thirty years, innovative hip-hop performers and producers have been re-using portions of previously recorded music in new, otherwise original compositions. When lawyers and record companies got involved, what was once referred to as a “borrowed melody” became a “copyright infringement.” The film showcases many of hip-hop music’s founding figures like Public Enemy, De La Soul, and Digital Underground—while also featuring emerging hip-hop artists from record labels Definitive Jux, Rhymesayers, Ninja Tune, and more. It also provides an in-depth look at artists who have been sampled, such as Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown’s drummer and the world’s most sampled musician), as well as commentary by another highly sampled musician, funk legend George Clinton. As artists find ever more inventive ways to insert old influences into new material, this documentary asks a critical question, on behalf of an entire creative community: Can you own a sound? USA Today calls Copyright Criminals "...a compelling and insightful documentary illuminating both sides of a hotly debated issue: Should the original artists get paid when someone samples their work? Are current copyright laws out of step with our mashed-up, high-tech culture?" " amazing documentary on the history of sampling" -Rob Sheffield, Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone. " vibrant in presentation and in its use of audio/visual mash-ups proving their points that it's not only one of the most enjoyable documentaries you've seen in a while, it's one of the only ones you can dance to." - Hartford Courant. "Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod's exceptionally smart and energetic documentary lays out the complexities of sampling--artistic and political, legal and philosophical." -

Customer Reviews

A great documentary on the issue of musical sampling.

A great but cautionary tale on the dangers of digitally sampling music without permission. The issue of musical sampling is a very sticky issue: To hip hop artists, sampling is an art form; to classically trained musicians, sampling is a form of artistic laziness; to Corporate America, sampling is outright stealing and one must pay the price; and to music lovers like me, sampling is digging up unheard treasures. Whether you're for or against musical sampling, the issue will remain controversial in the years to come.

100% Greatness and 100% Truly Informative!!!!

Not much to add because everything that Mr. S.U.B. said is on PAR!
Will it make you think twice about making music,'ll make you think 10 times!
Unfortunately, that's the bad part; possibly bottling up the next new and true talent.
Hard to be an artist when you can't express your thought processes.
Still, all in all, this is a must have fantastic documentary!

Copyright Criminals
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Customer Ratings