Friday, September 17, 2010

Free showing and discussion of Copyright Criminals at Madison Public Library Saturday

Who owns a sound, anyhow? And in a broader sense, where do you draw the line between legitimate artistic borrowing and intellectual property theft?

Questions like this that began with sampling in the hip-hop music world are now being asked in all media, as digital technology makes copying as easy as pushing a button. Madison's own Clyde Stubblefield has been at the vortex of this trend. The former James Brown drummer is the world's most sampled musician.

If you're downtown for the Farmers' Market this Saturday, you might want to drop in on this free screening that kicks off a new documentary series at the Madison Public Library. It's also an opportunity to see the world's most sampled musician in person, Madison's own Clyde Stubblefield.
Community Cinema features a sneak peek of nine documentaries set to broadcast on the award-winning PBS series Independent Lens.

To launch the 2010-2011 series, on Saturday, September 18 at 1 p.m., Madison Public Library will present Copyright Criminals, a film that examines the creative and commercial value of musical sampling, including the related debates over artistic expression, copyright law and money. In a special appearance, Clyde Stubblefield and DJ Vinnie Toma will join us to lead the panel discussion and answer questions about the film.

The film showcases many of hip-hop music’s founding figures like Public Enemy, De La Soul and Digital Underground, as well as emerging artists such as audiovisual remixers Eclectic Method. It also provides first-person interviews with artists who have been sampled, such as Clyde Stubblefield — James Brown's drummer and the world's most sampled musician — and commentary by another highly sampled musician, funk legend George Clinton.
The U.S. Constitution empowered Congress "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." You'll have a chance Saturday to see what all this means more than 200 years later, when most of the rights are owned by giant corporate entities the Founding Fathers never imagined -- and when the phrase "limited times" has been stretched out of all recognition.

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