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Creative Commons Announces Copyright Criminals Remix Contest

About CC

Winning Track to Be Featured in Film; Top 12 Tracks to Appear on CD

San Francisco, CA, USA ¬– December 6, 2005

Creative Commons, along with filmmakers Kembrew McLeod and Ben Franzen, today announced the Copyright Criminals Remix Contest. The competition encourages producers, DJs, and remixers from around the world to use audio snippets from the upcoming documentary film Copyright Criminals in new, original songs. One winner will have his/her music featured prominently in the final edit of Copyright Criminals. The winning track, along with 11 runners-up, will be included on the film’s companion CD. The contest will be hosted at ccMixter from Tuesday, December 6 through Tuesday, February 28.

Drawing from more than fifty interviews with prominent musicians, artists, scholars, lawyers, and music industry representatives, Copyright Criminals looks at the development of sound collage (also known as sampling). The film explores the complicated impact that copyright law has had on the creative practice of sampling and studies the conflicting opinions artists and others have about appropriation.

“This contest, like our documentary, examines what it means to be creative in an age of digital reproduction,” says Kembrew McLeod, co-director of Copyright Criminals. “Artists have traditionally borrowed from each other and have been directly inspired by the world around them. But what happens when digital technologies allow for very literal quotes to be inserted into new works?”

Samples of dialogue by artists like De La Soul, DJ Qbert, and members of Public Enemy, as well as Matmos, Coldcut, and members of Negativland – all taken from interviews conducted for Copyright Criminals – are available online at the popular remix community ccMixter for use as source material to be included in entrants’ songs. The audio snippets are available to the public for free through the use of Creative Commons licensing, which allows for the sharing of and building upon existing creative works. Entries will be judged by McLeod, Franzen, and author/producer Jeff Chang. Contest rules and details are available at ccMixter.

About the judges

Kembrew McLeod is a professor at the University of Iowa and an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker. McLeod has written music criticism for Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, and MOJO; and has authored two books, most recently Freedom of Expression®: Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity (Doubleday).

Ben Franzen is an Atlanta-based artist who owns an independent production company called Changing Images LLC, which specializes in video, photography, and multimedia. Franzen edits the animated TV program Squidbillies, which appears as part of the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim line-up.

Jeff Chang is the author of the American Book Award-winning Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. In 1993, he co-founded and ran the influential indie hip-hop label, SoleSides (now called Quannum Projects), helping launch the careers of DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born, and Lateef the Truth Speaker. He has helped produce over a dozen records.

About Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that promotes the creative re-use of intellectual and artistic works by empowering authors and audiences. It is sustained by the generous support of the Center for the Public Domain, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and the Hewlett Foundation. For more information, visit the group’s Web site.


Eric Steuer
Creative Director, Creative Commons

Kembrew McLeod
Co-director, Copyright Criminals

Creative Commons Press Kit

Posted 06 December 2005