PBS

Copyright Criminals: PBS Documentary on Sampling

Cameron Parkins, January 15th, 2010

Copyright Criminals is a new documentary on the rise of sampling, specifically in hip-hop music, and the cultural and legal effects it has caused. From the Copyright Criminals website:

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.

The film will be broadcast publicly on PBS this Tuesday night, January 19th so be sure to check your local listings for time. You can get a taste of what is in store by watching the film’s trailer and starting January 26th you will be able purchase the film on DVD.

In conjunction with the film’s development a contest was held at ccMixter challenging community members to sample select voice-overs from the film to create an original track. Winner Dermes’ track Sounds that Sound good is featured on the Copyright Criminals DVD as well as a compilation CD featuring the other 12 top entries. All of the tracks are available for free at ccMixter under a CC Attribution-NonCommercial license.

Lastly, for those in New York City, a party is being held this Tuesday (1/19) at The Brooklyn Bowl to celebrate the film’s premiere and DVD release. The night will feature appearances by EL-P, Eclectic Method, Mr. Len and DJ Spooky – doors open at 8PM to be followed by the PBS Broadcast Premiere at 10PM.

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Raw Footage from NOVA’s “Car of the Future” Open for Sharing and Remix

Jane Park, April 23rd, 2008

In the winter of 2006, NOVA embarked on an “open production” experiment, asking viewers to contribute by reading and commenting on a preview of their show’s script—the (then) in-progress documentary, “Car of the Future.” The show’s producers liked the results, and according to the Wired Blog Network’s Underwire, NOVA decided to return the favor by “[giving] the material back.” 

For the first time ever, PBS and NOVA have released 240 clips of raw footage from the making of the “Car of the Future” documentary online. The videos, which include full-length interviews with world-renowned scientists and engineers (in addition to various footage of the high-tech vehicles themselves), is free for viewing, sharing, and remixing under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License (CC BY-NC). NOVA encourages you to take this footage and “create your own video or multimedia project about tomorrow’s cars, environmental issues, or other related topics you care about.” They also ask you to send them back your finished product if you want, so that they can feature the best videos on their site.

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