RiP: Remix Manifesto -- documentary about copyright and the information age

Robbo sez,

In RiP: A remix manifesto, Web activist and filmmaker Brett Gaylor explores issues of copyright in the information age, mashing up the media landscape of the 20th century and shattering the wall between users and producers.

The film’s central protagonist is Girl Talk, a mash-up musician topping the charts with his sample-based songs. But is Girl Talk a paragon of people power or the Pied Piper of piracy? Creative Commons founder, Lawrence Lessig, Brazil's Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil and pop culture critic Cory Doctorow are also along for the ride.

RiP: A remix manifesto (Thanks, Robbo!)


  1. “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” –jim jarmusch

  2. “The film’s central protagonist is Girl Talk, a mash-up musician topping the charts with his sample-based songs.”

    …um, and what charts would those be?

  3. Girl Talk is overrated, the Hood Internet is so much better.

    Isn’t that like saying you prefer MGMT over Soulwax?

    If so, then there’s no accounting for taste.

  4. Wow. Love that Jim Jarmush quote. Nice, thanks Anonymous. I saw this film tonight. It was so great. Congratulations, Brett. This is very important work. Can’t wait until it is downloadable so I can send it to everyone I know. I’m curious about the CC license though, why no attribution-share alike? Why no commercial use?

  5. Teehee, Lars Ulrich! If only he knew that his hissy fits during the Napster wars made me lose all interest in ever buying another Metallica CD. Anytime I hear their songs now, I experience a Ludovico response and rememeber his Congressional testimony, and that just ruins the music for me.

  6. #4, #7
    The download is a-comin’! We actually just finished this film literally on MONDAY so we’re playing catch up on the release. The goal is an internet release, we may decide to play it at some finicky film fests first, but we’re trying our best to tear down the exclusivity wall. Regardless, a free download, as well as streaming version, is coming soon soon soon!

    #2 – amazing quote!
    #9 – Not sure which CC license you’re refering to – maybe thats on the trailer? I did indeed use a share-alike license, my favourite license :)

  7. #11 – I was referring to the license on the Open Source Cinema website (Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported), which allows folks to share and remix under two conditions: (1) attribution (2) non-commercial purposes. No share-alike stipulation. I was curious as to why you chose this license… but given your response perhaps I’m looking at the wrong spot. I’m an advocate of the Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license because it enables creative flows between the nonprofit and commercial sector. (Although I wonder about those categories sometimes, given some nonprofit practices I’ve witnessed and the importance of making it easier for companies to contribute to the commons, but that’s another issue :))

  8. #11 – The NFB site has “All Rights Reserved, 2008” in the footer, and has a big scary legal terms page saying “You may not broadcast, rent, sell, alter or redistribute the content of this Site, in whole or in part, or use it in any other way for financial or commercial gain without the prior written consent of the NFB.” If you are using a copyleft (“share-alike”) license, then it’s likely they are violating it by putting your content under this umbrella.

    The footer of your site, as noted above, says “All video, where applicable, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.”

    Calling a film “open source” is a bad idea for a number of reasons. The Open Source Definition was designed to apply to computer software, not cultural works, so many of the conditions for calling a work “open source” don’t apply cleanly to anything but computer software. (The term “open source” is by itself problematic, being a deliberately confusing dilution of the concept of free software.)

    For anybody who does want to apply the term “open source” to works other than software, a reasonably reliable guide to acceptable licenses might be the Debian project, who include documentation, music, video, and other cultural works alongside the software they distribute. The Open Source Definition is based on the Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG), so it is reasonable to presume that anything meeting the DFSG can be called “open source”. At the moment it appears that the CC-BY 3.0 and CC-BY-SA 3.0 licenses are considered “DFSG-free”, although this is still contentious.

    The best one can say is that one might be able to call works licensed under some Creative Commons licenses (probably only two of them) “open source”, but that to do so is unlikely to tell anybody much about what they are actually free to do with the work (at least not without citing the actual license), and is likely to be more confusing than helpful.

    A better (but still imperfect) label would be “Free Cultural Work” or “Free Content”. These can be applied to any work meeting the Definition of Free Cultural Works, which aims to provide a clear definition of free works similar to the Free Software Definition, tailored to cultural works rather than software.

    I think your film would meet the criteria in the Definition of Free Cultural Works, once you make it clear that it is licensed under one of the two Creative Commons licenses above, and make it available for download in a free format (Ogg Theora being the obvious candidate).

  9. MJD @#14:

    Not to shoot down your comments, because I actually appreciate the care that you put into them, but I think OpenSourceCinema is just the name of the production company, and not some sort of organized “movement”. As far as I can tell, people have virtually free reign in chosing the names of their production companies. I once saw a movie produced by “Paperclip Productions” which never once prominently featured any paperclips. Frank Zappa’s label for a while was “Barking Pumpkin Records”, yet on his albums: no barking and no mention of pumpkins.

    Kidding aside, you’re probably right that care should be taken when chosing a name that’s not obviously arbitrary and which could potentially be adopted on a larger scale.

  10. I caught the last half of this doco and thought it was excellent. Even if I didn’t enjoy ALL of the music clips, I appreciated the ideas. Wasn’t it Voltaire who said: “I disagree with what he says, but lI will defend to the death his right to say it” ? Something like that. Well done, its about time those arrogant, hypocritcal US corporations got their come-uppance. I look forward to seeing the whole doco., downloading it and passing it on….!

  11. I also just saw this documentary on SBS in Australia. Self and wife both impressed by the solidity of the arguments in the film. We feel this needs to be shown widely, and especially to those who don’t know that there’s an alternative view of IP to that of MPAA and RIAA.
    In Aus, the equivalents of these two orgs are fighting an ISP in court to defacto legislate a 3-strikes and you’re out (of internet access) for sharing copyrighted material (which by their outrageous view of copyright would include remixes). The nature of the complaint: the ISP defendant didn’t take unilateral action against its customers, but passed accusations from the copyright holders’ organisations on to the relevant police department (who have better things to do with their time). The media companies don’t want to sue individuals, don’t want to sue the police for prioritising actual dangers to society, they want the ISPs to protect their copyrights, at the ISPs expense.

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