Boing Boing Video's Remix of "RiP: A Remix Manifesto"

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Today's episode of Boing Boing Video is a remixed series of snips from RiP: A Remix Manifesto, an "open source documentary" about copyright and remix culture. Yes, a remix of a remix of a remix! We're nothing if not meta around here.

The film includes copyfighters such as Lawrence Lessig, Girl Talk, Negativland, Gilberto Gil, The Mouse Liberation Front -- and Boing Boing's own Cory Doctorow.

RiP was some six years in the making, and filmmaker Brett Gaylor is in turn inviting you to contribute to the film by remixing and adding to the conversation. Info on screenings throughout the world here, and Brett invites all of Boingdom to...

Participate in REMIXING TIMES SQUARE at this link. Rotoscope, re-draw, photoshop/illustrate remix times square from a private space to the public domain The results are being compiled and will be screened at the Ann Arbor film festival March 28th! Try the web based video editor - all chapters of the film are available for remix.
The film screened at SXSW last week, and there's a lot of resulting press bubbling up this week. Here's a snip from Indiewire's review:
Brett Gaylor's "RiP: A Remix Manifesto" studies the paradoxes of copyright law and its discontents, but mainly it's a celebration of remix culture in the twenty-first century. Using music sampling artist Girl Talk as his primary case study, Gaylor explores the ways a new generation of artists have uncovered original methods for creating something new from the fabric of something old--and he slyly ties the trend to a consistent aspect of art history. Touching on infamous situations such as the recording industry's sloppy lawsuits against music downloaders, he surveys a wide variety of discussions taking place in both legal and aesthetic circles.
Thanks to the National Film Board of Canada for their kind assistance with today's BBV episode -- their landing page for the RiP project is here.

UPDATE: The doc was picked up by a US distributor at SXSW, BSide, and they are arranging "open cource screenings" where people can request the film and get it for free. The URL to request a screening is

Previously on Boing Boing:
* RiP: Remix Manifesto -- documentary about copyright and the information age
* Monochrom's love song for Lessig

(Special thanks to Boing Boing Video's hosting and publishing provider Episodic.)


  1. I saw this a couple of weeks ago at the DOXA festival in Vancouver. It’s fantastic. At several points it made me want to march in the streets. It doesn’t just tell about the copyfight: it uses all the sound and image and power the medium to show it, and to show the amazing creative work the law has been hijacked to block. See this movie. Help other people see this movie. When they do, they will understand why we fight.

  2. About 3 years ago I set aside a significant chunk of my time to ‘solve’ this issue (in my opinion): freely distributable Remixes without copyright infringement.

    It’s not that hard, but it would require more cooperation than I believe exists in humanity :-(

  3. I’m watching all the chapters of the RiP film. It’s fascinating. I’m still arguing in my head about the whole copyright/mashup thing, but the film is very interesting.

    Thanks for posting it.

  4. I’ve made what amounts to a remix film recently, but I still have qualms about the whole mashup remix thing. My qualms are less about copyright than about creativity. To my mind, video remixes fare better than music remixes.

    Remix music doesn’t have a very good sound. It’s catchy and makes you move but everything sounds false… like a remix.

    Maybe some software is needed to smooth it over a bit and make the remix sound more like an original recording.

    But I think there’s some sleight of hand going on here with remix. Why isn’t Beck a remixer? Bob Dylan? The Stones? Radiohead? Prince? Pink? I know Beck does some mix work but he records mainly original work.

    Also, remix music is catchy and makes you move and jump and react with surprise at the clever mixes. But it’s devoid of emotion. There ain’t no love there. None. It’s as sterile as a laptop.

    If I were to sit down with a guitar and make a piece of music based on a Muddy Waters tune, that would be a much different thing than if I remixed a recording of Muddy Waters. One is alive, the other is not. I think this is an enormously important concern. The focus on copyright and open source is fine, but it may be masking what actually could be a weakening of culture in an aesthetic sense.

    I think it’s much easier to work in film or video with the remix approach than to work in music. So far, I have not heard a single good piece of remix music. Not one. But I’ve seen some good remix films. Totally different thing.

  5. To the commenter above – what about cover bands? Where does this copyright battle end? How long before playing a Led Zep tune on your guitar alone at home is illegal??? I like the use of the Lars Ulrich stuff here, Lars: You’re a retard. Listen to what you have said! Now Lars is breaking his own laws: “Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, who led his band’s lawsuit against music file-sharing site Napster in 2000, has admitted that he illegally downloaded his band’s recent album ‘Death Magnetic’.”

  6. Wynneth #6,

    I’m not talking copyright in my comment at #5. I’m talking aesthetics. Whole different ball game really. I can see as well as anyone that mixing available content is a creative act. I’m still suffering a little brain-jam about it, but that’s only because I’m so old and crusty. It’s hard for my tired dried old brain to get out of copyright jail. But give me a teeny bit of credit for trying. After all, I just finished making a mashup film of my own. I tried to use public domain footage of course, but you never know.

    I’m really talking now about the aesthetics – the feel of what I see and hear. The ‘RiP’ documentary frankly shows some pretty awful stuff. I would be happy to call Girl Talk an editor, but I would not go so far as to refer to him as an artist. But I’m a hypocrite because I am much more willing to accept video mashups than music mashups or remixes (I don’t really know which is the right term).

    The music remixes just don’t work. Video remixes work. Maybe it’s because we’re used to seeing images change suddenly – to switch from one thing to another abruptly. Not so with music really. Music needs a thread, a continuum, with life and feeling in it. I think it’s very difficult to express much of anything in music via the editing and remixing of an utterance from someone else that was meant to convey a totally different feeling or meaning. I’m not a musician though. I don’t really know what I’m talking about.

    But I will say that I have seldom had so much fun making a movie as I have had over the past several months making my own version of a mashup or remix. It’s amazing how the mind works when looking for just the right little bit of film from 50 years ago perhaps to make a point or express a subtle feeling. I really liked it and would not want to forbid such an act of creativity to any artist.

  7. This is a great film with a very important message. There has been a significant shift in the way we do almost everything media-related, meaning copyright laws simply cannot and should not hold the same power they once did. Here at Notable TV we understand that the future of media production and consumerism is all about fusion – of old work and original work. To obey copyright laws in the most strict form would be going against everything society is moving towards now and in the future.

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