Protection of Ideas or Creative Freedom? A New Doc Explores Copyright Issues in the 21st Century




A movement is underway. Or should I say, we are seeing a remarkable change in the film and recording industries. It doesn’t stop there, we are also re-writing the rules of every creative industry.

Why is this happening? The answer is in the new documentary from Montreal director Brett Gaylor. RiP: A remix manifesto is one of the best, thought-provoking films I’ve seen. I’m so fascinated by the topic of intellectual property and how the net generation is changing the way information and art is shared. We have copyright laws for a reason but are these laws now outdated and irrelevant in the digital age? Are we limiting creativity when we can’t add to, manipulate or alter ideas, images and music that have come before?

When someone forwarded me the link to the film and Facebook event, I watched the trailer and decided to go see it on opening night in Toronto. I was excited that someone had decided to make a film about the controversial topic of copyright and piracy.



The film centers around mash-up artist Girl Talk, who samples hundreds of songs with his computer to make it his own work of art. He has made hundreds of mash-ups from other artists’ work and is making money from touring without paying a cent to the artists or subjected to legal ratifications. Is what Girl Talk is doing wrong? This topic is explored in depth throughout the film.

If you think Girl Talk is an originator, William Burroughs shook the literary world upside down when he cut up and rearranged text on a page to make it new. Rap mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs claimed he invented the remix when he sampled everyone from The Police to Led Zeppelin.

This is not a new topic but one that should be explored as we deal with the changes the net has brought in the twenty-first century.



I encourage anyone with an interest in this topic to go see it. At the very least, the documentary was visually stimulating and well made. The best part is the film itself is open source and can be re-worked or mashed-up by anyone who pleases.

If you want to view the film in your city, visit their Web site for screening times and locations.