Copyright Criminals
October 1, 2012 11:56 PM   Subscribe

Copyright Criminals, the 2009 PBS Documentary, discusses the complex artistic and legal history of sampling in music, featuring interviews with both the samplers (Chuck D, De La Soul, Shock G, El-P, DJ Qbert) and the sampled (George Clinton and Clyde Stubblefield). via egotrip
posted by chrchr (15 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Selection 2012: Q-Bert vs. Steve Albini vs. Miho Hatori - who would you rather have a beer with?

(&thanks for the post - only a third of the way through but finding all sides of the argument compelling!)
posted by mannequito at 12:51 AM on October 2, 2012


You cant stop people from being creative with what they have in front of them.
and I would not want to live in a society that did that.
...to try and copyright esthetics is to destroy esthetics.
posted by quazichimp at 1:37 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


think I'd choose Hank Shocklee after all.
posted by mannequito at 1:39 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apparently the drummer behind the "amen break" - from The Winstons' Amen Brother - died in poverty having never received any royalties on it. Which seems a bit harsh given that that sample pretty much formed the basis for a whole genre (drum & bass)
posted by iotic at 3:09 AM on October 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


One thing that's striking me about this documentary as I'm watching it - it's a little confused and unfocused. Some people are clearly talking about sampling as being rapping over someone else's record (e.g. MC Hammer) while others are looking at something that is clearly far more complex and much further removed from the source material. No-one really seems to acknowledge that 'sample-based music' isn't a monolithic entity - personally I think it's complex and that the same assumptions don't necessarily hold for the whole range. It makes for a weird discussion when people aren't really talking about the same thing...
posted by Dysk at 4:27 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


iotic, the wikipedia page for Gregory Coleman cites this Economist article for that fact - it's a good potted history of the Amen Break, interesting read.
posted by phl at 4:45 AM on October 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


The guy who's all like "I worked with Nirvana and Robert Plant" comes across as a dick. How can you work in the music business and not be aware of any of the great and truly creative music that's been made using sampling and/or DJing in the last few decades? To write it all off as "lazy" ... well, he's a twazzock.
posted by iotic at 8:16 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Apparently the drummer behind the "amen break" - from The Winstons' Amen Brother - died in poverty having never received any royalties on it. Which seems a bit harsh given that that sample pretty much formed the basis for a whole genre (drum & bass)"

In my Utopia, there's a progressive compulsory license statue that allows broke musicians to sample while compensating the original artists on a percentage basis that declines as the sample ages.

It's a really hard question to answer equitably, and I hate that the "Hey kids, stop all that downloadin'" always overwhelms that discussion.
posted by klangklangston at 9:53 AM on October 2, 2012



The guy who's all like "I worked with Nirvana and Robert Plant" comes across as a dick


That is notorious curmudgeon Steve Albini, and in this case, he doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about. People don't make sample-based music because it's easy. It's not exclusively made by people who can't play instruments. J. Dilla, by all accounts, was a superb drummer. RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan plays multiple instruments. Even the Roots use samples, and when they don't, ?uestlove is playing live drums, but is attempting to copy drum breaks from the canon. Basically their shtick is that they play samples with live instruments.

I play guitar and I'm learning keys, but when I started making music more seriously a couple years ago, I wanted to make sample-based music, not because it's the only way I can make music, but because it's more interesting to me and because it's part of a musical tradition that I want to be a part of.

And the lengths that people go to make sample-based music are telling. Under the current legal regime, something like "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" probably cost a fortune in sample clearances. It woud be much cheaper for Kanye West to hire a studio band. He uses samples because it's part of the aesthetic he wants to achieve.
posted by chrchr at 11:23 AM on October 2, 2012


OMG that was Steve Albini. Well I'm not gonna change my mind, he totally came across as a dick.
posted by iotic at 12:49 PM on October 2, 2012


What was your impression of him before then? I've generally assumed that if he were to hand you his business card it'd read

STEVE ALBINI
Producer, Dick
posted by mannequito at 11:30 PM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


STEVE ALBINI
Producer, Dick
posted by chrchr at 12:10 AM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed this. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Quonab at 5:51 PM on October 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well I didn't really have an impression, though I knew he "produced" some things I like, and I think I heard about the thing about not wanting to be called a Producer, but a Recorder of bands, or some such, and found it interesting.

The thing about sampling being lazy though ... it seems like he thinks he's being clever and insightful, when in fact it comes across as "the kind of music I like (indie rock) is better than this other kind of music (hip hop), and that's really one of the laziest kinds of thinking going.
posted by iotic at 11:36 PM on October 3, 2012


Steve Albini is indeed a rockist. I did like his little spiel right at the end (presumably they'd just asked him if he wanted to see sampling banned or pursued legally) at which point he just says "I'm allowed to have an opinion on whether or not I think sampling is cool without having to get the law involved. The law is already involved in too many things." So he's a curmudgeon, but in my book he's all right at the end of the day :)
posted by Dysk at 3:51 AM on October 4, 2012


« Older If you're thinking about being bitten by a coral s...  |  Mice are naturally fearful of ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments