The film, Copyright Criminal, does a great job of exploring the new remixed culture that we all now live in. This stems from the new digital technologies that allow creators to sample, mix, and mashup previously existing sounds and recording in order to re-contextualize it and make it something new. This, of course, can be viewed as controversial due to the fact that the process brings up legal issues regarding artistic expression, copyright law, and money.

Founded by hip-hop artists, the process of sampling has blurred the lines between producer and consumer. These samplers have redefined what it means to be creative by inventing new ways to insert old influences into new material. In the film, they compare this work to that of contemporary artists like Andy Warhol who was famous for painting over previously existing painting and using a silk screening method to create art from images of popular culture. I think this is a great comparison because, although Warhol had to deal with his own legal issues regarding his work, he continues to be a household name and a well-respected artist by a majority of the public, while many samplers and hip-hop artists appear to not garner that same respect.

Beginning in the 1980s, these artists created a culture of borrow and take that we still ascribe to today, if not more so now than then. Sampling created new issues for both mainstream artists and the underground, urban artists who were sampling their work. While the practice has causes problems, it has also revitalized the careers of many artists who had been forgotten.

Overall, while I think credit is due where credit is earned, this practice of sampling and bits and pieces and creating collages is an important part of how culture is made. Technology has been a huge part of this and the practice, along with the newly accessible way to do it has shifted the way we produce and consume culture, and I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing.

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