I just had the great pleasure of hosting Kembrew McLeod at Vanderbilt. He came to campus to show his new film, Copyright Criminals, and lead discussions on the topic of collage art, sampling in rap music, copyright, and freedom of expression. By all accounts, his visit was a wild success. (And we met Michael Stipe.)
I recommend that you purchase and read Kembrew’s forthcoming book (with Peter DiCola), Creative License (Duke, 2011) for an in-depth understanding of the issues raised in the film. Kembrew has also written an interesting Atlantic piece explaining how the film was made–and especially why he feels “Fair Use” provisions should exempt them from paying to clear the visual and audio material in the film.
To get a little taste of some of the examples used in the film (and more), check out this compilation of songs that reflect the difficulty of formulating fair copyright regulations within a collage-based art form. (You can get the files here.) (thanks PL.)