Left Copy activist Brett Gaylor, in his creative commons documentary RIP: A Remix Manifesto, lends support to musician Greg Gillis (aka Girl Talk). Their idea is that Copy Write, Fair Use and Creative Commons laws are negatively affecting this new and sky rocketing genre of art in the music world. He depicts his point using what he calls Copy Left (a notion left of the music industry, at hand) in stead of Copy Right (being as how the laws now stand). The Copy Right laws blatantly state: Protection extends not only to copies of the written word and recordings of sound, but to visual images such as photographs, animated images, motion pictures, or videotapes. It also includes taped live performances. Gaylor and Gillis ask for answers in black and white, as they can only be viewed in many shades of Grey, entailing the dichotomy of Copy Right and Copy Left legal issues as they continue to walk on a Fair Use, Creative Commons and Copy Right tightrope. The objective of the documentary is in full the opinion of the makers, insinuating a fair point that this form of art is not illegal via copy right infringements, but a turning point that will impact the world of music as a unique and desired art form. Fair Use blatantly states: fair use of copyrighted materials in teaching and instruction and for research, Published works that were never copyrighted. Creative Commons blatantly states: the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice.
Gillis, a biomedical engineer by day and live-masher DJ sensation by night, has gained tremendous recognition for his amazing talents in mashing and mixing sampled recognizable themes, (famous copy written selling hooks…) as well as using plenty of unrecognizable copy written samples. This film does not depict, or intend to include that he has written any original hits to mashup, contributing to his fame. Nor has he been asked by these authors to mix their pieces. Whether he’d be an awesome mixer of his own material or not, it’s not the repertoire at hand in this film. His art form has created controversy for this very reason:
He’s brilliant at creating extremely technical, monumental, mixes of famous hooks owned by others, into mashups and is an energetic live performer, iconic to this new sensational genre, these powerful live performances are recorded and available on the www. *but he uses other’s works of fame to gain his own fame without the authors permission and in my opinion…, quite illegally.
Gillis shares his mashups with other mixers on the internet, calling the mashup his legal piece of art. Knowing these illegal elements that make them so unique and that he is using for his own purposes does not, in any form or way, fall under appropriate guide lines of either Copy Right, Fair use or creative commons. This is causing great dismay in the music industry. But Gillis does not want to take ‘no’ for an answer, therefore he isn’t asking for anyone’s permission for usage.
There are valid questions. Is the music industry ridiculous? Do changes need to be made with EMI, and music royalties? I think so, in many ways. The Industry is not stopping art from moving forward though, or stopping genres to change in the music industry. What good would that do for their profit? Are there are too many facets in the music industry to keep up with as it is changing? Uh huh. That’s the problem that needs to be dealt with appropriately, and in my opinion, not dishonestly. There are Copy Right laws that crossover one another continuously as the industry does change.
I believe Gaylor’s and Gillis’s point is moot. No matter what art you would like to create, in my opinion, keep creating. If there is a legal point that arises and you know it, I believe you must stick with the program as you put forth the efforts as you are gathering together the logistics before acting against them. Purposefully breaking a current law isn’t rallying for your cause and taking one specific step at a time for his cause. It may be painstaking as Gillis is trying to make legal changes to benefit himself and even perhaps, a good cause. But, communication is what’s needed as he is try to taking these steps toward making a change. It will come along with it’s validity. If you want to be part of history, famed for your efforts in the future, I say, buck up and take small steps needed in progression. It’s been done like this for millions of years. In this film Gaylor and Gillis are trying to depict that this is in fact what he is doing, but truly, he is continuing with what he wants only because he hasn’t gotten sued yet or thrown in jail. No matter how talented he is, or unfair anyone thinks it is, consider the fact, that going about it in this manner could be making it worse than moving it forward to a more progressing solution. This may even negatively impact other artists and their quests in the future as well. Don’t be a Pirate to prove a point and get what you want. Get to work for your purpose, as you believe in it so strongly.
If you read the ‘Loving What You Do… Now Here’s A Guy:’ page you might have caught it. Who would think Thich Naht Hanh was a funny guy? My friend went to a retreat in Plum Village about ten years ago. The sweet figure of a little robed man, entered a large conference room to speak on ‘suffering being the means to happiness’. He had a Lotus Flower in his hands and he stood quiet for a moment. Then, he held it out to the crowded room announcing in his gentle voice; “Beautiful flower……, come from POOP!”. We don’t really think about intellectuals or spiritual leaders as having a witty sense of humor, or one at all for that matter. I say, anyone who has put in the time to think and write with compassion, so that whomever he can touch will relate to it, channels this to some extent through their humor. You just have to read between the lines a little.
We certainly know that Charlie Chaplain was a funny guy, and a sad guy, but profoundly deep? Oh yeah! Albert Einstein could be quite intellectually cheeky, but still, in his simple and concise manner of speech, he thought and spoke deeply with his inner being. John Lennon (-listen to Imagine”) was a silly, mischievous, as well as, a cynical guy for a real long time but only because he sought peace. Here is an interview Lennon gave after his quotes were misconstrued by the media, regarding the popularity of The Beatles & Jesus Christ and the impact it made on the public. -I grew up thinking, they were all that was… Oh Yeah, they were… -Was it a fluke then, serendipity as and how he achieved his peace? Then finally, the bud of enlightenment upon seeking his own peace, began transforming his ideology toward the world living as ‘one’ with peace… and of course, to give it a chance. Well, his tragic death, as horrifying and painful as it was to the world then, led to more people understanding what ‘give peace a chance’ meant. Maybe it was the only way for his piece on peace to be proven positive and acknowledged. Posthumously, he is revered as having manifested a great consciousness of peace that continues to pay forward worthy and worldly affects.
Many wouldn’t think…, but whose to know? How deep Alan Alda (of the hit 70’s series MASH) really is, and if so, why he’d be so ironically funny? Wouldn’t you think the same of zany Gene Wilder for that matter? Point being, human nature is a thrilling concept to rummage through as you dig into yourself, and observe others; investigating…, a great deal. What you find can be so unpredictable. Intellectual or rational, today? I have the right to change my mind tomorrow, to make sure I still have one, of course! Hmmm. All pretty fun for creative minds. As Steve Carell said in ‘Dinner For Schmucks’, You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not. Well, I (Andrea) am. “But I’m not the only one.”
No matter where you go, there you are. So, just remember, like these guys… loving what you do, changes everything.
Andrea De Vito is a videographer and production manager in the Upper Valley of Vermont. For most of her adult life, she worked in the music and advertising industry as a jingle singer/writer, copy writer, vocal producer and voice over talent in South Florida. In the later of those 15 years, she also ran a small decorative design company, serving Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Upon moving back to her New England birthplace in 2009 where she became active in community access television, she decided to broaden her technical skills and is presently working toward her associates degree in multimedia communications at CCV in Wilder Vermont.
Andrea has worked as a contract videographer, producing local community access television shows, advocating for the anti-abuse of humans and animals. Besides volunteering for elder care, hospice, and the fight against domestic abuse, her spirituality is highly driven by the insights of Buddhism and gifting it forward. She presently resides in Quechee Vermont, enjoying writing short stories, producing, writing and recording eclectic genres of music, film production, yoga, kayaking, sunning, bird watching, hot air-balloons, campfires and healthy cooking. In the winter she is known to hibernate like a mother Black Bear and will only exit the cave to go shopping for necessities.