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Rip! A Remix Manifesto


  • Photo by Kat Baulu

The mash-up artist Girl Talk presents an interesting case for modifying copyright laws to keep up with the information age, particularly regarding technology that allows for easy manipulation of existing media into new and original work. The artist takes micro clips, often less than 5 seconds, from popular songs and with simple computer software splices and manipulates them into his own songs with different beats and other effects. Since he uses more than 20 to 25 samples per song, the artist would have to pay as much as $4 million dollars in licensing fees to legally produce a full album, according to an estimate by filmmaker Brett Gaylor in RIP! A Remix Manifesto (the filmmaker and Girl Talk are pictured). Gaylor offers an entertaining history of the arbitrariness of copyright laws, which repeatedly have been outmoded by new technology and updated, generally to protect corporate license holders as opposed to musicians, writers and artists. The film has plenty of villains, including Disney and Warner/Chappell, one of the largest owners of song rights. Gaylor envisions a future defined by free-use laws. He even visits countries that flout copyright and patent laws. And he asks if American copyright laws are restraining free markets. Unfortunately, Gaylor doesn't fully address how an artist, whether a songwriter or a remixing specialist, would get paid for his or her work. But he presents a fascinating critique of how flawed the current system is and offers a future path. Tickets $8 general admission, $6 CAC/New Orleans Film Society members.

7:30 p.m. Tue., May 19

Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp St., 528-3800;

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