Copyright Infringement

Get your hands off my sound

It's rap meets Wall Street when recording artists and lawyers square off in Copyright Criminals, a PBS documentary by Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod, first broadcast on its Independent Lens program last January. Rappers and DJs have been "sampling" for decades, taking a brief piece of a song and tweaking, pulling, electronically manipulating it on the turntable. The style passed into hip-hop without so much as a shrug, but when the genre went big time, the game changed. Fair use quickly became copyright infringement. Money will do that. So now, when Public Enemy samples a drum lick from veteran funky drummer Clyde Stubblefield, shouldn't Clyde get his royalties? Some say yes, and some say, "for a measly bar of drum beat? No way." The lack of clear guidelines left musicians and the music companies in a tangled mess of lawsuits and loopholes. 7 p.m. Rice University Media Center, 6100 Main. For information, call 713-348-4853 or visit www.ricecinema.rice.edu. Free.
Wed., Oct. 21, 7 p.m., 2009

 
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