Is remixing illegal?

RiP: A Remix Manifesto showed how much control corporations are putting on creativity.  While artists have been building off of each other’s ideas for years, corporations are limiting the ability for this to happen. The documentary says that corporations only want us to be consumers, but the current generation is one that likes to take what already exists and make something new out of it, remix it.  The major example of this throughout the documentary was Girl Talk.  He takes so many bits of different songs and creates something completely different and unique from the many of the songs’ original sound or style.

This is so easy to do today where information and ideas spread so quickly over the internet. The music industry is trying to stop the spread of the music from their artists, but it is solely for their profit.  When record labels started suing individuals who had illegally downloaded music, the money from settlements went directly into their pockets, rather than to the artists’ who’s intellectual property they were claiming to protect.  The one lobbyist who talked to children about stealing music shows just how much this whole issue is about money.  They attack people who have downloaded music online, showing examples of kids, teenagers, and single mothers, making them out to be criminals.  It is cool, however, that many artists do recognize that culture builds off of what has already been created. When Radiohead split from their label and released their new able they made it open for listeners to pay however much they wanted and encouraged them to remix their work.

This is what is being examined now.  The problem isn’t that people are re-creating someone else’s work; it is that people are taking someone’s work and turning it into something else.  By sampling bits of various songs in his work, Girl Talk makes it something that is obviously different, but just to include a bit of these songs with the permission of the labels that own the music it would cost millions of dollars.  The record industry calls it stealing otherwise, even though it has been done for years in all forms of media. Upon hearing some of Girl Talk’s work, the woman who knew all about copyright laws even said it sounded like something new and unique.

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