Who controls the past…

One of the most important ideas in this documentary is the thought of how the future should build freely on the past. The film constantly reminds us about this as the filmmaker rehashes the manifesto and celebrates the ingenuity of mash-up artists such as Girl Talk. The film spends some time arguing the value of remixing, whether or not there is merit in taking other people’s work in order to make something else. An important scene that tackles this argument is when Gaylor talks to a woman who deals with copyright issues (I really couldn’t remember her actual job to save my life) about the art of remixing. Most importantly, he has her listen to some of Girl Talk’s work, which leaves her both impressed but also laughing about how many copyright issues the single clip could raise. So, oddly, remix work gets both applause and a title of being illegal, all at the same time.

            The filmmaker makes a message that copyright law, as it stands now, is a force opposing innovative art forms (multiple since he applies his argument not only to music but also film, using his own documentary as an example). One of the biggest moments in the film that deals with this point is when, just before Girl Talk is about to play a set, the music cuts to silence, and Gaylor explains that since he has made his point in the film, he is no longer entitled to fair use. While he could have most likely kept playing the music legally, the scene makes a bold statement, strengthening the film’s message for the innovative new art form while also making a clear message against the laws that threaten it. From the film’s point of view, building on the past freely should be encouraged, which means that remixing should also be encouraged.

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