Copyright Criminals explores the craft of music sampling from the rise of hip-hop to its current state. The documentary provides interesting view points from various perspectives of the industry including Chuck D from Public Enemy to seminal D.I.Y producer Steve Albini. The film questions, ‘Can you own a sound?’
Sample culture is ultimately pop culture and I think this debate is a very interesting one. Can you own a sound? I’m still not sure what side I am on. I don’t think you should prevent or inhibit artistic expression yet somehow the original creator should still be compensated. I’m not saying we should only create art to make money but those that do should at least get the recognition and respect they deserve, ask the funky drummer himself, Clive Stubblefield.
What is even more interesting to me is where technology is taking us. Sample culture, hip-hop and its cut-and-paste ethos are driving innovation and art beyond sound. Pop culture is multi-media and we live in a multi-media world. Audio and Video. What we should really be asking is not ‘Can you own a sound?’ but what ownership of art for the creator really means?