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RIP: Remix Manifesto

Posted by Paloma / October 16, 2008

RiPeflyer.jpgHalfway through our conversation, filmmaker Brett Gaylor strikes an important note with an etymology lesson. He points out that the word amateur originates from the Latin amare, to love.

His film, RIP: Remix Manifesto, stars a range of amateurs, people motivated only by love, doing what they love, regardless of laws they defy – namely, the ones protecting corporations that reap profits from licensing our culture.

There’s Girl Talk, the mash-up artist who made it big by illegally remixing other artists’ songs. The single mother who was fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for downloading. The professor who tours the world promoting Creative Commons, a flexible alternative to copyright laws.

Gaylor’s project is a mashup in itself and the Concordia graduate shamelessly admits to his own infringement. In keeping with the “populist” spirit of the film, Gaylor challenged people to remix footage he posted to his website and possibly see their work included in the finished product. Matthew Soar, a Concordia Professor, answered the call and enlisted his COMS 274 class to “rotoscope” a recording of a Girl Talk concert.

Gaylor points to corporate greed and American copyright laws as the source of “the tension between sharing and owning ideas.” He cites the 1999 free trade agreement between the U.S. and China, in which America dissolved its trade barriers in exchange for China enforcing American copyright laws.

“The U.S. has traded away its manufacturing economy for an economy of ideas, which, as we’ve seen, is crashing down all around us,” Gaylor said.

In Canada, these issues are at the forefront, with Bills C-10 and C-61 threatening to enact American-style controls on the Canadian public. Gaylor hopes that his film will invigorate fight to restore the balance between public and private interests.

In true remix style, RIP is still a work in progress. “We are going to keep remixing it from festival to festival,” Gaylor said. “We don’t want to lock it in time.”

A beta version will screen at the Imperial Cinema as part of the Festival du Nouveau Cinema on Friday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m., followed by an after-party that will be filmed and incorporated into future versions of the film.

Article remixed from the one I wrote for the Concordia Link

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