“My point is copyright is out of control. It’s been manipulated for profit at everyone’s expense.”
See: Open Source Cinema
RIP! is an important film. Technically, it’s an illegal film without copyright permissions for numerous song samples and video clips which would push the budget into the tens of millions of dollars if the publishing corporations had their ways (and they often do get their way). That is the point filmmaker Brett Gaylor makes with this investigation of copyright in the modern age of Interweb Tubes and sprawling corporatocracies.
Could this film be erased from history?
No one knows. Lawsuits are the preferred method of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and the MPAA (Motion Pictuire Association of America). They can threaten to sue anyone. They can actually sue the websites which host the film, and anyone who offers to sell it.
A handful of corporate juggernauts collectively claim the right to control what we can talk about in films as well as whether artists can sample pieces of existing songs in order to create new songs from them.
This issue is a grey area, as Fair Use is also a part of copyright law (the part corporations don’t want to talk about).
The main point in RIP! is that copyright used to be a way to protect artists and encourage more innovation. One generation took from the previous one, and their works were taken by the next generation to come along. Today, copyright is more of a bludgeon to protect corporations and to discourage competition.
The original copyright was 14 years, plenty of time to turn a buck. Nowadays even 95 years may be extended. This is an absurd time length and it ensures that several generations must come and go before anything can be used by the public and become truly a part of the public commons. Not even just one generation.
It is a skewed system, not without some justification, but certainly the balance of power has tilted toward behemoth, soulless profit-driven corporations and away from creative artists. This film tackles these tough issues in a fresh and daring way.
The Remix Manifesto:
1. Culture always builds on the past.
2. The past always tries to control the future.
3. Our future is becoming less free.
4. To build free societies you must limit the control of the past.