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Copyright Criminals To Air On PBS

Submitted by on November 27, 2010 – 9:26 amNo Comment

As part of PBS’s Independent Lens series, the documentary Copyright Criminals will air next week. Produced by Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod, the film shows sampling from both perspectives: those who have used samples and those who have been sampled. It also attempts to tackle the issue of who actually owns or should mainly benefit from the sampled material.

Look for interviews with hip-hop legends such as Chuck DPublic Enemy and De La Soul. Also look for heavily sampled artists such as George Clinton.

Why are clearances for sampling such an issue in hip-hop? To put it simply, oftentimes originators of the sampled sounds used to make big hip-hop hits never get paid.

Drummer Clyde Stubblefield, who played in James Brown‘s band (and was the man behind the oft-sampled “Funky Drummer”) gives a very telling quote.

“They say I’m the world’s number one sampled drummer; I haven’t got a penny for it yet though.”

Is it right for producers and artists who find new ways to utilize decades-old music to create something new to reap 100% of the benefits? Should legendary musicians, many of whom are in their golden years, have to go through the rigors of legal wrangling to get their just due?

Copyright Criminals is set to air on PBS Tuesday, November 30 at 10 pm EST.

For more information on the film, visit here.

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