Community Cinema Presents COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS in Seattle

Posted on October 12, 2009

This past Saturday, Community Cinema Seattle presented COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS at the SIFF Cinema at Seattle Center, a 74-acre campus at the north end of downtown home to more than 30 cultural, educational, sports and entertainment organizations. The film, which looks at sampling in music and who really owns a sound, resonated deeply in a town with so many musical interests. 

Seattle is the birthplace to grunge but is also one of America's urban centers where positive hip-hop is drawing a large following (Blue Scholars, Gabriel Teodros and others). Music in Seattle is a true mash-up. We screened COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS in the lecture hall theatre shared by the Seattle Opera, the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Seattle International Film Festival. One of Seattle's foremost hip-hop DJs, DJ Hyphen of KUBE 93 FM, talked to us about a few of the film's topics in the lobby before the film. He observes, "There is a fine line between borrowing and stealing." 


The film suggests that sampling is similar to other forms of reproduction in art, but DJ Hyphen suggests that because the art - in this case - is hip hop music that the same rules do not apply. 


DJ Hypen also introduced the film for the entire audience and left them with a few things to consider while watching the film.


DJ Hypen is co-host of “Sunday Night Sound Session” every Sunday night from 10:45 PM to 12:15 AM on KUBE 93 FM in Seattle. "J. Moore and I offer listeners the newest, dopest hip-hop from all around the country, including local music from our own backyard," boasts DJ Hyphen. Tune in around the Puget Sound Region or online worldwide. Afterward, audience members clustered in the lobby discussing the film. We were lucky to speak with one of the audience members still talking after the film. The topic of copyright itself came into question.


The idea that hip hop and other sampling is no different than reproduction in other forms of art was a recurring discussion following the film.


Computers, software and even cell phones have radically altered our relationship to mass culture and technology, providing consumers with the tools to become producers, or “remixers,” of their own media. But long before everyday people began posting their video mash-ups on the Web, hip-hop musicians perfected the art of audio montage through a sport they called “sampling.” COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS, a documentary by Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod, examines the creative and commercial value of musical sampling, including the ongoing debates about artistic expression, copyright law and (of course) money.


From our blog

  1. ITVS Welcomes Brandii Rice as Head of Business and Legal Affairs

    August 10, 2023

    ITVS is pleased to welcome Brandii Rice as our new Head of Business and Legal Affairs. In her role Rice will oversee business and legal affairs across the ITVS brand portfolio. In addition, she will guide licensing and business strategies to support ITVS’ content development, production, distribution and audience development goals. She will join ITVS

  2. Carrie Lozano Will Lead ITVS as President & CEO, Succeeding Sally Jo Fifer

    June 7, 2023

    Carrie Lozano joins ITVS from the Sundance Institute, where she served as director of Documentary Film and Artist Programs, supporting boundary-breaking filmmakers across the globe. At ITVS, she will continue to protect independent artists’ voices, editorial control and copyright while elevating nonfiction storytelling as an essential strategy

  3. Lisa Tawil Joins the International Board of INPUT

    June 1, 2023

    Discover how Lisa Tawil's appointment to the International Board of INPUT strengthens worldwide collaboration in public media.