Heads up, heads: Everyone’s favorite decades-old music debate– the creativity vs. criminality of sampling– finally has its own documentary, and PBS is airing it again this week for your viewing pleasure. It’s called Copyright Criminals, and if you’ve ever listened to a Hip-hop song in your life, or are one of those gray-haired haters who thinks it’s “not real music,” you might want to give this your attention.
The guest list is pretty impressive, too. So far, I spotted Public Enemy, Jeff Chang, George Clinton, De La Soul, DJ Qbert, Miho Hatori of Cibo Matto, El-P, DJ Spooky, legendary drummer Clyde Stubblefield, the late Eyedea, DJ Abilities, and Shock G (who makes one of the nicest points in all the previews I watched). There are also what appear to be some legal experts and industry types, but appropriately enough, they weren’t credited in the clips I watched.
You can look up when and where it re-airs in your neck of the woods here. Once you find it, I highly recommend you click through the official site, too. There are some pretty great features on there, including a sampling timeline, video clips, and a section on “fair use” courtesy of legal expert Lawrence Lessig.