Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kembrew McLeod on "Media Minutes"

June Besek and Kembrew McLeod at FMC's "Creative License" panel discussion.

Regular readers might already be familiar with media professor and documentary filmmaker Kembrew McLeod. A longtime FMC associate, Kembew is the co-author of our upcoming book Creative License, which examines the issue of sampling through extensive interviews with artists and producers on all sides of the debate. Look for it on Duke University Press in fall 2009.

Last year, Kembrew moderated an FMC-organized panel discussion called "Creative License: a Conversation About Music, Sampling and Fair Use," which took place at The Public Theater in New York City on October 6, 2007. (You can check out archived audio and video from the discussion here.) Before that, Kembrew helped facilitate a Chicago talk featuring original members of Public Enemy and journalist/Media Assassin Harry Allen. Co-hosted by FMC and Pitchfork Music Festival, "It Takes a Nation of Millions" commemorated the 20th anniversary of PE's album of the same name — an important piece of hip hop-history that also happens to contain tons of samples.

Kembrew talks about the tensions between intellectual property and sampling in this episode of "Media Minutes" — a podcast series from non-profit media reform organization Free Press. Hip-hop in particular has been stifled by current copyright law, Kembrew says. "We can look to the relatively recent past to see what the detrimental effects of overzealous copyright protections are," he explains. "You're either within the law, or can pay for the law, basically, or you're an outlaw."

(This episode of "Media Minutes" also features Sascha Meinrath of New America Foundation talking about the importance of broadband expansion.)

The world of sampling and hip-hop is further explored in Kembew and Benjamin Franzen's upcoming documentary, Copyright Criminals: This Is a Sampling Sport. You can check out the trailer here.

Stay tuned for our own discussion with Kembrew as part of FMC's Podcast Interview Series!

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