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Sonic Outlaws1995

  • 4.0
Within days after the release of Negativland's clever parody of U2 and Casey Kasem, recording industry giant Island Records descended upon the band with a battery of lawyers intent on erasing the piece from the history of rock music. Craig Baldwin follows this and other intellectual property controversies across the contemporary arts scene. Playful and ironic, his cut-and-paste collage-essay surveys the prospects for an "electronic folk culture" in the midst of an increasingly commodified corporate media landscape.

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Member Reviews (7)


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Great documentary about copyright law and content reappropriation (with no small number of uncleared visual "samples", no doubt)...

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top reviewer

Negativland sampled, chopped, repurposed and haphazardly glued together soundbites and preexisting music into strange staccato songs. They were basically a groundbreaking, but terrible sounding, Girl Talk. Think Animal Collective mixed with the Kleptones. The documentary itself sounds like its being issued over a CB radio. It's pretty ugly and muddy. 'Sonic Outlaws' can be missed unless you're nostalgic for mid-nineties TDK VHS recordings.

must see

I liked it

Necessary viewing for anyone intrigued by the intersection of art, law, and free speech. Interesting to note how popular and legislative understandings of copyright have evolved in the last 20 years. Styled according to the pastiche / collage / mash-up forms that are the subject of the doc itself, so be prepared for layers, clips, archival footage, quick transitions, and discord.

i have always been one.