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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Excellent documentary on Fair Use

10/10
Author: Flibble-5 from MN
3 November 2000

Combining five formats, including FisherPrice Pixelvision, this is a great film on the legal and ethical issues that surround the work of such groups as Negativland, EBN, the Tape Beatles, and John Oswald. It follows the issues raised by Negativland's infamous single "U2" and is of a format (musically and visually) that one would expect from people who have a collage aesthetic in creating art to comment on the media...

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An examination of the nature of art and the things we all create is food for thought

7/10
Author: dbborroughs from Glen Cove, New York
26 August 2007

Craig Baldwin's essay/documentary on jam/cut up/found art, specifically that of the audio visual sort. Beginning with the story of Negativeland's infamous record U2, made from a mash of Casey Kasem out takes and U2 and then examining and commenting upon the people who do this sort of collage art, their legal troubles as well as the art itself.

Made from found footage itself this is a dizzying trip for about half its running time as we are forced to examine and consider the nature of art, all art as well as what is fair use and what should and should not be covered under copyright. The problem is that about half way in the film begins to wear down you down as it seems that its running the same ground again and a again. Its not bad, and actually there are some great pieces in the second half like an explanation of collage's history, what happens when a montagist finds his lifted work has been lifted, and some good bits of art, but there is also a great sense of I've been here before. The up shot is that the euphoria of the early part of the film and its unique vision is replaced by just a mundane documentary.

Despite the fall off I can't help but recommend this film to anyone who creates, and who likes the mash up art that runs rampant on the Internet. You may not watch it more than once but some of the questions it raises will rattle around in your brain for a long time afterward.

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Excellent documentary on sampling / cut ups + much more

8/10
Author: sckmode from United States
22 October 2008

Craig Baldwin's Sonic Outlaws is one of the best documentaries i've seen, a psychedelic blending of media commentary / music politics. Even if you aren't a fan of these bands or never heard of them, this is an essential film about subversive electronic music and social satire using mainstream media outlets. The band Negativland is put on full display here, and their infamous troubles with Island records resulting in a career breaking lawsuit are well documented. The whole film is presenting in the style of a noisy cut up, jumping back and forth between taped telephone calls and sonic distortion to the talking heads and archive footage. Anyone interested in sampling, copyright laws, media criticism, noise, or video art should put this one on their 'to see list'

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