Joyously celebrating remix culture, Brett Gaylor raises fascinating questions about sampling culture and copyright laws in this love letter to his favourite recording artist, audio bricoleur Girl Talk.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2009
Brett Gaylor has made an admiring portrait of his favourite recording artist Girl Talk (Greg Gillis), but also raises some fascinating questions about sampling culture and copyright laws. Audio bricoleur Gillis is a fearless musical magpie, with a whizz-bang knack for snatching the best snippets of the daggiest songs (think Gloria Estefan, Journey and Whitesnake) and recontextualising them into sparkling new tracks to create a bastard pop known as mashup. While these spunky sound collages are thrillingly inventive, copyright laws determine that tracks made from pilfered works (Gillis crams uncleared samples from 21 songs into a three-minute track) are utterly illegal. As the NY Times Magazine stated, Gillis is ‘a lawsuit waiting to happen’. Joyously celebrating remix culture, Gaylor and Gillis articulately argue that the line between inspiration and infringement for a media-literate generation is being increasingly blurred, and that reshaping existing creative works for ‘fair use’ should be free from copyright restriction. — KD