RiP: A Remix Manifesto


RiP! A Remix Manifesto is a documentary written and directed by Brett Gaylor, a Canadian filmmaker living in Victoria, British Columbia. The film explores copyright and content creation in the digital era, copyright laws on sampling music for new productions, and the "Copyright", or "CopyLeft" ideologies. Girl Talk sampling other peoples music sounds and re-creating by editing and filtering to make it sound original. Napster revolutionizing sharing music and files. Walt Disney recreating old stories into animation cartoons. Therefore, making him a remix artist. The director uses "fair use" to try get around the laws that attempt to enforce the legal grey area of copyright and intellectual property.When Walt Disney passed away so did his theories on "remixing" culture into his immensely famous Mickey Mouse cartoons, and Disney began to adopt different ideas, including the major corporation state of mind that ideas are intellectual property, and should be locked up unless purchased. These major corporations are basically saying that we can only consume, when we want to use/create/make. The film discusses other major issues regarding copyright laws including an international intellectual property rights case. In one such case, the Brazilian government decided to break US patent laws in order to manufacture affordable HIV medication for its citizens. The film showcases the style, culture and music from Rio De Janeiro in Brazil as it represents a progressive society that is able to break free from copyright constraints. Overall, this film is based on "war over ideas."

Main points focused from the film:
  • - Internet allows us to connect and share ideas with the rest of the world
  • - The creative process became more important than the product
  • - Culture represents the past in which we remix it
  • - The past always tries to control the future
  • - There is no way to kill this technology, we can only criminalize it
  • - Copyright laws cannot be effectively enforced
  • - No matter what copyright laws are put in place, something will always be created to get around them
  • - The people that created the songs we remix today believe that "intellectual properties" need to be compensated
  • - Copyright laws only force remixer's to "drive their creativity underground"
  • - Putting a lock on your citizens is wrong
  • -Girl Talk believes it is "beneficial to share ideas"

A Remixer's Manifesto

"Build on the past, thats the future"
  1. Culture always builds on the past
  2. The past always tries to control the future
  3. Our future is becoming less free
  4. To build a free society you must limit the control of the past

This film is surrounded by the issue about how each individual response to the idea of the copyright. There are lots of interviews, with who has directly or indirectly involved in the copyright’s case, has taken placed in the film. As the result, the filmmaker indicates the four concepts that support his idea toward the copyright; “culture always builds on the past”, “The past always tries to control the future”, “Our future is becoming less free”, and “limitation of the control of the past to build a few societies”.

Biographical information

Brett Gaylor, born in 1977, is a film maker who is currently living in Victoria, British Columbia. As a Canadian citizen, he is not only devoted to the Insuit’s culture but also the idea of the Copyright. Later of his age, he is well-known for his film “RiP!: A Remix Manifesto” that is firstly presented at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in November in 2008. After being recognized by IDFA, he also won many awards, such as, Cadillac People’s choice Award, Audience Special Jury Prize, and audience awards at the Ann Arbour Film Festival, and so on. Moreover, Not only he was the creator of the Open Source Cinema project but also the web producer of the Homeless Nation.

Individuals Interviewed in the Film

  • Greg Gillis AKA Girl Talk, a musician who specializes in remixing samples of other works.
  • Marybeth Peters, a registrar of copyrights in the United States of America.
  • Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, AKA Chuck D, a famous rapper from the socially conscious 80's rap group: Public Enemy.
  • Gilberto Gil, one of Brazil's most famous musicians and a strong supporter of the right to share music freely,
  • Lawrence Lessig, academic, activist, Harvard Law Professor. He wrote the manifesto and inspired this film.
  • Cory Doctorow, blogger, journalist, and science fiction writer.
  • Dan O'Neill, a cartoonist once sued by the Disney Corporation.
  • Mark Hosler, founder of Negativland, a band that uses sampling in their experimental/alternative music.
  • Jammie Thomas, the single mom who was sued for $222,220 by the RIAA for illegal downloading

Public Opinion

Although the older generations will say that their music was the best, the remixes these days havent been that bad, well in my opinion. Quite a few of friends have said that all the electronic remixes of older songs and mashups are ruining music, but i think its simply improving and emphasizing the older music into the newer music world. With the technology nowadays, it can turn a quiet and relaxing song into an upbeat and electronic rave in which you can get pumped up to! For example, Coldplay's "Fix you" is an amazing chill down song, but with this remix, i feel i can listen to it at night and still be relaxed and at the gym where i need upbeat music to get my hyped! Fix You (Alesso and SHM)

The war between Copyleft and Copyright has been waged for years. It even still goes on now with more and more corporations stepping it up to protect what is theirs from anyone who pirates. It`s a battle that I believe will be forever locked in a stalemate. Corporations are still going to try and fight piracy with new anti-piracy measures and the pirates themselves are simply going to try and outsmart them. Plus all of the people who do pirate are in the millions. You can`t hold them all back. There`s just no way.

The main point of acknowledgement in the film should be the fact that every piece of music, art, and film is simply an extension of original compositions in which a certain group of people in the past have developed. For example, every blues song simply follows the simple I, IV, V structure which was most likely developed in the Mississippi Delta in the late 19th
century by African immigrants. The artist who inherits this form simply puts their own style and dynamics into it and as time goes on develops it and brings it into the mainstream, not by altering the structure but by making their music unique, making it appeal to white audiences, and most importantly, "stealing" from their peers. What Girl Talk does is exactly what these artists have been doing for the last century. By following a contemporary pop music structure and adding different riffs, vocals, and phrases through electronic sampling they take something that someone else created (like the original blues singers) and added their own personal flair and technique to make it uniquely theirs. If copyright officials had any understanding of this they would realize that they are stagnating the development of music. What the law must understand is that artists have "stolen" other people's "intellectual property" in every artistic medium since the beginning of time and that by enforcing this they are destroying American culture.

It seems as though no matter what kind of copyright laws come along, there will always be that person or some kind of technology which is created to get around such laws. Peopple think that these laws are evolving because the government is getting smarter about trying to enforce such copyrighting laws, when in reality, they are just struggling to keep up with the general public who is even smarter in creating such technologies. It is a pointless battle that the government is not going to win. Technology is evolving much faster than any laws they can come up with, they may as well stop this useless argument now.

External Links

Official Website

Girl Talk- All Day, free album download

Biographical information - Brett Gaylor

Rip! A Remix Manifesto Documentary

Steal this film


Rip Wiki Page


Copyrights exist in order to protect authors of documentation or software from unauthorized copying or selling of their work. Copyleft, on the other hand, a general method for making a program (or other work) free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well.

steamboat bill 1926 + steamboat willie 1928.png
This image is used to indicate the point when film maker indicates the point "Culture always build on the past".

This image demonstrates the general idea about how the rule of copyright works out.