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Hip Hop and Copyright: Where Art, Technology and Law Collide
November 3, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Hip-hop, perhaps the world’s dominant form of popular music today, emerged organically as an artifact of American vernacular technoculture in the late 1970s. Since its first emergence, the art form has challenged traditional Western conceptions of ownership and authorship, inspiring numerous lawsuits and critiques even as it has risen in popularity and prominence. In this talk, American University professor Aram Sinnreich explores the coevolution of hip-hop’s stylistic signatures with the interpretation of copyright law in the courts, by examining several precedential rulings that informed how we understand the expressive capacities of sampling in light of doctrines such as “fair use” and “de minimis.” While recent court cases have reversed some of the early draconian rulings, this set of questions and debates is still very current, and always in flux.