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13 APRIL 2017

Sonic Outlaws Documentary (1995)

"Sonic Outlaws, a fragmented, gleefully anarchic documentary by Craig Baldwin, approaches this incident from several directions. Some of the film is about the legal nightmare that ensued from Negativland's little joke. In a highly publicized case, U2's label, Island Records, charged Negativland with copyright and trademark infringement for appropriating the letter U and the number 2, even though U2 had in turn borrowed its name from the Central Intelligence Agency. SST then dropped Negativland, suppressed the record and demanded that the group pay legal fees. Trying to remain solvent, Negativland sent out a barrage of letters and legal documents that are now collected in 'Fair Use', an exhaustive, weirdly fascinating scrapbook about the case.

Sonic Outlaws covers some of the same territory while also expanding upon the ideas behind Negativland's guerilla recording tactics. Guerilla is indeed the word, since these and other appropriation artists see themselves as engaged in real warfare, inundated by the commercial airwaves, infuriated by the propaganda content of much of what they hear and see, these artists strike back by rearranging contexts as irreverently as possible. Their technological capabilities are awesome enough to mean no sound or image is tamper-proof today."

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TAGS

1995 • Alan Korn • anarchic documentary • appropriation art • appropriation artist • audio collage • Bill Daniel • billboard bandit • bone-dry educational film • Casey Kasem • cellular phone scanner • Chris Grigg • commercial airwaves • copyright infringement • Craig Baldwin • cultural criticismculture jamming • David Wills • documentary collage • Don Joyce • Doug Kahnfair usefound footage • guerilla recording tactics • guerrilla tactics • independent rock band • John Heck • John Oswald • Josh Pearson • Linda Morgan Brown • Lloyd Dunn • Lone Ranger • Mark Hosler • media jammer • media piracy • media recontextualisation • multimedia plagiarism • music samplingNegativland • noise maker • Paul Neff • pirated audiotape • public information film • Public Works Productions • Ralph Johnson • recontextualisation • Richard Lyons • Roger CormanRonald Reagan • sample based artist • sampled music • satirical samplings • Silly Putty • sly commentary • Sonic Outlaws Documentary (1995) • stealing ideas • subversive fun • tape music • Tape-Beatles • trademark infringement • U-2 spy plane • U2 (band) • video collage

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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