Monday, October 15, 2007

Good Copy, Bad Copy Documentary

Tomorrow at NYU, there will be a screening of the 2007 documentary Good Copy, Bad Copy, coupled with what promises to be an insightful question and answer period afterwards. Here’s the announcement:

In cooperation with Digital Freedom, NYU ACM, Free Culture @ NYU will be hosting the first American screening of the 2007 film Good Copy Bad Copy. The documentary highlights the current state of copyright and culture, and features prominent copyright players such as Girl Talk, Lawrence Lessig, Renaldo Lemos, and Dan Glickman.

We’re especially excited to announce that immediately following the screening, we’ll be hosting a question and answer session with the film’s award-winning Danish co-director, Henrik Moltke and Fritz Attaway, the MPAA’s Executive VP and Special Policy Advisor. If you’re at all interested in these issues, or want to meet a director working in free culture, or even just want to meet someone from the MPAA, you should absolutely come! The film is a wonderful introduction to the topics that Free Culture @ NYU deals in and this screening will be a fantastic opportunity to learn more about what we’re working towards.

Good Copy Bad Copy Screening
Followed by Q&A with Co-Director Henrik Moltke and Fritz Attaway, MPAA
Tuesday, October 16th 2007
9:15pm - 11:15pm
NYU’s Courant Institute
251 Mercer Street b/w Bleecker and W. 4th
Room #109
Free and Open to the Public (bring ID if non-NYU)

The documentary is a 58 minute (boy does it needs editing!) Danish documentary, directed by Andreas Johnsen, Ralf Christensen, and Henrik Moltke. It features interviews with Danger Mouse, Girl Talk (born Gregg Gillis), Siva Vaidhyanathan, Larry Lessig, and others. In keeping with the spirit of the film, it can be downloaded for free (or contribution) at The film looks at attitudes in Nigeria, Sweden, Brazil, the UK, and the US. about sampling and copyright in general. For those of us like me who regard the Bridgeport – Dimension 6th Circuit opinion (rejecting even de minimis uses of sound recordings as non-actionable) as the worst and most evil copyright decision in the history of the world, you will get to meet the folks at Bridgeport. Conversely, Danger Mouse, of the Grey Album fame, is utterly charming. Then there is serial copyright court expert Lawrence Ferrara, who while genuinely trying to help explain the (anyway simple) musical issues in the Bridegeport case, seems all too eager to impress us that despite his almost Madame Tussaud dressed for success look, he is down with George Clinton’s immortal “Get Off Your Ass and Jam,” the subject of that case.

Since you can see the movie for free on your computer (as I did), why stay up for a screening that starts at 9:15 pm (in the city that never sleeps)? The answer is the Q&A with the film’s Co-Director Henrik Moltke and Fritz Attaway of the MPAA. I do not knw Mr. Molte, and assume he will provide interesting tidbits about the making of the film. For those on the copyleft side of issues, I strongly urge that you go just to listen to Fritz, whom I have know for over 20 years, and whom I admire deeply. Fritz’s knowledge of copyright and communications law is breathtaking. He is also an extremely straightforward, reasonable, honest, calm, and articulate person whom I think will wow everyone. It is so common in the copyright wars to demonize the other side, a mistake for many reasons. It is courageous for Fritz to appear at the screening, in the belly of the beast, and after a movie which is sure to rile the faithful up to a fever pitch. He is well worth staying up for. I think people will learn a great deal from him; I always have.


Henrik Moltke said...

"one side consistently appears appealing and the other stiff at best. Is there, for example, no artist on the content owners' side with the charisma of Danger Mouse who could have made the pitch for that side?"

Believe me, we did try to find them.

Who would you recommend?

William Patry said...

Thanks, Henrik. I should have appreciated the difficulty. There have been some artists who have been quite vocal, Lars Ulrich being a prime example. in the UK, there were quite a number who came out in favor of term extension. Prince is another example.

Henrik Moltke said...

Hey William,

we actually did try to contact Ulrich several times through the official channels and through the grapevine (he is from Denmark). We did not want to spend weeks on this as he is rather a "past" figure in the debate.

Re: Danger Mouse. Let me just put it this way. It was EXTREMELY difficult to get ANYTHING - maybe because he is now established and can do what he wants. We know some people who know him and managed to track him down at the MTV awards in Copenhagen, but he does NOT want to board the subject.
Apparently there is some sort of non-disclosure agreement going on too. We were lucky to find some archive material and liked the irony of the Tecno Brega DJ doing to Danger Mouse what he did to Beatles.

In general it was hard to get any artists to speak - especially the pro-copyright / more established types. I guess it's a touchy subject, and most would rather avoid going on the record and possibly looking stupid a few years from now (Ulrich comes to mind!).

There is a strange thing going on now with lawyers in the same media corporation suing filesharers and PR people two doors down leaking files to P2P networks because they know it is essential for sales. We tried to show this Good Cop Bad Cop thing with the film. We did this with a very limited budget and I am rather pleased with what came out of it.

Prince? Get us an interview and we´ll consider a Good Copy Bad Copy part II :)


William Patry said...

Thanks, Henrik, I will revise the post to take into account your helpful insights. I do indeed have a contact through which I will try and get you an interview with Prince. Please send me your email and I will follow-up.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to see this pop up again in the RSS reader, but glad that it led me to this exchange. I was also very quite impressed with the movie.

It may be easier to get smaller fish on the other side of the issue. I know that recently Lily Allen has criticized Radiohead for the way they chose to release their latest album, comparing not paying to download music to not paying for eggs.

It's a shame that this post won't pop up again for non-RSS users. I think it would also be useful, if possible, to configure blogger to show the date of comments along with the time.


William Patry said...

Anon: What happened was Henrik Moltke provided me with some good insight into his efforts to interview those on the copyright protection side, so I thought it only fair to amend the original posting. I will talk to the folks at Blogger about the dating and timing point.

Henrik Moltke said...

.. the URL still spells "so-so" but I can accept that since only a few geeks like me will notice :)

Congratulations on your book. I will look forward to reading it.