ASCII by Jason Scott

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Good Copy Bad Copy —

So I saw this free documentary just now. It was fantastic.

It’s called Good Copy Bad Copy and it’s one of a number of films discussing “piracy”, “copyright” and the typical intellectual property hoo-hah. Personally, if you tried to make me shoot a documentary on intellectual property law and trying to tell a balanced, interesting story about these issues, you’d have to utilize some sort of weaponry. That said, I can really appreciate good work on a tough subject, and these guys have done some great work.

The fundamental theme of the movie (the nature of media is changing radically and the “old order” will have to adjust to this, and also it’s all really exciting!) is not new ground, but it’s well-edited, sounds great, and has an impressive barrage of speakers, from ol’ Larry Lessig (Creative Commons) and Dan Glickman (MPAA) all the way through to artists and distributors. Just for getting an interview with the self-proclaimed largest distributors of reggae records in the world, you have to credit the ingenuity and approach of who to talk to. This is not another echo chamber movie (which is essentially what the documentary Steal This Film ends up being) but instead does try to bring in a spectrum of voices. Lawmakers next to lawbreakers, distributors and producers and musicians and the guy on the street in Brazil selling off copies of music.

What takes this to the “next level” is how the filmmakers (or assistants therein, but every indication it was the filmmakers themselves) actually travel worldwide to get “the story”. Like, really and actually worldwide. United States, Brazil, Russia, England, Sweden… even frigging Nigeria. It’s one thing to say “this happens here” and use the word “worldwide” to describe what you’re shooting in your backyard, and it’s another thing entirely to see tons of footage of real places, real people. For the travelogue alone, this gets my full five stars.

You see the jury-rigged vehicles blasting music that sell CDs on the streets of Brazil. You see a guy talking about Moscow piracy in a Moscow record store. You see a Nigerian producer/film star talking about the Nigerian film industry, which I had no idea was the largest in the world in terms of sheer numbers (1,200 films a year). Which, he explains, contains a large amount of crap. But then he goes into the distribution approach and you realize they don’t care and are working to build their own approach to making films.

It’s just a spectacular ride. And did I mention it’s free? Free free free. You can download the torrent here and read about the movie over here.


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  1. Steve S. says:

    I have to agree that this is a great film on a touchy subject. I read about this film on a few blogs before checking it out, and my usual gripe with documentaries that get heavy praise on blogs is that they tend to just reiterate the party line and be a bit more obnoxious about it. GCBC did a great job of telling a story about the changes the industry is going through without “raging against the machine.”

    Or maybe as a Pittsburgher, I just gave them a free pass when I saw an interview from inside Primanti Bros. 😉

  2. Dave Lucas says:

    I had forgotten about Danger Mouse! But that was ten. Now, in 2007, The MASHUP is the BIZZ!

  3. Thanks for mentioning this film Jason, I plan on checking it out tonight. Piracy is a tough subject to get people to feel sympathetic about. On the far left are people who steal things and don’t pay for them; on the far right are megacorporations worth bazillions of dollars who can’t possibly be hurt by my MP3 collection. It will be interesting to see either extreme justifying their position.

  4. Cloudy says:

    Nice doco.

    I wanna hear the remix and the remix of the remix. Does anyone know where to find them?

  5. Thanks for this fantastic review, Jason. While it is free we really appreciate donations. So far we’re only about 1/4 of the budget, but we thought we’d rather see what happens by releasing for free and under a Creative Commons License than to keep it locked down. Obviously we’re not going to make it by donations alone so we try to sell it to broadcasters etc.
    Donations can be made on and we plan to start releasing extra material sometime soon (to be honest, also depending on our financial situation, that goes at least for me). The remixes – argh. Maybe we’ ll release those later.

  6. Jason Scott says:

    Completely agreed. In fact, I sent you jokers $20 via paypal. So I support you entirely.

    I’d pay it all over again for a DVD with tons of material. Consider soliciting for pre-orders.