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.
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