Dass Copyrightgesetze dieser Tage ein heißes Thema sind, muss ich wohl niemandem erklären, und um die Absurdität der bestehenden Gesetze zu illustrieren, rief sich via Negativland's Maillist das "Droplift Project" ins Leben. Anonyme Künstler basteln aus nicht lizensierten Soundsnippets ihre eigene CD zusammen, das Artwork kann man sich von der Dropliftpage runterladen. Die fertige CD deponieren die Droplifter an einem via Website festgesetzten Zeitpunkt in den Top 40 Regalen diverser Medienketten. Die Chance, dass ein neugieriger Kunde dann statt Britney Spears zum Droplift Project greift, ist relativ groß. Dann bei der Kassa: Verzweiflung, Verwirrung, Aufruhr, dass das Produkt nicht registriert ist. Auch eine Art der Gratis-Musikdistribution, die sich vor allem gegen die repressive Politik der großen CD-Supermarktketten richtet. Weitere Aktionen der Droplifters sind zu erwaten - hier ihr Statement:
'Manufacture our own CDs, go into chain stores, and leave them in the appropriate bins. Down among the established pop hits and top 40 product, these CDs await those curious few who take them to the counter.
Then what? Witness the confused faces of cashiers and customers alike when the CD does not show up in the inventory. But they'll most likely make the sale, and the CD known only as THE DROPLIFT PROJECT will go home with yet another customer. Mission accomplished.
All across the United States and Internationally, ordinary citizens will walk into record stores with copies of THE DROPLIFT PROJECT hidden on their person. They will proceed to leave them, well filed, in the stacks, and they will walk out. Why do this? Surely the artists know they won't get any MONEY from this puzzling act.
Ah, but perhaps you are starting to understand already.'
The artists on THE DROPLIFT PROJECT make and find recordings of the stuff we all hear on radio, TV, in the news, on other CDs and tapes, and from everywhere around us. Then we cut it all up and rearrange it to make new art, social commentary, parody, and contemporary criticism.
It's nothing new. Artists have been making collages for the last hundred years. The world of Fine Art has long recognized the artist's right to use found objects in a new context to make a comment. The world of music has been a little behind. Record companies reject our works outright, wishing to avoid unpleasant harassment lawsuits. CD Plants, acting on an RIAA mandate to curb piracy, are skittish about pressing material that might contain recognizable samples. Even free music venues on the Internet refuse to allow sample-based works.
Is it illegal? Depends on who you ask. We know we are protected by the First Amendment and the Fair Use clause of the Copyright Act. Apparently the Music Industry does not follow such things. The atmosphere of stark panic about the creative reuse of material has really got us in a bind. Our only recourse was to manufacture and distribute a disc on our own. In this way we find ourselves in the awkward position of acting in a way that is seen by some as criminal. So here it is! Listen to it! We're not doing this for our health. This is a deliberate attempt not only for our talents to be heard, but to encourage some discussion about artists' use of sound samples in their work. If you like the disc, spread the word! Write an article, play it on your radio show, make tapes for friends, and help us get it out there