Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2

Only a Sample

by Negativland

on Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2 (1995), The Story of the Letter U & the Numeral 2 (1995)

Not that I have anything against shoe salesmen,
but let me tell you something
See, I was born with a song in my heart, not a shoe.

Hello, Dead-Dog records. If it ain't a Dead-Dog, it ain't barking.
How can I help ya?

There are fifty-million blank cassettes a year sold in this country,
and believe me, they're not being used for dictation.
They're being used to copy records. There is no expemption of copyright
for home taping, period, without the consent of the owner.

What's going on anyways?
What comes out of the machine is different
than what goes in.

The new tech, the new tech, the new technology.

The most important things about the invention of tape
is that it changed music from being an event in time,
into being an event in space.

The relationship between a copy and an original
...into being an event in space.

I think it challanges notions we have about
the relationship between a copy and an original

You can edit it, strech the songs.
And of course then when it's played back,
You're dealing in the same sense
In the same sense you're dealing with any plastic material
And ofcourse, then when it's played back,
it once again becomes an event in time.

But during that intrum
(I suppose)
But during that intrum period, where it's a spacial thing,
you can do lots of things with it.
Lots of things that you never had available
Prior to -, Prior to -, Prior to -,
The invention of tape.

It took while (seeing) before anybody started
seeing the possibilities of this
seeing the possibilities of this

What's the power of reproducing information
back into our own heads?
That the old boundaries between what was my information
And what was yours
Have become confused.

Only a sample

And instead of making their own sounds
(Anything you can do
I can do better
I can do anything than you)

Only a sample

Old technologies get confused with new ones

I find this confusing between original and copy,
and all the new technology use digital information

A sound...
Allow you to record something,
You hear
And put it into your own music
So when you press a certain key,
You hear
A sound from somebody else's recording

(No you can't
Yes we can
No you can't
Yes we can
No you can't
Yes we can!
Yes we can!)

And put it in
Or pick it up
A song... A song... A song...
from somebody else's recording
You hear a song
And put it into your own music.
Somebody else's recording.
A sound from somebody else.

Ownership is redefined
Destabilizes the older system of distribution.

By the way, I don't know how many times I've made
the obligatory refrence to the U.S. Copyright Law

?'s copyright law was written in 1924.
It was partially ammended in 1988.
But the roots of the law back 18th century

Just to put it in context, it's pre-radio, really,
it's pre-commercial-radio, it's pre-television,
it's certainly pre-computer, it's geared, ah...
It's pre-modern records, it's pre-compact-disk.
It's pre-almost everything we've come to look at
in modern life as communicating information.
One of the major criticizems of a legal system stuctured in this way
is that it does bring copyright law into disrespect, and it
bring law generally into disrespect. If one has a system which makes
common activities wrong in the eyes of the law, and yet everybody
is doing it - then you begin to wonder - is law worthy of respect?

(You know something?)
Everything about it is appealing
(You know something?)
Everything the traffic will allow
(The people who were listening)
No-way can you get that happy feeling
(You and your daughter)
When you are stealing
(You don't need any of this. Just look around.
Just ask around. Just see what they're using tapes for.
When you are stealing...
No, I'm not a fan of that type of thing.
(The country knows what's happening. Look, oh)

I still feel stolen
I still feel stolen
I still feel stolen goods are stolen goods,
Let's go on with the stealing...
But I can't really comment on it,
'cause I keep feeling like,
but... but... but...
As long as you accept stolem goods
As long as you accept an art form like stolen goods
I suppose,
As long as you accept an art form like Collage,
Where you take photographs and newspaper clippings
and draw them up on a board.

I say.
I say that the people out there,
When they know that there's another side to this issue,
When they know that people like myself,
Incidentally let me interrupt myself.

How am I going to make a living?
I hope you find what you are looking for.
On the other hand,
In fact, the importance of this case is wether
or not artists can feel free to use work done by artists of
their own generation, or preceeding generations
as the basis for the creation of new work
It's again something that has taken place in art,
from time and memorial, and will continue to happen.
And if the courts say that a work of art can have no basis
in a prior work of art, that would be a very damaging and destructive
statement in relationship to
the future of art.

Oh, please don't sue us!

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On Only a Sample by Negativland

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