Co-producer of Copyright Criminals discusses the prohibitively expensive environment for sampling and the successful application of Fair Use. Link (via)

Northwestern University Law Professor Peter DiCola and I demonstrate this problem in a forthcoming book titled Creative License (out in early 2011 on Duke University Press). We asked what would it would cost at today’s rates to clear the audio fragments that make up Public Enemy’s classic 1990 album Fear of a Black Planet. We crunched the numbers, and in our conservative estimate the group would lose roughly five dollars per album. That’s a loss of five million dollars on a platinum record!

Our documentary isn’t as good as a classic Public Enemy album, but it shares a key characteristic: it’s made from fragments of a few hundred copyrighted sources. If Ben and I tried to clear everything in the film, Copyright Criminals would be prohibitively expensive to make. In other words, we made a film that tries to educate people about the ill effects of the copyright clearance system, but that very same system muzzled our ability to show how crazy this state of affairs really is! Somewhere, Kafka is having a laugh attack.