I’m new to the fold, representing FreeCulture.org up in the, as Gavin and Nelson quickly discovered, still chilly city of Madison, Wisconsin. Nelson just cleared me for Blog take-off and gave me a few questions to kick things off with, so here I go!
~That’s me on the far left in the picture below~
Q: How did you get into free culture in the first place? What made you want to start a chapter?
I got interested in free culture issues long before i knew that an organization like this even existed. In 2004 I was taking a class at App State in North Carolina (my undergrad Alma Mater) called Art & Ideas that examined some of the philosophical questions pertaining to the art world. It was around this time that Dangermouse’s Grey Album came out, and i ended up framing my final paper for the class around the fair use issues that the work brought up. From there, i discovered the long-dormant illegal-art.org, John Oswald, Negativland, Fensler Films (the fine gentleman who brought us the GI JOE PSAs) and so many other mash-up artists that were creating new and challenging derivative works from the copyrighted flotsam and jetsam of pop culture. From there, i got interested in sampling laws which ended with me falling in love with hip-hop culture. I eventually wrote my undergrad thesis on the roots of that very culture, making sure to comment in the ways that DJs are recontextualizing old works for new ears.
Since then I’ve been interested in Intellectual Property issues, and of course the RIAA treating college students like hardened criminals has been something I’m very passionate about. Then, a few months ago, my friend Angela approached me asking if I’d be interested in starting up a local chapter here, since we didn’t have one, and obviously should. I leaped at the opportunity, and here we are!
The chapter so far is going great! We’re still in the process of applying for Club/Organization status, but we’re already looking forward to showing Good Copy Bad Copy and maybe one more documentary before the semester is over.