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Negativland at 28ish

Business as usual



Creative Commons is a post-2.0 nonprofit that offers progressive copyright options to artists who aren't concerned with battening down the hatches on their work. According to its website, "Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry." With CC copyrights, they say in large bold letters, you can change "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved." Big diff, for sure. But is that enough? How about "Almost No Rights Reserved"? What about "Rights. Schmights. Just Give Me Credit"?

In 2003, Negativland addressed these concerns when they engineered a completely unrestrictive license for Creative Commons—a new option that, since being unveiled, has become the site's most popular. Electing the Negaright basically allows anyone to use, re-use or sample your work, for any purpose. Even to make money.

It's only fitting that a group who famously came under fire in the '80s for big-time copyright infringement would spearhead one of the most liberating copyright developments ever. After all, head Negativ Mark Hosler and company have put in 28 years of poking fun at sacred stuff, from their expletive-laden Casey Casem outtakes and kazoo-laced U2-ripping that first brought their name into homes to 2005's No Business and its multimedia rail against copyright laws in the digital age, peer-to-peer paranoia and blind patriotism. Business as usual for Negativland—a band of sonic collage artists, aural satirists and social critics who have made a living out of picking up the cross and repeating a mantra by way of their illegal-pastiche creative process: An artist should be able to use another artists' work in order to make a statement, especially when that statement is: An artist should be able to use another artists' work in order to make a statement, especially....

Dizzy? It's cyclical logic, sure, but you see where they're going. Illegally download Negativland's No Business today for more: The band would appreciate it.

Negativland play Cat's Cradle Friday, April 28, as part of Signalfest. Tickets are $16.

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