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Plunderphonic (was "disrespecting softwares")
We've fairly well beaten the software piracy issue into the ground,
but the recent reissue (in expanded form) of John Oswald's
"Plunderphonic" CD invites discussion of the aesthetics, ethics, and
legalities of quotation, sampling, deconstruction, and appropriation
of musical material as a compositional strategy.
Putting it out front - I'm a big fan of John Oswald and others who
make new and interesting music by recycling existing recordings. I
consider this sort of activity to be in a substantially different
category from the sampling of bits and pieces that has caused so much
controversy and litigation in the rap and dance music scene. I grant
that it's a tough issue. Those familiar with Oswald know about the
heat he took on the release of the original Plunderphonic CD, and you
are probably also familiar with the Negativland U2 CD and the
crushing retaliation that group suffered.
It should be clear from past postings that I'm against software
theft, and I'm inclined to extend that position to sampling of music
for commercial gain. However, when audio quotation crosses the line
into the realm of artistic collage and recontextualization I tend to
lock up the cash register and think more in cultura, sociological,
and aesthetic terms.
Richard Zvonar, PhD