Copyright Criminals



53 min

COPYRIGHT CRIMINALS examines the creative and commercial value of musical sampling, including the related debates over artistic expression, copyright law, and (of course) money. The documentary traces the rise of hip-hop from the urban streets of New York to its current status as a multibillion-dollar industry. For decades, innovative hip-hop performers and producers have been re-using portions of previously recorded music in new, otherwise original compositions. When lawyers and record companies got involved, what was once referred to as “borrowed melody” became “copyright infringement.” Showcases many of hip-hop music’s founding figures like Public Enemy, De La Soul, and Digital Underground, while also featuring emerging hip-hop artists from record labels Definitive Jux, Rhymesayers, NinREAD MORE


Benjamin Franzen


Benjamin Franzen


Chuck D, De La Soul, Mix Master Mike, DJ Qbert, George Clinton, Clyde Stubblefield

Awards & Festivals:

TIFF; IFC Stranger Than Fiction