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From copyright to file sharing, patents, creativity and originality, from piracy to net neutrality, surveillance to hacking, we got yo you covered with an aggregate of the most important, informative and thought challenging online sources.
FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES: You can always come back for more or bookmark them for later. So now you have no excuse. Come on, don’t be shy. Click on something!

Copyright Criminals: This is a Sampling Sport

Copyright Criminals: This is a Sampling Sport

Copyright Criminals examines the creative and commercial value of musical sampling, including the related debates over artistic expression, copyright law, and (of course) money. This documentary traces the rise of hip-hop from the urban streets of New York to its current status as a multibillion-dollar industry. For more than thirty years, 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 a “borrowed melody” became a “copyright infringement.” Here’s a short preview of the documentary:

Everything is a Remix

Everything is a Remix

Remixing is a folk art but the techniques are the same ones used at any level of creation: copy, transform, and combine. You could even say that everything is a remix.

Watch all four parts here.

Case Study: The iPhone

Kirby as also released a standalone short documentary, which builds on the Everything is a Remix series and exemplifies Kirby’s previous arguments through a very well documented case study on iPhone.

Extrapolations

Other people have started editing together different movies from different eras to try to understand more about how films are built upon each other. Here’s what we managed to gather.

Good Copy, Bad Copy

Good Copy, Bad Copy

Good Copy Bad Copy is a documentary about copyright and culture in the context of Internet, peer-to-peer file sharing and other technological advances. It features interviews with many people with various perspectives on copyright, including copyright lawyers, producers, artists and file sharing service providers.

A central point of the documentary is the thesis that “creativity itself is on the line” and that a balance needs to be struck, or that there is a conflict, between protecting the right of those who own intellectual property and the rights of future generations to create

Hacker Documentaries

Hacker Documentaries

“A hacker is a technologist with a love for computing and a ‘hack’ is a clever technical solution arrived through a non-obvious means. It doesn’t mean to compromise the Pentagon, change your grades, or take down the global financial system, although it can, but that is a very narrow reality of the term. Hackers tend to value a set of liberal principles: freedom, privacy, and access; they tend to adore computers; some gain unauthorized access to technologies, though the degree of illegality greatly varies (and much, even most of hacking, by the definition I set above, is actually legal).” (Gabriella Coleman, The Anthropology of Hackers, The Atlantic)

Hacker culture is one of the best video documented phenomenon out there. With a history of approximately 50 years, originating from the MIT Labs, the term “hacker” is nowadays somewhat difficult to define. The above definition phrased by an anthropologist gives us an idea, but we invite you to see for yourself what hacking really means. We have prepared a list of recommended documentaries about hackers and the culture created around them. We found inspiration for this list on a hacking subrredit and on DefCon’s website (0ne of the world’s largest annual hacker conventions, held every year since 1993 in Las Vegas, Nevada).

  • 2600 Films: Freedom downtime is a feature length documentary about the Free Kevin movement and the hacker world. It profiles computer hacker Kevin Mitnick who was imprisoned without bail for nearly five years.
  • Code 2600 documents the rise of the Information Technology Age as told through the events and people who helped build and manipulate it. The film explores the impact this new connectivity has on our ability to remain human while maintaining our personal privacy and security.
  • Hackers Are People Too  is a 2008 documentary, filmed at two hacker conferences, piecing together interviews with dozens of hackers – young and old, male and female – to create a cohesive, accurate portrayal of the modern hacking community and attempting to deconstruct the negative connotation of the word ‘hacker’ so often thrown around by the media.
  • Hackers Wanted is an unreleased American documentary film which explores the origins and nature of hackers and hacking by following the adventures of the former hacker Adrian Lamo, and contrasting his story with that of controversial figures throughout history.
  • Hippies from Hell are a group of hackers, techies, artists, writers and puzzlers. In the eighties they published hacker magazine Hacktic and in 1993 they started the first Dutch Internet-provider, xs4all, thus opening the Internet for the general public.
  • How Hackers Changed The World: We Are Legion goes inside the complex network and history of Anonymous, the radical online ‘hacktivist’ collective. Through interviews with current members – some recently returned from prison, others still awaiting trial – as well as writers, academics and major players in various ‘raids’, the film traces the collective’s breathtaking evolution from merry pranksters to a full-blown global movement, one armed with new weapons of civil disobedience for an online world.
  • Revolution OS  tells the inside story of the hackers who rebelled against the proprietary software model and Microsoft to create GNU/Linux and the Open Source movement.
  • The Secret History of Hacking  is a 2001 documentary film that focuses on phreaking, computer hacking and social engineering occurring from the 1970s through to the 1990s

PANOPTICON: The documentary about your privacy

PANOPTICON: : The documentary about your privacy

Control on our daily lives increases and privacy is disappearing. How is this exactly happening and in which way will it effect all our lives?

PressPausePlay

PressPausePlay

The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent in an unprecedented way, with unlimited opportunities. But does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out? This is the question addressed by PressPausePlay, a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world’s most influential creators of the digital era.

RIP: A Remix Manifesto

RIP: A Remix Manifesto

Immerse yourself in the energetic, innovative and potentially illegal world of mash-up media with RIP: A remix manifesto. Let web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, serve as your digital tour guides on a probing investigation into how culture builds upon culture in the information age.

Steal This Film

Steal This Film 1&2

Steal this film”  is a documentary series about the movement against intellectual property law released via the BitTorrent protocol.

Part One, shot in Sweden and released in August 2006, combines accounts from prominent players in the Swedish piracy culture (The Pirate Bay,Piratbyrån, and the Pirate Party) with found material and propaganda-like slogans.

Steal This Film (Part 2) (sometimes subtitled ‘The Dissolving Fortress’) was produced and released in 2007. As Cory Doctorow said about the movie, it “examines the technological and enforcement end of the copyright wars, and on the way that using the internet makes you a copier, and how copying puts you in legal jeopardy.”

The Internet Must Go

The Internet Must Go

The Internet Must Go” is an interactive mockumentary about how and why Internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner and Comcast are pushing to eliminate or suppress the net neutrality.

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

The film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard

TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away from Keyboard

It’s the day before the trial starts. Fredrik packs a computer into a rusty old Volvo. Along with his Pirate Bay co-founders, he faces $13 million in damage claims to Hollywood in a copyright infringement case. Fredrik is on his way to install a new computer in the secret server hall. This is where the world’s largest file sharing site is hidden.

When the hacker prodigy Gottfrid, the internet activist Peter and the network nerd Fredrik are found guilty, they are confronted with the reality of life offline – away from keyboard. But deep down in dark data centres, clandestine computers quietly continue to duplicate files.

The Story of Techno Viking

The Story of Techno Viking

Technoviking is one of the earliest and most successful YouTube Memes. This documentary shows the contemporary situation where user’s sharing & remix behavior gets into conflict with more than 100 years old intellectual property and personality laws that define the limits.

We Live in Public

We Live in Public

We Live in Public is a 2009 documentary film by Ondi Timoner which profiles internet pioneer Josh Harris. It has as its theme the loss of privacy in the internet age

WikiRebels: The Documentary

WikiRebels: The Documentary

Exclusive rough-cut of first in-depth documentary on WikiLeaks and the people behind it! Reporters Jesper Huor and Bosse Lindquist have traveled to key countries where WikiLeaks operates, interviewing top members, such as Assange, new Spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson, as well as people like Daniel Domscheit-Berg who now is starting his own version – Openleaks.org!

Where is the secretive organization heading? Stronger than ever, or broken by the US? Who is Assange: champion of freedom, spy or rapist? What are his objectives? What are the consequences for the Internet?

MISSING SOMETHING?

If you have seen a documentary about copyright, surveillance, net neutrality, free software, hacking etc. and you cannot find it in the archive and think it should definitely be featured here, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below or send us an e-mail at editor [@] copy-me.org. We would love to hear from you! And thank you!