Unless you're a musician or a lawyer, the ongoing donnybrook between proponents of fair use and copyright infringement may not have you riveted. It's worth keeping an eye on, though, for it often comes down to a high-stakes battle between corporate bullying and free expression. As the savvy audio-collage artists Negativland put it, "Imagine how much critical satire would get made if you were required to get prior permission from the subject of your satire." They know whereof they speak, having survived the legal headaches and hefty expenses Island Records dropped on them in 1991 to squash their parody EP, U2. Negativland marks nearly three decades of sampling, appropriating, and recontextualizing everything from advertising jingles to training films to pop songs with Our Favorite Things, a richly subversive, career-spanning DVD and CD. At tonight's release, a few of the lads drop by to cook up some tasty experimental music, and the entertaining and edifying new documentary from University of Iowa professor Kembrew McLeod, Freedom of Expression, also screens. Culture jammers of the world, unite!
Sat., Dec. 1, 8:30 p.m., 2007