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Gaudeamus Music Week 2010: A Few Good Surprises
Friday at Gaudeamus had a couple of good surprises for me. The first one was the appearance of the German composer Johannes Kreidler. I saw his YouTube video “Charts Music” about a year ago in Baltimore, and it’s wild to see this internet celebrity in person. He’s famous for challenging copyright laws which ban artists from copying or sampling someone else’s work. In 2008, he wrote Product Placements, a 33-second electronic piece which makes use of 70,200 samples. In order to register the title with GEMA (the German ASCAP), he had to fill out a form for each sample used. It’s an outdated registration system where you can’t register titles online if the piece uses quotes and requires extra forms. But, more to the point, perhaps it’s an outdated way of thinking, that sampling should require documentation. As Kreidler says, “copying is a form of culture.” So he filled out all of the thousands of forms, loaded them into the back of a truck and delivered them to the GEMA offices, where they finally backed down and changed the rule for him in order to avoid all the paperwork. It was a big event in the news. All his stacks of papers have been made into a sculpture now. A short documentary about Product Placements was screened at the afternoon concert here.