Week 6 – Negativland

Negativland is a band that originated in the late 1970s and the current band consists of Mark Hosler, Richard Lyons, David Wills and Peter Conheim. This band focuses on producing experiemental music by remixing sounds and music to regenerate them to create something new. Negativland has released a number of albums ranging from pure sound collages to more musical expositions.

In 1979, Negativland created their own record label Seeland Records as a platform to release their own recordings. They are considered a highly controversial band after receiving a lawsuit for using U2’s name on the cover of their 1991 album. The album consisted of experimental music and making parodies of U2’s famous hit ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’. U2’s label Island Records sued Negativland for claiming that placing the word “U2” on the cover violated trademark law, as did the song itself. Negativland’s album was confusing U2 fans as it has false advertising on the cover. Negativland are interested in intellectual property rights, and argue that their use of U2’s and others’ material falls under the fair use clause.

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Members of Negativland contributed their efforts to Creative Commons, a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to legally build upon and share by providing alternative copyright licenses. With the rapid advancement in technology, it appears that anyone can experiment with sampling sounds and remix exisiting content. When musicians like Girl Talk can become hugh pop star, with millions of teenage fans, and yet it’s still all illegal, then something is still wrong with this picture.

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