Stop copying me

Earlier this week, Flavorwire compiled examples of music videos that are influenced by/steal from other sources; Beyoncé-related examples are below. This discussion—where to draw the line between inspiration and theft—spans all forms of art and isn't an argument than can be easily settled. As a consumer of culture, I'm not as interested in the legal squabbles and 'gotcha' comparisons as I am in tracing influences and being led to material I might not have found otherwise.

I appreciate the case fair use advocates make (liberal copyright rules encourages a more vibrant culture), but I also sympathize with lesser-known artists who have their style/moves/riffs/words lifted by mega pop stars. The artists who give credit to their influences (and compensates them when appropriate) are due more respect in my book than those who continue to profess their originality despite evidence to the contrary. Below are a few clips that explore the topic further.

Everything is a Remix is a four-part series; three sections are finished and the final episode is due soon. Donations to the production are accepted here.

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

Everything is a Remix parts 23.

Can I get an 'Amen'? Following the path(s) of the Amen Break, a six-second drum sample from the b-side of a chart-topping single from 1969, Nate Harrison contemplates what impact sampling is having on culture and commerce. This video was produced in 2004.

A lot of wisdom has been dropped from dudes sitting on basketball rims. You can hear some more at the beginning of this compilation of dance moves. "Aint nobody here the best b-boy... People were probably doing this shit thousands of years ago... All we're doing is manifesting shit at a different time."

Beyoncé Billboard Awards performance (2011) and Lorella Cuccarini performance (2010)

Single ladies, I believe you know Bob Fossee...

More than any other form of expression, dance seems to be the most difficult one over which to exert some sort of ownership. Beyoncé has acknowledged the influences on in her Countdown video, but that doesn't seem to satisfy everyone.

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Art is either plagiarism or revolution. -Paul Gauguin

Good artists borrow. Great artists steal. -Pablo Picasso

To copy others is necessary, but to copy oneself is pathetic. -Pablo Picasso

I see my work plagiarized in gardening programmes and decorating programmes and car adverts, and I suppose I have to accept that's just the way art gets assimilated into culture. -Andy Goldsworthy

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