Library to screen ‘RIP: A Remix Manifesto’ for Open Access Week

Library to screen RIP: A Remix Manifesto for Open Access Week

Elijah Brumback

Grand Valley State University Zumberge Library will show the documentary “RIP: A Remix Manifesto” featuring Greg Gillis, or Girl Talk, in conjunction with the library’s Open Access Week festivities Friday.

The screening of RIP: A Remix Manifesto by director Brett Gaylor will show at 7 p.m. in Room 2263 of the Kirkof Center.

Jodi Tyron, scholarly communications initiatives coordinator for the university, said Open Access Week is a celebration of non-traditional publishing models that advocates making information more freely shared.

The movie centers around a sample artist named Girl Talk who creates mash ups of music. The movie explores the ethical implications of this sort of art. The film’s creator argues that our current copyright laws are hampering our cultural growth.

“This film mainly addresses the issue of music sharing and downloading,” Tyron said. “Though what the film is basically about is how the law is sometimes at odds with culture.”

The Oct. 11 issue of the Lanthorn reported GVSU does not actually screen for students who may download copyright materials illegally, but the university is bound to respond to any complaints from copyright holders.

In the article, John Klein, associate director of Academic Systems for the university, said GVSU has handled hundreds of outside copyright claims within the GVSU judicial system.

However, Tyron said there is more to the issue when addressing the scholarly works and the academic environment. She said through her work with the university, when dealing with faculty who choose to publish their work, individuals often have to transfer the rights to outside publishers.

“When this is the case the university ends up not having access to the databases that store faculty work,” Tyron said. “Sometimes the university must buy back access to the published work of faculty.”

Tyron said scholarship should be an open conversation, and closed models that charge for access to information hinders conversation.

Girl Talk explores this idea by asking two centralized questions that can be applied to music and scholarly works: Do the methods of frenetic appropriation embrace collaboration in its purest sense? Or are they infractions of creative integrity and violations of copyright?

“We have this debate in the library all the time over what is stealing and what is creativity,” Tyron said. “If creativity is illegal, it has serious implications for the culture we can create for ourselves.”

The film focuses criminalization of technology. The music industry battles illegal downloading at a cost of $12.5 billion annually, according to Institute for Policy Innovation. The issue of sharing creative materials continues to become more complicated as technology continues to exceed copyright law and legal policy.

“You can’t stop technology — you can only criminalize its use,” Tyron said in the documentary.

She referenced peer to peer sharing and the significant benefits the system provides, but added it has a bad connotations because of the controversy of illegal music sharing.

“We should think about the what ramifications should be for illegal downloading and what that means to us in the future,” Tyron said. “What I think is most important for students going forward as creators of content is for them to think about how what they’re doing will further knowledge and further culture.”

Tyron said that creative commons licenses are one step in the right direction. The licenses allow creators of original work to publish documents on websites such as, which allows users unfettered access to scholarly documents as long as proper attribution is made.

Some in the music industry have begun to accept the technological trend with bands releasing singles and full albums for free download. Notable names include Radiohead, Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne.

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