PBS’ Independent Lens Highlights Hip-Hop

The relationship between sampling and Hip-Hop music will be examined in a new film airing on the PBS series Independent Lens.

The feature, titled Copyright Criminals, will feature rap collectives Public Enemy and De La Soul as it explores the multi-billion dollar Hip-Hop music industry and the impact of sampling on copyright, creativity and technological change.

A long-standing staple of rap music, sampling was utilized freely by a variety of artists and producers before record company lawyers cracked down to regulate the practice.

Today, artist samples must be “cleared” or obtained through prior authorization.

Copyright Criminals will be the first of three films on Hip-Hop featured on Independent Lens, which highlights documentaries and dramas made by independent filmmakers on a wide range of topics and issues.

The remaining films include Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, a look at gender roles in Hip-Hop and rap featuring interviews with rappers Mos Def, Fat Joe, Chuck D and Jadakiss, mogul Russell Simmons and young women from Spelman College ; and P-Star Rising, which follows a father-daughter as they pursue the young girl's dream of becoming a successful rapper.

Independent Lens, hosted by actress Maggie Gyllenhall, will present Copyright Criminals on Jan. 19, 2010 on PBS.

Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes will follow on Jan. 26. P-Star Rising will be presented on Feb. 2.