Creative Commons Copyright Criminals Remix Contest

Congratulations to our grand prize winner Dermes for his entry

"Sounds that Sound Good"

Check out all the winners!

This was a contest for artists to mix audio tracks under 4 minutes which use provided voice samples from Ben Franzen and Kembrew McLeod's forthcoming film, "Copyright Criminals." Samples from the film include voiceovers from DJ Spooky, De La Soul, DJ Qbert, members of Public Enemy, Matmos, Coldcut, members of Negativland, and others. The best overall winner will be included prominently in the film and the top 11 other entries are to be included on a companion CD. Judging entries along with McLeod and Franzen is Jeff Chang, author of the American Book Award-winning "Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation" and co-founder of the influential label SoleSides (now Quannum Projects), responsible for launching the careers of DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker.

Copyright Criminals Logo

Drawing from more than fifty interviews with prominent musicians, artists, scholars, lawyers, and music industry representatives, Copyright Criminals looks at the development of sound collage (also known as sampling). The film explores the complicated impact that copyright law has had on the creative practice of sampling and examines the conflicting opinions artists and others have about appropriation.

"This contest, like our documentary, examines what it means to be creative in an age of digital reproduction," says Kembrew McLeod, co-director of Copyright Criminals. "Artists have traditionally borrowed from each other and have been directly inspired by the world around them. But what happens when digital technologies allow for very literal quotes to be inserted into new works?"

Watch Copyright Criminals Trailer


The best overall winning entry will receive prominent placement in the DVD of the Copyright Criminals: This is a Sampling Sport documentary. The best overall winning entry, together with the best [12] winning entries will be included on the Copyright Criminals Companion CD.


Entry scoring is based on the following weighted categories:

  • Originality/Creativity (40% of overall grade)
  • Production Quality (30% of overall grade)
  • Relevance to the themes in Copyright Criminals: This is a Sampling Sport (30% of the overall grade)


Jeff Chang is the the author of the American Book Award-winning Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. In 1993, he co-founded and ran the influential hip-hop indie label, SoleSides, now Quannum Projects, helping launch the careers of DJ Shadow, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born and Lateef the Truth Speaker. He has helped produce over a dozen records, including the "godfathers of gangsta rap", the Watts Prophets.

Ben Franzen is an Atlanta-based artist who owns an independent production company, Changing Images LLC, which specializes in video, photography, and multimedia. Franzen currently edits a broadcast program Squidbillies, which appears on the Cartoon Network.

Kembrew McLeod is both a professor at the University of Iowa and an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker. McLeod has written music criticism for Rolling Stone, the Village Voice and MOJO, and has authored two books, most recently Freedom of Expression®: Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity (Doubleday).

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