Years before the art of musical appropriation was made commonplace by remix and mash-up artists, Negativland (who formed in 1979), pioneered the use of mass-media cut-ups with jam-packed sound collages that sharply critiqued popular culture. Founded in the suburban San Francisco area by high-school friends Mark Hosler and Richard Lyons, the self-styled “Culture Jammers” began as an experimental group with a penchant for found sound and studio post-processing via tape manipulation and collage techniques. Their breakthrough album, ESCAPE FROM NOISE (1987), was distinguished by controversy when the band issued a disinformation campaign linking their song “Christianity Is Stupid” as the impetus behind the mass murders committed by Minnesota teen David Brom. The band continued to be dogged by controversy with its 1991 EP release, U2, a satiric send-up of the Irish-rockers peppered with profane rants from disc jockey Casey Kasem. The release embroiled them in a convoluted legal battle with U2’s label, Island Records, who sued the group for copyright violation. Negativland’s defense was largely argued around the “fair use” clause of U.S. copyright law, a theme which -- along with their various legal troubles -- figured prominently on later albums. Into the new millennium, various members of the band continued to press for alternate means of publishing as advocates of the intellectual property license Creative Commons.Portions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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