Who Killed The KLF?, made by Chris Atkins was shown to audiences at Texas’ Fantastic Fest recently. This was shown to audiences despite calls from the duo’s music manager to not have it shown.
As The Guardian reports, their music manager has been trying to block screenings of this documentary for almost a year now.
Electronic duo KLF, composed of Bill Drummond (alias King Boy D) and Jimmy Cauty (alias Rockman Rock), are in talks with their lawyers and state that they take any alleged infringement “extremely seriously”.
They claim that the documentary about them uses their music without their permission and thereby infringes copyright law.
Atkins and his team argue that they are using these snippets through the copyright law defence that works can be used without payment or permission if it is being used for criticism. Director Chris Atkins claims that his documentary fits this criterion as he is using archived audio of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty critiquing their own work.
Snippets and clips from their songs have been used in the documentary under the fair dealing defence. This audio includes snippets from their famous songs including ‘3am Eternal’ and ‘What Time Is Love?’.
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“The irony is they used very big uncleared samples in all their early tracks,” said Chris Atkins.
The KLF’s first album used so many samples that ABBA threatened to take legal action forcing them to withdraw sales of the record and dump copies of the album into the Red Sea.
Earlier this year, the electronic duo re-released their album ‘Chill Out’ as 'Come Down Dawn' and removed most of the heavy samples that they used on the tracks so that it can be released on music streaming platforms.
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A spokesperson for the KLF’s music publishers, Warner Chappell, said: “We always champion the value of our songwriters’ music. Feature-length documentaries made for profit which make extensive use of an artist’s music are not covered by the fair dealing exception to copyright law, which is why we took action in this case.”
In an interview in 2016, Jimmy Cauty said he was displeased about the making of the documentary.
“We don’t want to do it – it’s like an archaeological dig through the past. We’re doing other things that we think are much more interesting.”
Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter