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Funk carioca, funk from Rio de Janeiro, becomes possible through extensive networks of people, sounds, payola, gifts, tribute, and technologies. I explore various economies of reciprocity in the music genre and how they relate to attribution of authorship and ownership. Names—of DJs, MCs, soundsystems and websites—become important as they are associated with, dubbed over, or erased from songs or sound samples to either expand or control their circulation. Furthermore, historically Brazilian patterns of personalismo and patronage shape how musicians utilize new technologies to extend their personal networks, build their names, and appeal to DJs to get played. The logics of intellectual property and authorship seem inverted—musicians often pay to play and the song’s destination (the DJ) rather than its origin (the composer) is named and credited in the lyrics.
Alexandra Lippman is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Innovating Communication in Scholarship project at the University of California, Davis and is affiliated with Science and Technology Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Irvine. Her primary research explores how globalizing alternative intellectual property practices impact digital media, access to knowledge, and music in Brazil. She is the founder of the Sound Ethnography Project and has published in Norient and Anthropology Today for a special issue on alternative copyright, which she co-edited.
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