Kembrew McLeod's Bio

Kembrew McLeod is an independent documentary filmmaker and a media studies scholar at the University of Iowa whose work focuses on both popular music and the cultural impact of intellectual property law. Associate Professor McLeod has written refereed journal articles on copyright and music, and has published two books on the subject: Owning Culture: Authorship, Ownership and Intellectual Property Law (Lang, 2001) and Freedom of Expression®: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property (Doubleday, 2005; U of Minnesota Press, 2007), which received the Oboler book award from the American Library Association. McLeod's documentary, Money For Nothing: Behind the Business of Pop Music (2001), was programmed at a variety of film festivals, including the 2002 South By Southwest Film Festival and the 2002 New England Film and Video Festival, where it received the Rosa Luxemburg Award for Social Consciousness. He is currently working on a feature length documentary about digital sampling titled Copyright Criminals: This is a Sampling Sport. McLeod has completed a second documentary for the Media Education Foundation, titled Freedom of Expression®: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property, which focuses on free speech and fair use. He is an occasional music journalist whose pieces have appeared in Rolling Stone, Mojo, Spin, the Village Voice and the New Rolling Stone Album Guide (Fireside, 2005). Additionally, McLeod was involved in Carrie McLaren's traveling “Illegal Art” show, which traveled to New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., and was hosted by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Artist Gallery in 2003. His scholarly and creative work can be accessed at kembrew.com.

To access a hi-res author photo, click here.

To access a hi-res scan of his "freedom of expression" trademark certificate, click here.

kembrew in officejapanese book cover

Photo: Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Daily Iowan -- Japanese edition of Freedom of Expression

Kembrew's Indexical Bio

Kembrew is a cultural critic, teacher, student, record fetishist, sometimes-DJ, vanity publisher, provocateur, child, artist, spazz dancer, zinester, dreamer, misfit, lover (of music) and not a fighter, and much much more.

Kembrew's Free(style) Association Bio

Who'da thunk that I would become a university professor after I failed my senior year of high school? Thanks to some inspiring teachers along the way, I decided to give the profession a try because it appeared to allow me the most freedom of any career option. After graduating from, essentially, twenty-second grade and getting my Ph.D in Communication at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (shout out to Western Mass!), I joined the faculty in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. To use a Grateful Dead-invoking cliche (yecchhh), it's been a long strange trip, one that includes deconstruction, dancing (doing the bunny hop while old school hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa spun records for an audience that included only ten people, five of us professors ... that was awesome), and, memorably, a fellow grad student catching on fire (true story). After seven years in Iowa City chasing the children of the corn through the field of dreams -- and after getting tenure, you punks! -- I still solemnly swear to put the "ass" back in associate professor (just as I put the "ass" in assistant professor for six years). Lastly, as always, I reserve the right to rock. To poorly paraphrase Alice Cooper, school's in session 4-eva!

New On the Site

Free Creative Commons licensed cover of "This Land Is Your Land" by Jon Langford, of the Mekons.

For more info, email Kembrew


Check It!

The DVD version of Freedom of Expression® is out now, available through the Media Education Foundation.

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The paperback book version of Freedom of Expression® is out!

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