Archive | March 2012

Copyright Laws: Remix it.

Copyright Laws!  We have all pushed the boundary of copyright, admit it.  Is every music
file on your computer paid for? Did you download a few images for that video you made
yesterday? Did you remix or remediate something into you own work? Photoshopped an
image? Posted a song lyric? Yep. I thought so.

So how did copyright law become so stringent? I mean, 70 years AFTER the death of the
author/musican/producer pretty much means NO! you can’t use this. Ever.

But Take a Look…

Then Walt Disney did this…

This…is a remix. But. Don’t forget, copyright says remix is bad…it’s bad if you plan on
using anything remotely current. The Disney Corporation was a huge proponent of the
extension of copyright. Interesting since the magic of Disney is rooted in remix.
Well played, Disney.

However, there is something called Fair Use. This allows us to use copyrighted
materials in small amounts, for no monetary compensation, as students, but Youtube
will still tell you that your video has copyrighted material.

The reality is that the “copies” and remixes of  movies/music/etc and so on were not a
threat until technology advanced.  Now as we learned earlier in the semester, the
amateur can be JUST as “good” as the creator. Lawrence Lessig points out the
“(consumer generated) copy was inferior to the original; and second, the technologies
to enable a consumer copy to copy an RO [Read/only] token were extremely rare”
(Remix 36-37). Boy, times have changed. He also states that the most important
policy mistake is one that stifles the Sousarian instinct: a policy driven by the view
that the only way to protect RO culture is to render RW [Read/write] culture illegal.
That choice is a false choice” (50).

In A Nutshell

So. We are at an impasse buried in Copyright Laws. Fair use is a step toward progress,
but our tech savvy culture needs more. How can we protect the rights of the creators
without squelching the creativity of the consumers? Does the copyright still foster
creativity? We are a Read/Write culture… remix is at our fingertips.

The Remix Manifesto sets it up for us:

  1. culture builds on the past
  2. the past attempts to control the future
  3. culture is becoming less free
  4. limit the control of the past on culture

And now… it’s our job to enact #4.

Let's Remix it!



This is my Remix video. I used images, text and music to create a PSA against Mountaintop Removal. Under copyright laws, I have definitely crossed a line in that I have used a DMB song for 2 mins. However, this is a project for a course with no monetary gain and part of the purpose is to engage with the conversation of the limitations placed on remix and the boundaries of copyright. One important thing to note is that the images (many of them) were originally located within the associated press which allowed multiple publications to use them with a nod toward to source of the image. While some of the images are definitely speaking out against mountaintop removal (strip mining) some of the images were in articles to represent camping locations, tourism and commentary on the shift of the welcome to WV signs. Additionally, the “Just Say No” campaign is a conversation regarding drugs, but here it is repurposed to outset the business issues in WV. “The Dreaming Tree” establishes a conversation about missing what has disappeared; interestingly, it is also the title for the Dave Matthews craft wine. He has even repurposed his own song in that space. A public service announcement is a way to reach an audience that the activist groups may not reach because their publications are widely read by those who believe in their cause and the tourism images are not widely broadcast to an audience that is not already interested in visiting the state of WV. By coupling the mining, the mountains and the people of WV, the pathos of the PSA attempts to draw the audience into the realities of mountaintop removal issues, the everyday effects.