The topic of “remixes” and “mashups” is part of a discussion that I have had lately with a colleague who is teaching a Movie Making course to middle school students. They are begging, and I mean begging, to create music videos where they lip sync to popular songs, like this popular example from the USA Olympic swimming team this summer. We have been debating the copyright logistics of such a task, and I have been thinking about it more while reading about remixes and fair use.
I most appreciated the “Everything is a Remix” video series in gaining knowledge about this topic. I thought Kirby Ferguson did such a great job explaining the concept and demonstrating the remix culture in music, film, and ideas over the course of history. His work provides examples of original pieces that were remixed or sampled by others for new works. (Didn’t we watch Part 4 in Course 1 or 2?)
This image is a remix of two photos and an idea. All credited on the flickr page of the artist.
I also liked this short piece posted on gigaom. The article discusses how the surge of internet based media has put huge pressure on the issue of copyright, and the debate of ownership by the creator of the content. Many people create YouTube videos under the guise of Fair Use, but does what they’re creating really fall under that umbrella? This article also references quotes from Andy Baio’s blog post about the same topic.
Baio even says, “Under current copyright law, nearly every cover song on YouTube is technically illegal.”
Many videos are removed from YouTube and accounts are threatened to be closed due to suspected copyright infringement. Our Movie Making teacher has actually received notices from YouTube about this.
The swim team video is up to 9,495,314 views. Hmmm….
I also thought that this article was worthy of sharing in reference to how MIT’s Scratch program encourages remixing. And, from there, I was led to this Code of Best Practices, which may prove useful in deciding what is allowed under Fair Use.
And, so, I’m back to the same point.
While creating the music videos would certainly allow students to meet the movie making objectives through filming, editing, and remixing, and their intentions for use of their work would be non-commercial, I am not still entirely convinced that using an entire copyrighted song falls within Fair Use.
What are your thoughts?