Remix, Rights and Removal
Remix, Rights and Removal
Remix, Rights and Removal

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    Video remixers are on the front lines of the battle between new media
    technologies and impeding copyright laws that threaten to obstruct the
    public space for popular culture critique. Public spaces such as YouTube
    are teeming with meticulously crafted and articulate video remixes that
    make powerful arguments, deconstructing social myths and challenging
    dominant media messages. These remixes reflect the participatory nature
    of both pop and remix cultures, but their future is in jeopardy due to
    corporate claims of copyright infringement, DMCA takedown notices and an
    inability to distinguish between an illegal use of proprietary content
    and a fair use of one.

    Losing these videos looks like this:

    YouTube Video Removed Screenshot 1

    YouTube Video Removed Screenshot 2

    In the spring of 2009 I curated a video show called “REMOVED: The
    Politics of Remix Culture”. With the permission of the artists,
    outlawed YouTube video remixes screened alongside the artist’s
    email exchanges with YouTube’s legal team. Every remix in the show
    was removed due to copyright infringement or terms of use violation and
    each exchange between YouTube and artists illustrated an important power
    dynamic: “Your video is no longer available because FOX has chosen
    to block it.”

    Due to their transformative nature, remix videos are highly eligible to
    make a fair use of copyrighted material, but as the artists in the
    REMOVED show realized, citing Fair Use does not always warrant proper
    from video sharing sites. Remixers need to be aware that
    Fair Use is a case by case judgment call, which you can help make
    yourself based on the
    Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video
    . If you’re
    feeling confident your work is legal but you’ve received a notice
    that it’s not, check out Chilling Effects.

    It is important to remix pop-culture, mash-up the media landscape and
    blur the line between passive audience and active creator. Part of the
    fun is that it exposes archaic copyright limitations.

    I’m proud to be on the front lines of the battle between new media
    technologies and impeding copyright laws. Video remixing wouldn’t
    be possible without organizations like Public Knowledge who
    acknowledge that Fair Use is a right, not a privilege. As a remixer, I
    can only continue
    making new remixes with the hopes that the product and process decreases
    copyright confusion and encourages the use of new media technologies to
    sustain media literacy and critical thinking about popular culture.