Copyright, Parodies, Remix.

Hey guys, remember Intro to New Media? Don’t you look back and sigh when thinking about how the homework for that class was read this article, pin a Pinterest pin, and “tweet about anything”?

The class was often quote-worthy: “My $7.99 per month on Hulu… I don’t feel bad about that at all. It’s research.”-Stenger

This week’s reading made me think a lot about that new media class. …Sorry, I’m doing that annoying thing again where I read one chapter, blog about it, and then read the rest after blogging… I’ll add to the post this week though to make up for it!

Littleton’s book talks about all the websites we take for granted… Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter… She also talks about copyright, and the attempt of major TV networks to expand their audiences by online streaming their programs.

This made me think of what we talked about a lot in Intro to New Media: copyright, streaming, illegal downloading, and fair use. Fair use is an important concept when it comes to copyright laws, remixing, and editing preexisting material. To use a book is not fair use, but it is free use. When you make a copy of that book, you enter a whole different territory of copyright problems. On the internet, every use and playing of a video makes a copy, whether or not that was the intention of the user. Amateur editors making remixes need to have free use, not fair use, and should be exempted from the copyright law, because the art of remixing is a creative hobby. Videos like parodies also fall under fair use. However, the system works unevenly, because inverted or altered video and audio are still recognized by YouTube’s content ID, and therefore marked as copyrighted, and then deleted. Computers read and write and create copies all the time, so it doesn’t make sense to have a law that says any copy is illegal.

Remember this remix from freshman year? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hX1YVzdnpEc

Here’s a newer version (newer song): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0-yNd58w90

The remix blurs the lines between concepts. Digital tools and the web have blurred the lines between amateur and professional creation of remixes. Critics of the Digital Copyright Law argue that it automatically assumes that you are guilty. DRM, or Digital Rights Management, criminalizes copying and makes remixing difficult, and if you disable the DRM on your computer, they say that you have broken the law. DRM also says that if there is a digital lock around a copyrighted work, it’s not just illegal to break the lock by copying it onto your computer. It is also illegal to make a tool to break the lock, or to tell someone how to make the tool.

The Wonder Years TV show used copyrighted music, so if you buy the DVD boxed sets, most of the original music will be played, but they couldn’t pay to keep all of the original music on Netflix because of the copyright, so the music is different from when it was played on TV. Compare the original opening song with the heinous Netflix version here. On YouTube, there is a pattern where someone creates something, and then someone else creates another version of the same thing. Copyright is “triggered” every time a copy is made. However, since remixes are creative works, they should not be considered copies, and they should be exempted from the copyright laws.

Update: Upon further reading, on the one hand, it’s too detailed, and it almost drove me crazy because of how much could have been edited out, especially for a walkout that lasted only “three hours and five minutes”. On the other hand, it’s probably the only way to tell a story of a strike, from the point of view of the strikers, and include every minute of it.

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