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Week 8 Discussion

Q1. Do you think it is possible to assign different media forms their own levels of copyright restriction?

In Lessig’s (2008) age of read-write culture, where remix is prevalent and is done by almost everyone from school children to older users, whether legal or not. Just like file sharing, copyright laws have been broken for any number of reasons. Personally speaking, it is with rose-coloured glasses that I answer the question. I think it should be possible for different media to obtain its own copyright to avoid infringing on any laws.

In 2018, Congress will be reviewing the copyright law for extension (Lee, 2013). While the situation looks grim on one side, that is the side that suggests works by big corporation such as Disney, should be in the public domain, Disney themselves it seems would like the copyright to extend indefinitely for obvious reasons: mainly, money. The argument here is that Walt Disney now long dead cannot possibly benefit further by this law, but if these works (such as Steamboat Willy) were available to the public, they would inspire others to create new and innovative ideas while remixing with the old (Lessig 2008).

For this reason, even though I’m a big believer in creators receiving remuneration for their hard work, this should cease when the creator is long dead. For the music industry, sampling is a very common, very obvious practice and so should have copyright laws that address that (DiCola, 2014). These should vary depending on the artist and their works. For example if any artist writes all their own music, they should be compensated differently to an artist who uses other people’s work to remix with their own.

For books, again, the copyright laws should address the different types of books and other literature that is created by authors who work on their own, with others, who create their own concepts or borrow other’s. Conversely, the Copyright Act (1968) has a parallel importation restriction (PIR) which increases the prices of all books imported, including educational books for students (Murphy, 2013). A very different copyright law should be passed that minimises cost for learning, I believe. As Lessig (2008) suggests, learning comes from making meaning from the world around us, remixing concepts and creating something new.

Q2. How easy is it to define what is ‘remix’ and what is simply copying?  What does remix need to involve in order for it to be sufficiently ‘new’: fundamental changes in form, in length, in meaning or something else? If you had to offer a legal boundary between a legitimate remix, and an authorised copy, could you?

Lessig (2008 p 76) describes remix as the manipulating of other concepts and adding my own to create something new, while copying, is simply taking someone else’s work and passing it off as my own. I believe this is the key, where a new concept is created from my appropriation, in other words the meaning I have made from the ideas of others so that I may learn further. I liken this to when I am writing essays, some times I paraphrase points made by authors of articles or essays in the field of which I am studying, but sometimes when the message needs to be clear and explicit, I quote a sentence or two, because the way the author explains is much clearer. I realise this example may be used for music as well, where artists often sample other artist’s music because it has more meaning than words that are different yet convey the same message.

Q3. Do you think intention matters (and if so, how do you ‘prove’ the intent of a piece of media)?

According to Find Law Australia (“Do we have the right to freedom of speech in Australia?,” 2014), it appears that our freedom of political expression is at best “implied”. So while the video remix of Apple products and Hillary Clinton campaign speeches that Tryon (2011, p 243) describes in this reading are obviously political in nature, the fact that it is easily accessible by the public, makes the intent clear: in America, people have gotten away with deformation of character under the banner of “Fair Use”. As I have learned in this unit, there is a difference between America’s fair use and Australia’s fair dealing. This is obviously a concept I need to muster, as these copyright laws will affect the way my RWMC is produced.

Intent, I believe has to be obvious. But there’s difficulty in that what is obvious to one person is obscure to the next. Tryon (2011, p 244) further explains that what is needed is discourse and although referring to political videos, this could be taken to any media, that it is vital to recognize how media is consumed, by whom and for what purpose.

Reference

DiCola, P. (2014). An Economic View of Legal Restrictions on Musical Borrowing and Appropriation. Technology | Academics | Policy. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from http://www.techpolicy.com/Articles/Economic-View-of-Legal-Restrictions-on-Musical-Bor.aspx

Do we have the right to freedom of speech in Australia? (2014). Find Law Australia. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from http://www.findlaw.com.au/articles/4529/do-we-have-the-right-to-freedom-of-speech-in-austr.aspx

Lee, T. B. (2013, October 25). 15 years ago, Congress kept Mickey Mouse out of the public domain. Will they do it again? Washington Post, The Switch. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/10/25/15-years-ago-congress-kept-mickey-mouse-out-of-the-public-domain-will-they-do-it-again/

Lessig, L. (2008). RW, Revived. In Remix – Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy (pp. 51-83). Bloomsbury Academic.

Murphy, T. (2013, April 26). Impact of Parallel Import Restrictions on Book Prices. Menzies House. Retrieved January 30, 2014, from http://www.menzieshouse.com.au/2013/04/impact-of-parallel-import-restrictions-on-book-prices.html

Tryon, C. (2011). Representing the presidency: Viral videos, intertextuality, and political participation. In M. Kackman, M. Binfield, M. T. Payne, A. Perlman, & B. Sebok (Eds.), Flow TV: Television in the Age of Media Convergence (pp. 242-258). London and New York: Routledge.

 
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Posted by on 02/02/2014 in WEB207

 

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Week 4 Discussion

“In a world coloured by the virtues of the remix culture it will become virtually impossible to charge users for simple access to content. It is interesting to speculate how such a development will affect the professional production of popular culture. Probably it will be increasingly difficult to create profitable entertainment projects such as full-length motion pictures or traditional music albums. In order to survive, the producers should rather focus on providing tools and building blocks for the users to create their own material.  Surely, something which is similar to the traditional movie or album could also be provided, merely as an example of how the building blocks might be put together, but what is most important is to offer a service which inspires and stimulates the users’ creativity” (Wikstrom, 2010, p. 159).

 

Q1. Do you agree with Wikstrom’s provocative above statement?  Do you think that there are particular genres of music where this provision of building blocks for users to remix already occurs, and will this idea will spread across music production more generally?

 

I tend to agree with Wikstrom’s statement because people have been remixing music for years, yet also purchasing their physical music, such as CDs and DVDs. Media conglomerates and producers should recognise that this tool could be an efficient way to bring music to the masses and make good money. Wikstrom refers briefly to Nine Inch Nails and I just had to have a look at their website that offers their music for remix for free. I had a read of a message on their website and noted that band member Trent Reznor endorses the remix of his tracks, claiming that he does not mind what people do with the tracks, including changing his voice to sound like a woman. This led me to read the Wired interview of Reznor in 2007. What is interesting is that NIN were quite receptive of how the web could be utilised to release their music. Reznor talks about ARGs and leaving consumers bread crumbs in much the same way Lost did to promote the TV series. I can imagine that loyal listeners would love to follow the clues to get to new music from their favourite bands, in turn inspiring them to create new music of their own.

 

I also had a look at Soundcloud.com which is a website of remixes and original music. Artists such as NIN have songs here that can be listened to and downloaded. I could quite possibly spend a lot of time on this website and it has a wide range of music and some of the remixes are really well done. Musicians making their songs available like this are making themselves more approachable, more accessible and in the long run, most successful. I can only hope this continues because it means more and better music for me to listen to.

 

Q2. What do you think are the biggest challenges and benefits to the music industries that come from digital communication and distribution?

 

Kot (2009, p 28) discusses how Tom Petty and the Beastie Boys “embraced Internet distribution, problematic as it was” because it is the way of the future. In my experience, I have obtained more material online (books, music and education just to name a few) than off in the last five years, and although some may have been pirated, I am not adverse to purchasing physical media especially if I want quality. With the music industry, I can see why the big wigs might be in a panic, but the reality is listeners are willing to pay cash for something they can acquire for free for many reasons. Namely to support their favourite artists. Kot (2009, p 29) lists several the “sky-is-falling scenarios” where different media throughout the ages have sent the music industry in a frenzy of it’s the end of the world as we know it (see what I did there?).

 

My point is that every new media bought new challenges and benefits even though they were forecast to kill its predecessor. The radio, the phonograph, records, cassettes, CDs, no matter the medium each has added something new to music and each has had to over come a negative first impression. The Internet is no different. Digital distribution equal quick and easy downloads, so if I hear something that I like, I can have in on my PC in no time, free or paid for. The flipside? Computer bugs attached to files and inferior content for us the listeners and piracy, leaked content, new business models to contend with, and new digital distribution contracts to be written between artists and media companies. Kot (2009, 36) explains that the record industry walked away from a compromise with Napster that would result in millions being made by the industry, I wonder if they would still walk away today knowing what they know now about the Internet?

 

Q3. Do you still listen to radio broadcasts? What do you think are the main pressures that radio faces?

 

Do you think that radio is a dying form in the face of iPods, iPhones and a million other devices capable of playing personalised musical playlists?

 

I am not a radio listener and never really was. I’m almost sorry to say that I really dislike radio DJs and the advertising that plagues the airways. I resolved very early in life that the radio was not for me. For one, they never play the songs I like and if they do, the program is peppered with irrelevant ranting of a person I’ve never met and never will. I know it sounds harsh. This is why time-shifting technology is such a good friend of mine. I love being able to listen to my music whenever I wish, with no ads and no one talking about something that does not interest me. Thanks to Net102, I discovered Pandora, a place where I can create my own personal radio station and listen to my heart’s content.

 

So as a person who does not listen to the radio, I wonder if there are others out there like me. If there is, then I’m inclined to think that time-shifting media such as MP3 players and websites such as Spotify or Pandora may be taking over the airways. But as I have discovered, advertising is a dog eat dog business and the radio is a major source of ads. Also as this website explains, radio is needed locally for “delivery of customized information such as news, traffic, and weather for their communities, especially in rural areas” (“Is radio dead?”, 2012).

 

 

Reference:

 

Berry, R. (2006). Will the iPod Kill the Radio Star? Profiling Podcasting as Radio. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 12(2), 143 -162.

DSN News. (October 13, 2012). Is radio dead? [Webpage]. Retrieved from http://www.digitalsyndicate.net/radiodead.html

Kot, G. (2009). Napster vs. Metallica. In Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music (pp. 25-39). New York: Scribner.

Wikstrom, P. (2010). The Social and Creative Music Fan. In The Music Industry: Music in the Cloud (pp. 147-169). Polity.

 
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Posted by on 12/18/2013 in WEB207

 

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