Remix culture has become more prominent over recent years with things such as mashups, remixes, covers and parodies becoming a major part of the media we consume on a daily basis.
Because of current technology it is very easy for people to create their own remixes by simply editing existing materials to produce something new. Lessig (2008) states that every “time you use a creative work in a digital context, the technology is making a copy”. Which is entirely true, when a popular song is released multiple parodies, remixes and covers float across the internet. For example, the above parody of “Let it Go” from the film Frozen. There is very little control over what is taken and remade into something else as some copyright laws are a bit vague and it is impossible to keep track of all the content being shared on the internet.
People have become a part of the production process by creating videos, music and even memes based on original content. The Queensland University of Technology (2006) has written in their report ‘Mash Ups, Remixes and Copyright Law‘ that “we now inhabit a ‘remix culture’, a culture which is dominated by amateur creators – creators who are no longer willing to be passive recipients of content.” Technology allows us to create art as quickly and easily as we consume it.
The main issue surrounding remix culture and copyright which Lessig talks about is that the youth have grown up with remixes being the norm and often have no idea that it is an offence and considered illegal to create their own products based on the content of others.
Is remix culture an original art form in its own way? Lessig (2008) relates it to a chef who uses store-bought ingredients, writing that,”the remix artist does the same thing with bits of culture found in his digital cupboard.” Lessig (2008) is inspired by the twists people create out of original works but believes that neither the original nor that which is created out of an original work can “truly flourish without copyright.”
Lessig, L., 2008. Remix. 1st ed. New York: Penguin Press.
O’Brien, D. and Fitzgerald, B. (QUT Law School), 2006. Mashups, remixes and copyright law. Internet Law Bulletin, 9(2), pp.17–19.
Stephey, M., 2008. Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – TIME.com. [online] TIME.com. Available at: <http://content.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1851241,00.html> [Accessed 3 May 2014].
Ingram, M., 2011. Copyright and remix culture: The new Prohibition?. [online] Gigaom. Available at: <https://gigaom.com/2011/12/12/copyright-and-remix-culture-the-new-prohibition/> [Accessed 3 May 2014].
YouTube, 2014. Let It Go – Mom Parody. [online] Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCNf5iVa-18> [Accessed 3 May 2014].