I have recorded a podcast discussing the topic of remix culture, specifically how remix culture has contributed to the shift between the legacy media paradigm and the new produser age of media, the copyright laws surrounding remix culture, and how one can create and distribute their own remix content.
I have chosen to discuss these particular points as I feel it is important to note how significant of a role remix culture plays in this current shift between the old and consumption based legacy media and the new creative and participation based new media. It is also difficult to dabble into the world of remix culture without running into infamous copyright and intellectual property laws, so this was also covered. And thirdly, I believe people don’t recognise how easy it is to create and then distribute remix material, whether it be music, video, software or any other type of remixable entity.
Check out my podcast below:
Below is also a text version of my podcast so you can read along while listening:
Remix culture is defined as “a society that allows and encourages derivative works by combining or editing existing materials to produce a new creative work or product” (Wikipedia definition 2017), and as “a culture which is dominated by amateur creators – creators who are no longer willing to be merely passive receptors of content” (O’Brien, Fitzgerald 2006, p. 1).
This directly correlates to the idea of the media shift in the 21st century where the legacy media paradigm ceases to be effective and media audiences take on the role of produsers due to the emergence of new technologies and phenomenon’s that take place in the society we live in today, and as such, has led to the upcoming death of legacy media platforms.
Remix culture has played a significant part in this due to the frame of remix culture revolving around being innovative and taking pre-existing things and forming them together creatively, however a problem that continues to haunt pioneering remixers is copyright and intellectual property laws.
These laws are extremely complicated as sometimes there are no clear-cut sections of the legislation’s that can link to certain copyright claims, and as a result of this, many cases must be viewed in great detail to decide if any kind of copyright laws have actually been breached.
The word remix is often strictly associated with music and music remixes are what most people think of when they hear the term, however remixes and mashups can refer to music, videos, films, websites, software, hardware and many others. And whilst I am mainly referring to the use of digital content for remixes such as music and video and the copyright issues that surround this, the idea is also underlying for the other forms of remixes mentioned.
An early case relating to copyright laws and remixes is the American Edit case from 2005, where the DJ’s Team9 and Party Ben collectively called themselves ‘Dean Grey’ and created a mashup album remixing the Green Day album American Idiot which led to contact being made by Green day’s record label asking them to cease and desist the distribution of the remix, sparking fan outrage and backlash such as unauthorised playing of the mashup album by radio station and an online fan petition to re-allow distribution of the album. Dean Grey thought this claim against them was unfair as their purpose of the creating the remix was for purely non-commercial reasons.
Cases such as this have continued throughout time and as much as copyright laws aren’t quite where they should be, progress has been made, such as the ongoing development of Creative Commons, where by holding a creative commons license, a content creator can specify whether their content is able to be reused, redistributed or remixed by others, they can also specify whether this can be for non-commercial use only. Other advancements in regards to keeping the copyright laws up to date include requests for literal law reform, as shown in Dr Mathew Rimmers submission to the ALRC in regards to copyright and remix culture.
As I am not a legal expert (yes I decided to study digital media rather than law), I will not dabble too much more into the legal side of remix culture as it is extremely complicated.
And while it is important to ensure the laws relating to remix culture are up to scratch so people can unleash the full potential of their remix abilities without any legal ramifications, but I will also explain how you can create and distribute remixes legally and easily, we will use music remixes as the main example.
Online platforms such as SoundCloud and YouTube have allowed for content creators to share their work to their audiences in an effective way, these sites are full of remix culture and even have the resources available to create your own remixes. For example, the YouTube channel, ‘No Copyright Sounds’ or NCS, uploads songs that are purely copyright free and are allowed to be used in any capacity, so it’s incredibly easy to pull a few songs from their channel and play around with them and create a remix or mashup!
Or if you’re feeling like creating your own beats to remix a song with, software such as Ableton Live or Magix Music Maker are available for that purpose. And there are even sites such as Madeon’s Adventure Machine that allows you to create beats using samples from Madeon’s album. After any of these processes are enacted you can then easily distribute your new creation via YouTube, SoundCloud or any social media platform you choose. It’s that easy.