Remix Culture: Media Shifting, Copyright Laws, Distribution

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.

Reference list:

About the licenses n.d. Creative Commons Australia, viewed 12 April 2017, <http://creativecommons.org.au/learn/licences/&gt;.
American Edit, Wikipedia, viewed 12 April 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Edit&gt;.
Australian Law Reform Commission n.d. The Case For Fair Use in Australia, Australian Law Reform Commission, viewed 12 April 2017, <https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/4-case-fair-use-australia/what-fair-use&gt;.
Barfield, S n.d. ‘Madeon’s Adventure Machine’, We Make Awesome Sh.it, viewed 12 April, <http://blog.wemakeawesomesh.it/madeons-adventure-machine/&gt;.
Creative Commons, Wikipedia, viewed 12 April 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons&gt;.
Knoeder, J n.d. ‘The Best Beat Making Software of 2017’, TopTenReviews, viewed 12 April, <http://www.toptenreviews.com/software/multimedia/best-beat-making-software/&gt;.
Learn about CC n.d. Creative Commons Australia, viewed 12 April 2017, <http://creativecommons.org.au/learn/&gt;.
Martin, R n.d. ‘Remix Culture: a rights nightmare’, Catapult, viewed 12 April, <http://www.abc.net.au/catapult/indepth/s1645533.htm&gt;.
O’Brien, D, Fitzgerald, B 2006, ‘Mashups, remixes and copyright law’, Internet Law Bulletin, pp. 1-6, <https://eprints.qut.edu.au/4239/1/4239.pdf&gt;.
Remix Culture, Wikipedia, viewed 12 April 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remix_culture&gt;.
Rimmer, M 2012, A SUBMISSION TO THE AUSTRALIAN LAW REFORM COMMISSION, COPYRIGHT AND THE DIGITAL ECONOMY: REMIX CULTURE,  Australian Law Reform Commission, viewed 12 April 2017, <https://www.alrc.gov.au/sites/default/files/subs/143.matthewrimmer_remix.pdf&gt;.
TechGumbo 2017, 10 Amazing Websites You Didn’t Know Existed!, online video, 17 February, TechGumbo, viewed 12 April 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWi-O6_DnVM&list=WL&index=2&gt;.

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11 thoughts on “Remix Culture: Media Shifting, Copyright Laws, Distribution

  1. “I don’t think there’s such a thing as talent. I think talent is not noticing that you’ve practiced.” Loving the podcast from these guys at Re:Create – http://www.recreatecoalition.org/new-recreate-podcast-shows-star-wars-can-teach-us-copyright/

    I think it really complements what you’ve said about the relative ease of creating and remixing creative works (despite legal issues). For my next post I think I’ll definitely be using some of the software you’ve described to make some fun remixes. I’m surely not talented – but I’ll keep giving it a go.

    All I would suggest for you post is to liven up the podcast. We’re talking about creativity and remixes here, so get weird and get your mix on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey thanks for commenting! I absolutely love Star Wars so I already know this podcast is going to be interesting! thanks so much for attaching it! and thanks for you advice too, I did try to create a bit of a song mashup to compliment my boring podcast but I ultimately failed with that, I’ll try to be less bland in my next podcast. 🙂
      – Alex

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      1. It’s a pretty interesting one, and Starwars fun too! I feel ya with the mash-up stuff. I haven’t yet mastered it. Even just some backing music or funky sounds could liven it up for next time.
        Keep at it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Alex, great blog, and I learnt a lot thanks. About 20 odd years ago, my now husband and I were into dance and trance music, but it was a little different to what we can do nowadays, hence why I learnt a lot from reading you blog, and checking out your hyperlinks. The music my husband made was from two decks, and records… we had hundreds of them. Nothing was recorded, as it was illegal, so every new remix was new, it was pretty cool. We mainly listen to house music now, more gentle,on the senses. I am defo going to try and make something using the links you have provided. Cheers MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Alex, great post. Indeed the copyright laws are extremely convoluted, and they impact drastically on the creation of remixes. I understand the point of intellectual property and why people want to keep their work to themselves and by right all profit should go to them due to them being the creators of such content. However, at the same time remixes have limitless possibilities and they can be changed and warped into completely new creations and that new creation can become protected. It brings up the conversation how can the law meet half where the creators of the original content are rightly “compensated” while allowing people to use their content to create new remixes.

    This video is excellent, it furthers the points you were making – https://vimeo.com/14912890

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Alex,
    First off I really liked the podcast in this video because reading all of that transcript would have been a task and a half so that was really helpful. However if the podcast was a little shorterI think it would have helped to keep people engaged for longer and maybe some clips in there (but soundcloud’s copyright issues could have stumped that to an extent). This explained lots about remix which I hadn’t covered in my research and blog post and its obvious you did lots of research to back up. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Alex,
    Great podcast. It was nice to rest my eyes and just listen for change instead of reading through everything.
    You covered a lot of stuff about remix culture that i hadn’t even considered, so cheers!
    Media ownership & copyright is something that really stumps me cause its such a grey area but your link to: ‘Dr Mathew Rimmers submission to the ALRC in regards to copyright and remix culture’ was helpful. Keep up the good work 🙂

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  6. Hey Alex, That was an amazing podcast well done! After reading so many blogs today and writing my own it was a good break to be able to listen but I also really liked that you included a text version of what you were saying made it really easy and was super convenient! I like how you stated “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.” as I wrote my remix blog post on the artist Banky’s and how he remixes his art. The only thing I can suggest is maybe adding a gif or meme within the blog post to attract more attention and add a bit more colour but overall well done! 🙂 x

    Like

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