Course blog for CSP 11 (Fall 2012) @ Occidental College

Author Archives: copyplight

 

For our remix video, Fair Use Strikes Back, we wanted to exemplify and celebrate remix as a transformative medium. The song, “The Young Person’s Guide to The Orchestra,” acts as the template for our remix video. In music, specifically the classical genre, creating variations of a theme is a common practice. In this song, the four sections of the orchestra draw on the original theme of the music to create distinct variations. We believe that remix, like classical music, has the capability to draw upon a theme from an original work while also transforming it. This transformation through remix creates an entirely new work, thus creating a new aura. Through the remixing an original work, in our case a clip from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, we are removing the original context and creating our own.

Modeling the way the orchestra is split into four sections that draw upon a theme to create variations, we drew upon one original clip to create four very different remixes. Each of the four remixes we created relates more to the tone of the music than to the content of the original Star Wars clip. This content and its difference from the original clip is what makes the remixes a new work with a new aura. Through the different color filters, decisive editing of the original clip, and synchronization with the music, we were able to create four new remixes, all of their own aura. As example, we made the first remix draw upon the flowery and light-hearted sound of the woodwinds section, while utilizing serious fight scenes and manipulating them to appear as dance moves. Contrastingly, we had the third remix play off of the eerie sound of the strings, while utilizing and distorting facial expressions from the original clip.

Our remix is successful because it argues that remix videos are transformative by remixing and transforming a well known clip. Our video ends with Luke gaining the upper-hand (no pun intended) against Darth Vader. This scene is unedited; however, juxtaposed with the previous remixes, this scene celebrates the new rise and power of remix culture, a culture that is here to stay.

 

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The remix video “Feminist Remix – Just your typical prototypes” argues, as the title states, that women are objectified in television. This remix creates its argument about the depiction of women as objects in television by juxtaposing the song “Just a Girl” with many clips of women being objectified in television shows. Although the video is four minutes long, after only about 45 seconds in the viewer gets the gist of this argument. The strength of this argument comes from the repetition of the types of clips being used and the chorus of the song “Just a Girl.”

The most interesting part of this video is the beginning where a series of close-up photos of doll-like futuristic looking women are described as originally “innocent” creatures. The voiceover states that this innocence is lost when our “society [began using] sex to sell.” Along with this message, images of an explosion are shown, which alludes to the disastrous nature of the shift in society’s portrayal of women. The majority of the clips that follow show women in scantily clad clothing being dominated by male figures. Clips are primarily pulled from the shows “The Playboy Club,” “Mad Men,” and “Pan Am.” Using these shows drives the argument further because the women are portrayed as lesser beings even though they are the primary focus in the shows.  Some clips are played multiple times, showing the viewer again and again how negatively women are displayed in media. Perhaps, it is no coincidence 2/3 of these shows was quickly canceled. It is also intriguing to note that all of these shows take place in the 1950s-60s. During these times, women were celebrated as homemakers and feminist culture began to form. Both aspects aid in the videos argument; the popular reemergence of this time period on television sheds light on our society’s fascination with the time, and the time period itself alludes to the oppression of women and the birth of feminism. However, the historical aspects of the clip take away from the video’s argument. The argument is lessoned for it becomes difficult to determine whether it is the television show or the time period that is objectifying women.

The song used, “Just a Girl,” by No Doubt describes the stereotypes forced upon women and how, in society, a woman is “just a girl” whose identity does not exist beyond being an object for men. The song is effective because it is sung by a strong female artist, and has a bite to it when played along with the offensively portrayed clips of women.

Through the argument, each clip is transformed into something new.  The aura of the clips changes from being the accepted norm of society to being examples of outrage.  In their original context, all of the scenes used in this video were moments of drama and entertainment. However, in this remix, the clips illustrate that television’s objectification of women is disgusting and unacceptable.

In terms of our up-coming remix video: something this video shows us is that we should be particularly careful in picking clips, because depending on the context surrounding the clips our argument could either be strengthened or weakened.  This video also successfully showed its argument through repetition. However, repetition can sometimes be overwhelming. In order for the argument to be clear and concise, we should make sure everything we do is intentional and find a balance of repetition in the scope of our argument.

 

Works Cited

“Feminist Remix- Just your typical prototypes” YouTube. YouTube, 3 Dec. 2011. Web. 19 Oct. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pyud7Pcm0E>.


The YouTube video, Disney Medley II – AJ Rafael & Todrick Hall, is on the edge of copyright infringement. One can argue fair use of copyrighted material if the content is noncommercial, educational, reasonably different from the purpose of the original content, and attributed to the original copyright holders. This video is barely (if at all) under the protection of fair use, and yet YouTube has left it up. The video (posted below) contains two popular YouTube singers, AJ Rafael and Todrick Hall, singing a medley of famous Disney songs. Accompanying the singers are two images, one of a scene from a Disney movie and the other of the two singers’ attempt to replicate that image. Surprisingly, the video does not attribute the songs to their rightful composers and barely attributes the other copyrighted material to Disney. Their only attribution come in the form of their title and description box mentioning Disney’s name and the Walt Disney quote placed at the beginning of the video. Yet, the aspects of the video that truly push copyright boundaries are the way the video answers the fair use question “… did it just repeat the work for the same intent and value as the original?” The copyrighted Disney music in addition to pictures of scenes in the corresponding films, target Disney fans; therefore, the video views benefit from the original copyrighted material’s popularity and the nostalgia it provokes. YouTubers are paid based on video views, so fact that the two singers benefit economically from this video also makes their case for fair use a difficult one.

Even though the content is still Disney music, one could argue that the video is transformative. The way the songs are sung vary enough to where the original songs can be recognized, but the nuances make it distinct. These Disney songs originally appeared in Disney movies as a means to enhance the storyline; in this video, the songs are used as pure entertainment and a way for the two singers to display their composition and vocal skills. The video also changes the accompanying images’ purpose. The images from the Disney films are not particularly humorous ones; however, AJ and Todrick’s replication take that tone. They use common-day props such as brooms and t-shirts to transform themselves into Disney characters; and most of the time one of them is dressed as a female character. Through this overall fun-loving and humorous tone, the meaning of some of the songs, such as “Beauty and the Beast,” change, becoming more lighthearted. Therefore, they have somewhat changed the purpose of the songs and images. In addition, the length of each song used is less than fifty seconds. If a viewer wants to hear Disney songs, they would most likely buy the full song instead of listening to a fifty-second cover. Moreover, no one is going to stop watching Disney films or buy Disney related merchandise because they can hear a cover of the songs online. The video does not take anything away from Disney and the profits they make. Perhaps this video is not the best candidate for a fair use claim or example of a remix video due to the economic benefits gained by the YouTubers, the lack of a major change in purpose, the lack of attribution to the original copyright holders, and the lack of change in the target audience. However, the ever so slight transformative nature of their musical arrangement and overall tone, in addition to their YouTube popularity, will protect the YouTubers and their video.

 

 

WORKS CITED

Rafael, AJ. “Medley II – AJ Rafael & Todrick Hall.” Youtube. Youtube, 12 April 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2012.

Central for Social Media. Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video. AUSOC, 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2012.


Like many of my peers, I never read the Terms of Service agreement when it comes to the products I use. I assume the company has my best interest in mind and that there is nothing too outrageous in the contract. After watching the South Park “HumancentiPad”episode where Kyle finds himself in an unusual predicament due to his failure to read the iTunes Terms and Conditions, I decided to read the Hulu Terms of Use agreement that I accepted a couple of years ago. Though completely outrageous, this “centiPad” incident could have happened to any of us. Our desire for a new product in addition to our trust in copyright companies can give these companies a lot of control over us consumers. No, fortunately, I did not sign my future children’s souls over to Hulu, but I did find one policy a bit unnecessary and confusing. While reading the restrictions for the proper use of Hulu, I came across this: “ In addition, you are strictly prohibited from creating derivative works or materials …including montages, mash-ups and similar videos, wallpaper, desktop themes, greeting cards, and merchandise…This prohibition applies even if you intend to give away the derivative materials free of charge.”[i] (Section 3: The Content). I guess I understand “mash-ups” and “montages”, but “wallpapers, desktop themes, and greeting cards?” Not only are we not allowed to create these things, but we cannot make them even if we have no intention of making a profit. When I think of copyright laws, I tend to think of protecting the author’s creative work and revenue. So the fact that a person cannot legally make something “free of charge” for the sole purpose of furthering their enjoyment of a product makes no sense to me. I now understand William Patry’s point when he says “consumers will have what the Politburo decides they can have, when they can have it, in what quantities, at what price, where they can buy it, as well as how long it will be available.”[ii] (6). Now, I am not so extreme as to agree with his comparison of the copyright industry to communists, but I understand his frustration with the tight grip the industry has on its content. They really do tell you when, where, and how you can enjoy their product. Most of the time, I do find myself enjoying the content the way I’m “supposed to;” however, I have screen capped a moment or two from a TV show in order to share it with a friend. I had no idea that that was technically illegal. My friends have access to Hulu, so how could my sharing of a moment be against the law? I did not realize the amount of control that copyright industries have over their content and their consumers. There needs to be some shift in power where copyright companies have a lesser dominance. I’m not saying we should have a pull market where everything is individualized and consumers have most of the control; but there needs to be a middle ground where both parties have a say in the use of a product.


[i] “Terms of Use.” Hulu. 16 March. 2012. Web. 7 Sept. 2012.

[ii] Patry, William. Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 2009. Print.