For the remix video project, JJ and I put together a video made with popular YouTube remix videos. Behind that song we put a mash-up by DJ Earworm, a popular mash-up DJ, called “United States of Pop 2009”. The song was used because it represents what the new generation has become, a generation of remix. Our generation has developed a passion for remix, it is everywhere in our culture, and the copyright laws have not reacted to this fact. Everyone nowadays can be an author. The creation of the Internet has been the catalyst behind our new generations remix obsession. It has given everyone the tools to be their own author. This can be seen in remix videos all over YouTube and the rest of the internet. In our remix video, “The Perfect Remix”, we aim to bring to light the fact that copyright laws are out of date with the ideals of the current generation, especially the idea that everyone has an opportunity to be their own author.
In the video, we took snippets from the most popular remix videos on the internet, and made our own remix video. We had a selection of many different kinds of videos, but we handpicked the videos with a few purposes. The first purpose was to demonstrate how to properly make a remix video today. We chose videos that really identified how a video can properly fall under fair use. Each of the videos shows transformative uses of the original video. The second use was to choose remix videos that were popular. The essence of choosing a music video is to choose an original video that can resonate with the audience. Towards the end of the video, we even put in our own little remix video. We put in a video of JJ doing his own remix to the background song. This little clip was meant to bring home our overall message: everyone is an author.
The video we chose is a parody of the rapper Waka Flocka Flames’ hit, “Hard in Da Paint”. The video makes an argument about today’s youth’s view of President Barack Obama, and it does so through its parody of the audio and visuals from “Hard in Da Paint.” The video shows that Barack Obama is more than a president; he is a culture icon. In today’s culture, people constantly take his iconic image of being president, and then shape it into a totally transformed version of the original image. This video demonstrates one of the popular images that Barack has been transformed into, a “thug”. Being a thug is something that has started to become glorified nowadays in our rap-obsessed culture. The persona that is attached to the president is a commentary on today’s society.
In the parody, the transformative uses of the video can seen through the lyrics, as well as the visuals of the music video. Through lyrics such as “Baracka Flocka Flame one hood ass nigga” and “I run the military nigga if you want that beef/I give a long ass speech, and put your ass to sleep” you can see that Barack Obama has been completely transformed into a “thug.” You can also see evidence of the transformation in the visuals. His mannerisms have become very similar to the mannerisms that are commonly made in rap videos. Examples of these mannerisms include him putting his middle finger up to the camera, smoking marijuana, and slapping girls butts, just to name a few.
This video clearly falls under fair use, through parody of the original song. You can see this before the video even starts. The creator of the video gave Barack his own rapper alias, Baraka Flocka Flame, which is just a transformed version of the rapper Waka Flame. The lyrics also are extremely similar between the original video and the parody. One example can be seen at the beginning of the song when Waka Flocka Flame says “I won’t die for this shit or what the fuck I say/Front yard broad day with da SK.” The parody takes that line, and spins transforms it into “I won’t day for this shit, that’s what Michelle said/Secret service, but I got my own SK”
We have learned a lot about how to do a proper remix video through watching this video. Firstly, it taught us that almost any video is remix-able. This parody took a song, which we both thought would be impossible to spin into an argumentative video, and showed is that if a lot of thought is put into the video, a proper argument can be assembled. It also taught is that when trying to make an important argument through remix, it is important to use something that is mainstream and relevant to popular culture. Reaching a bigger audience will make the argument even stronger, and the easiest way to do that is by remixing something that general population will know.
While surfing for remix videos to use, I came across this remix video of Obama “rapping” his own version of 99 Problems by Jay-Z. When I saw this video, I knew it was the perfect video to use because of how it falls under Fair Use. This creator this video basically took snippets of words from recordings of Obama speaking, and rearranged them to make it sound as though he was rapping his own version of the rap song. The really clever thing I like about this video is that it actually has curses, which is usually unheard of for Obama remix videos.
The first main reason that I believe this falls perfectly under fair use is because it addresses the need of “transformativeness” wholeheartedly. The message that this remix video was echoing wasn’t the same message in the slightest that Obama was trying to make in his speeches that were used. The criteria states that work is tranformative if “the material [is] recontextualized and re-presented for a new purpose, and to a new audience.” (Aufderheide and Jaszi pg 81) This remix video does exactly that. The creator of the video targets a whole new audience with this remix, as well as a new purpose, to entertain. The creator also claims fair use in the bottom of the description:
FAIR USE NOTICE
“99 Problems (Explicit Political Remix)” constitutes a fair use of its repurposed sources
Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107
The clips that this video incorporates are no more than a second long, seeing that each clip is just a single word or phrase, so it would be pretty hard for the video to encompass the original meaning of his speeches. The creator also made up his own lyrics to the song, which helps because he might’ve had problem with Jay-Z and his copyrighted song “99 problems” if he had used Jay-Z’s original lyrics.
Aufderheide, Patricia, and Peter Jaszi. Reclaiming Fair Use. London: The University of Chicago Press, 2011. 1-33, 70-93. Print.
DiranLyons. “99 Problems (Explicit Political Remix) ORIGINAL UPLOAD.” YouTube. YouTube, 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C22wBf2h5k>.
As I was looking around on the Internet for a terms & conditions to read when I came across a story about the terms & conditions of the British game retailer GameStation. In April of 2010, 7.500 agreed to the terms & conditions presented to them by GameStation. Every single one of the 7,500 either did not read it or did not read it thoroughly because by agreeing to these specific terms & conditions, they were granting the company legal rights to claim their souls.
By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should we wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorized minions.
Of course, the terms and service were updated on April Fools, but this stunt did bring the one big dilemma that was also brought up by South Park’s “Human CentIpad”: Businesses are overstepping their boundaries. William Patry backs the businesses saying that it is not all the businesses fault. They are apprehensive in switching from a product that is working to a new product that has the potential to work. “Many businesses understandable worry about shifting from a declining volume but still profitable product to a newer product that may or may not become capable of generating substantial revenues.”(Patry, 2) It is understandable that companies would want to protect their product, but these companies are letting copyright interfere in their relationship with their customers. These copyright rules continue to widen the gap between the consumers and the companies. Companies are continuing to be sneaky with what they put in their terms & conditions, continually taking advantage of the fact that us consumers do not read the terms of service. Nowadays, companies try to walk a thin and mischievous line between being profitable and maintaining consumer satisfaction, but it really just comes off as being distrustful.
A lack of trust is starting to generate between the consumer and the company, and the reasons for that are demonstrated in both South Park’s “Human CentiPad” and the April fools stunt by GameStation. Throughout the show, Kyle is continually presented with terms and conditions of a different sort, and each time, he simply signs it, instead of reading the whole thing, which is something almost everyone in this world has done at one point or another. There is an overall trust in these big companies, demonstrated by Kyle, which hasn’t really been earned. Certain companies are taking advantage of this trust, and under the current copyright laws, what they are doing is perfectly legal. William Patry suggests that these copyright laws be reformed in a way that makes them effective, and I 100% agree.
Patry, William. “How the Copyright Wars are Being Fought and Why.” Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars. New York: Oxford, 2009. 1-41. Print.
Parker, Trey. “HumancentiPad.” South Park. Comedy Central: 27 Apr 2011. Television. <http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s15e01-humancentipad>.
“7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 15 Apr. 2010. Web. 09 Sept. 2012. <http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2010/04/15/online-shoppers-unknowingly-sold-souls/?test=latestnews>.