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

Author Archives: michaeltonetti

Today, a fine line exists between what does and does not qualify for fair use. It is a constant struggle that video posters face when trying to spread their new content. In a case personal to me, I went in fairly blind and luckily did not face any problems. Last May, my final project for my AP Statistics class was to make a video promoting statistics and showing our knowledge of the course. My friends and I decided to make a video dubbed “Straight Outta Stats Class”, a parody to NWA’s 1988 hit “Straight Outta Compton”. We sampled the beat, and soon laid down the track and made a satiric mimic of the NWA’s music video.

There are four factors than can determine whether or not a work falls under fair use policy (Aufderheide and Jaszi 24). The first of these is the character of the use, or what is being done with the material in question. In this case, we were using NWA’s beat for ‘educational’ purposes and for slight entertainment at the same time. The second factor is the nature of the original work. The original was used as a hit music video, and was a completely original production, which topped charts. The third factor is the amount taken from the original work. This may be the one area where our video infringes slightly. Although completely satirical, we used the same beat and used the original lyrics as somewhat of a template for our lyrics. The last factor is the effect of our video on the market value of the original work. Since the original video is almost 25 years old at this point, there is little that could greatly affect the market value of it, and our video appeals to somewhat of a different audience. I think one reason why we have not experienced any kind of trouble in keeping this video up is that we had no commercial intent for it, “although the term noncommercial has no clear legal definition” (Aufderheide and Jaszi 7). Another reason might be that there were probably not too many people outside of my high school who saw this video, and no one had any serious quarrels about the intent of it. Above all, our video is transformative of the original, with no intent to uproot the success of the original video, and we used the media for our own personal educational purposes. All these facets of our video make a great case for why our video does qualify for fair use.

Aufderheide, Patricia and Jaszi, Peter. Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright. Chicago: The  University of Chicago Press, 2011. Print.

Statisticians With Attitude. “Straight Outta Stats Class.” Rec. 22 May 2012. Evan Fonfa, 2012. YouTube. Web. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klE30p50nN4&gt;


When terms of service appear on a screen, it is most people’s first instinct to vaguely skim the agreement, if that, and click accept. After watching the South Park “Human CentiPad” episode, I looked over the iTunes agreement that I have personally accepted many times without reading just to make sure that I had not agreed to anything along the same lines as Kyle had. Although there was nothing in the contract that extreme, this episode shows that these major entertainment companies could, in theory, have the consumer agree to anything that they find necessary, no matter how grotesque that may be. With these huge companies, such as Apple, people put their complete faith in the idea that the company is going to have their best interest in mind, but there are many people in this world who I am sure have not looked over even one of these terms of service, for any site.

As far as iTunes goes, luckily there was nothing that was too far out of the ordinary. Most of the terms in there are completely understandable, and I feel that iTunes does a good job of enforcing them. By this I mean that there are really no ways around it, because as soon as you try to infringe on these copyrights, a notice comes up saying, for example, that you have already authorized a song on five different computers (iTunes Usage Rules ii). If iTunes didn’t have a system like this set-up, they would be vulnerable to probably the biggest P2P sharing crisis in the music industry, as iTunes is one of the main distributers of mp3 files in the world. Another catch of these terms is that although you have the “option” to decline them, it really isn’t much of an option. As the saying goes, it is either their way or the highway. This is a good example of push marketing, which William Patry says is “top-down and hierarchical” (Patry 5). If one doesn’t want to use these terms of service, they can simply take their business elsewhere. There is no negotiating, only a yes or no answer, which I think leads into the common action of scrolling through and clicking accept. People just want the application, and in reality, don’t really care about the fine print. South Park satirizes this in a great way, having all of the characters except Kyle be in agreement with the idea of, “how can you agree to something if you don’t know what it says?” (Parker 2011).  If these companies do want people to start reading these terms, their needs to be some sort of say from the consumer. Although I don’t think a total “pull market” will ever exist, some middle ground between the push and pull needs to be found.

“iTunes Store-Terms and Conditions” Apple. 23 May 2012. Web. 9 September 2012.                                                                                                                 <http://www.apple.com/legal/itunes/us/terms.html&gt;

Patry, William F. Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.

Parker, Trey. “The Human CentiPad” South Park. 27 April 2011. Television.                         <http://movies.netflix.com/WiPlayer?movieid=70224252&trkid=8379884&pt_request_id=5d547d42-44f2-4131-a998-949c877cc88e-1401181&pt_rank=0&pt_row=0&pt_location=WATCHNOW#MovieId=70136107&EpisodeMovieId=70224251&gt;