In the film The Pleasures of Uninhibited Excess, Mark Pauline discusses his form of artwork in which machines are built for the purpose of instilling fear in people. The machines are displayed in a show of epic proportions: destructive, noisy, and dangerous. Pauline’s show of robotics puts people inside of the show, as he has the audience watch from platforms that lower down and lunge forward. In doing so, the perspective of the audience changes and therefore their experience changes. This notion of transforming the perspective relates to the transformative nature of remix work. Remix is defined by its shift in meanings. Just as clips from a television show can be transformed to fit the style of a movie trailer, this physical art of machinery is just as transformative. At first glance the work is very objective, but as the audience is forced to view it from different angles, the work becomes subjective by altering their experience.
HCP Productions created a parody of the television show Community by overlapping a multitude of short clips from the show with the audio from the The Dark Knight Rises movie trailer. The clips are put together and synced with the audio in such a way that the video resembles a dramatic movie trailer. By utilizing these clips to serve a purpose other than that of the show itself, I believe that making this remix video easily falls under fair use.
The editor of this specific video by HCP Productions, Michael Robert Yanoska, stated in the description beneath the video that “all rights [go] to Universal, Sony, and Warner Bros. for video and audio,” and even went as far as to make clear that the video is “fair use as a parody,” (Yanoska). By doing this, Yanoska is going to unnecessary measures to protect his video because, as a parody that is unrelated to the intent of the creators of Community or the producers of The Dark Knight Rises, his video was made under fair use. However, in doing so he is clearly addressing the topic of fair use and making it known that he is aware of the issue at hand.
The audio from the trailer of The Dark Knight Rises is used under fair use. Although he took the entire audio clip from the trailer, rather than small sections of it, his intent was not to “give viewers a substitute experience for the [trailer],” (Aufderheide and Jaszi 137). His intent was wholly transformative, as the parody trailer is showing Greendale Community College as the setting and the characters of Community as the subjects, rather than Gotham City and Batman. The plot itself is transformative as well, as the parody focuses on the Community plot line of Señor Chang taking control of the college.
The use of the the audio from the movie trailer in this parody is also targeting a completely different audience than that of the Batman movies. By making this video, no harm is being done to the reputation of The Dark Knight Rises or to Christopher Nolan, who as seen as the general creator of the films. The franchise does not lose money due to the creation of this parody video, and neither is the movie being seen in a negative light.
No video clip from Community that is featured in this video is more than three seconds long. By keeping the clips short, the viewer is not capable of determining the original context that each clip was in and therefore the clip loses its original meaning and is completely transformative. Since the “guide to fair use is in the concept of transformativeness,” (Aufderheide and Jaszi 136) Yanoska did not necessarily have to cite the sources for the clips in the description. As previously stated, he went above and beyond to prove that his video was made in fair use. Also, although within the parody of the movie trailer itself, Yanoska cites Dan Harmon as being the brain behind the clips being used. It is also a fact that Community not only references Batman on multiple occasions in their show and dedicates an entire episode to the character of Abed Nadir becoming the superhero, but that Dan Harmon, along with the other writers and producers of the comedy, are incredibly connected to their fan base and typically support work that is derivative of the show. Therefore, on top of the parody being fair legally, Yanoska could feel morally at ease with creating this video.
Yanoska, Michael Robert. “Community Season 4/The Dark Knight Rises – Trailer Parody.” Youtube. Youtube, 29 May 2012. Web. 28 Sept. 2012.
Aufderheide, Patricia, and Peter Jaszi. Reclaiming Fair Use. London: The University of Chicago Press, 2011. Print.