In today’s society, the internet has provided people with a platform to showcase their work across the world. Anything we put on the internet is out there for the world to see and it has therefore become increasingly important to protect ourselves so that we get the credit we deserve. Millions of people upload files to the internet every day, from pictures to videos, as well as music and online resources. Due to this, remix culture has become a popular phenomenon, with people across the world developing and changing other people’s work to create new and innovative ideas.
Remixing is defined as “the act of rearranging, combing, editorializing, and adding originals to create something entirely new” (Jessell, 2013). So in other words, it means taking someone else’s work and transforming it with your own input and combination with your ideas. Making your content available online for everyone to access and put their own stamp on will come advantages and disadvantages, some of which will be discussed in this blog.
“My biggest inspirations were the ’60s, the ’70s, Brigitte Bardot, Andy Warhol, Twiggy and Diana Ross. I’ve always been fascinated by the way contemporary art uses different elements and references to produce something unique.” — Beyoncé, on her video for “Countdown” (TED Blog)
An advantage of the remixing content culture is that people’s work is widely available for everyone across the world. When we post something online we become a part of a community where we are happy to share our work with other people. Because of this, other people’s work can have the ability to inspire and encourage or enhance our creativities. YouTube is one of the biggest platforms for remixing. It contains thousands of videos uploaded by people who have created their own versions of content. Music artists in the charts have used other artists to inspire a track of their own by changing a classic song into their own style of music. For example, R&B artist, Jeremih released a song this year that uses lyrics from Snap!’s 1992 single ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’. Artists like this can build upon a person’s work and bring it into the modern age. Kirby Ferguson believes in this idea and recently did a talk at TED where he discussed how remix culture fuels creativity and invention (video below). He firmly believes that “everything is a remix” and this is a “better way of to conceive creativity” (Popova, n.d.).
YouTube Video – Kirby Fergusion: Embracing the Remix
“A lot of artists are used to their music being reused online and have come to accept and embrace it. You have a generation who go on YouTube and remake and remix music online all the time. They remake and upload songs and videos, and then other people remake the remakes; it just keeps going.” — Girl Talk (TED Blog)
However there are some disadvantages to remix culture and having content freely available online. Although it is thought that other peoples work can inspire us with our own ideas, this can present some problems for copyright laws. Because content is so readily available, it can be very easy to breach copyright with many people using others’ work and passing it off as their own without crediting the original sources. This is one issue with remixing content and can have some serious legal effects if the credit isn’t given. Pop Star, Robin Thicke recently faced legal action from the family of Marvin Gaye for infringing the copyright of one Gaye’s compositions. His song ‘Blurred Lines’ was thought to sound very similar to the classic ‘Got to Give it Up’ by Marvin Gaye – although this is disputed (decide for yourself by clicking here). This is a prime example of how easy it is to simply take someone else’s work and not give the credit. In the case of Robin Thicke, his song went worldwide and as a result he made millions from the success, this however did raise some ethical and moral questions of whether he should actually get the credit for this song as it sounds so similar to another. Therefore legal action was taken as permission from the original artist wasn’t gained. I myself have been guilty of taking someone else’s work like a picture and using it for my own purposes without acknowledging where it came from. It is very easy to do and in some cases, unintentional, but depending on the circumstances, the consequences can be serious.
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination … Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery — celebrate it if you feel like it.” – Jim Jarmusch (TED Blog)
To conclude, remixing is something that is becoming second nature to most internet users. Whether it is music artists remixing a song or us simply revamping a picture, this culture is very much present within our digital age. People have access to millions of content that they can use to make something new of their own. We use other people’s creations as inspiration for us and by doing so can create a community that shares and collaborates together. However, freely sharing our content has the disadvantage of sometimes not getting the credit we deserve. Copyright laws are in place to protect artists from other people wrongfully using their work. It is there to ensure a certain level of ethics is maintained and that people can share their work knowing it is protected. It is important to acknowledge the original artist so that credit can be given where it’s due – after all would you want someone else stealing your work?
Jacobs, E. (2012). 14 brilliant quotes on remixing. Retrieved from: http://blog.ted.com/2012/08/10/14-brilliant-quotes-on-remixing/
Jessell, M. (2013). Remix Culture: Rethinking what we call original content. Retrieved from http://marketingland.com/remix-culture-rethinking-what-we-call-original-content-41791
Popova, M. (n.d.). How Remix Culture Fuels Creativity & Invention: Kirby Ferguson at TED. Retrieved from: http://www.brainpickings.org/2012/08/14/kirby-ferguson-ted/