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Music/Video Mash Ups: Although flittering with Copyright’s shackles, do they promote/cause change or are they just l’art pour l’art?

Mashup culture continues to expand in our increasing digital age of Web 2.o.  These videos, music videos, or songs are becoming more popular because of how they can be easily distributed throughout the web.  What these newly recycled creations of taking the old and making something unique has the ability to empower individuals to not just consume media but to actively participate in entirely new and amazing ways depending on the technical know-how and how media-production savvy a person is.  There are so many tools available to cut, copy, splice, mash, blend, synergize, and recreate today.  What I’d like to try to uncover more of and unravel are a mix of the inherent copyright dangers that one faces, how one can circumvent these, and if one’s mashup makes more than just a statement.  In a wonderful online article from the NYTimes written by Michiko Kakutani, he references, artist and computer scientist Jaron Lanier, about Texts without Contexts.  He writes, “Lanier, 49, astutely points out in his new book, You Are Not a Gadget, of how online collectivism, social networking and popular software designs are changing the way people think and process information, a question of what becomes of originality and imagination in a world that prizes “metaness” and regards the mash-up as “more important than the sources who were mashed.”  Kakutani also mentioned in his article another Google phenomenon called – Google Wave – have you heard about it???

Here’s my next quasi-political mash-up using other mash-ups to get across my travelogue message of mashups political statements and if mashups in general can affect copyright changes with regards to some of the sites listed below.  Much respect and thanks for DJ Spooky.

How do we change culture?

“Who owns the music and the rest of our culture? We do — all of us — though not all of us know it yet. Reality cannot be copyrighted.” – David Shields in Reality Hunger

“Artists no longer work in the bub­ble of a record­ing stu­dio. The stu­dio is the net­work.” … “The 20th cen­tury was the era of mass pro­duc­tion. The 21st cen­tury is the era of mass cus­tomiza­tion,” -DJ Spooky

“audience is as antique a term as record, the one archaically passive, the other archaically physical. The record, not the remix, is the anomaly today. The remix is the very nature of the digital.” - William Gibson (2005) Wired.com

Fair Use & Copyright- The risks to recycling and reappropiating> mashup

Fair use is the right, in some circumstances, to quote copyrighted material without asking permission or paying for it. Fair use enables the creation of new culture, and keeps current copyright holders from being private censors.

Can we make more than just a statement through mash-up videos/music remixes?

- www.politicalremixvideo.com >> Political Remix Video (PRV) is a genre of transformative guerilla media production whereby creators critique power structures, deconstruct social myths and challenge dominate media messages through re-cutting and re-framing fragments of mainstream media and the popular culture.

- www.rebelliouspixels.com>> Hi my name is Jonathan McIntosh. I’m a video remix artist, a photographer, a new media teacher, a consultant and an activist. I’ve also worked on numerous media and social justice related projects in the United States and around the world. In my spare time I help co-edit the blog Political Remix Video and I’m a member of the Open Video Alliance. I also do some freelance work building and customizing WordPress websites– mostly for non-profit organizations.

- www.barelypolitical.com >> Barely Political is the leading political satire site on the web. Here’s some history: Barely Political launched in June 2007 with the debut video “I’ve Got a Crush on Obama” featuring Obama Girl. That quickly made us one of the most talked about and blogged about political satire sites online. Since launching, Barely Political videos have been seen over 150 million times worldwide, and featured on shows including Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show and The Colbert Report. President Barack Obama called Barely Political videos an “example of the fertile imagination of the Internet,” and he’s really important.

- http://opensourcecinema.org/ >> Open Source Cinema lets you create your own videos online, remix media that you have on your computer, as well as remix other people’s media from places like YouTube and Flickr. You can also connect with others by sending personal messages, commenting on remixes, or even joining projects that others have created.

To the class:

Also, if the class would be interested, we could maybe try to enter this competition and make our own media mashup: “Sunlight Labs Offering $5K for Best Government Data Mashups”

Reminiscing about The Future of Online TV & Videos

How will we watch TV/Videos in the future?

These past several weeks I have ventured into the bright and luminescent world of online television and videos.

Surely names like Hulu, Youtube, Netflix, and now its newest opponent FloTV are worthy of mentioning.  I’ve done a little more researching than watching – and nevertheless, it’s been a little difficult, to say the least, as our class was deprived of using anything “Google” related as an experiment starting out this journey for Week One by our professor (Mushon).  So using YouTube was out of the question for the first week.

Therefore, I harnessed my energy and decided to research the phenomenon called “Hulu” and the environment of online media such as television and videos across alternative platforms on the computers or hand-held mobile devices…

Week Two consisted of further delving into the unfamiliar terrain of Hulu and one of its biggest, baddest competitors – YouTube (the shackles have been lifted-hooray!).  I decided to examine the online video landscape by comparing and contrasting Hulu & YouTube as two juxtaposing forces competing in a battle for the title of online media champion.  Some of the biggest proponents that fueled the debate/fight between the two contenders where as such:

Is it time to throw away that television?

  • YouTube is available internationally whereas Hulu is (as of now) restricted to the US.
  • Hulu offers a selection of high-quality videos of television videos and trailers from backing companies such as NBC, Comcast, and ABC whereas YouTube has a ‘gagillion’ lower quality videos ranging from self-produced to illegal uploads.
  • Similarly, paid advertisements are common in Hulu at the start of each video and can also be found embedded in YouTube videos.
  • They are both free.  However, Hulu is considering a premium payment plan that’s almost similar to the model used by the NYTimes online which could affect its users.  Youtube has always been free.

Right now, there’s also a lot to FURTHER consider like the NBC & Comcast merger that’s underway which would affect consumers in a negative way; streaming Hulu from your desktop through something like your BluRay Player, Boxee, or streaming Youtube through AppleTV creates an entire new way of watching TV through your computer ; YouTube’s future possibility with teaming up with CBS and Hollywood to offer longer streaming videos/movies; and even the big question of >> how does one prefer to watch TV/Videos/Movies: mobile device, phone, computer, or television???

Youtube KO's Hulu in 4th Round.  Will there be a rematch?

I’ve tried to say current with all the amazing sights I’ve seen along the way and even the newer attractions/considerations like FloTV and the iPad.  Yet, these are things that have steered my journey off course and have lead me to peer down the horizon of digital media in new directions.

So I would like to close with some food for thought about two things that could have, or better said, already have had vital impacts on this terrain of digital media (TV, videos, and movies).  Let’s consider them for a moment>>

FloTV really exploded on the scene utilizing the Superbowl as its stage to announce that it has arrived and that its going to make a splash in the online fight for television.  I mean, talk about a revolution, it’s not like portable television devices are something new but FloTV has really made a statement… or has it?    According to Wired,

But it’s a difficult sell. U.S. consumers so far have failed to jump on the mobile TV idea, even though it’s been around for years. Just about 1 percent of mobile users in the U.S. watch mobile TV.”

You can either buy the handheld device and/or subscribe through Verizon or AT&T to watch it through supported phones.  It’s been compared to as the “Kindle for Television”.  Taken from Wired, “We are not trying to make a choice for the consumer, we are trying to give them choices,” says Alice Kim, senior vice president of strategy & corporate development for FloTV. What this means, is that you can take watching television with you anywhere, anytime.  For more information, check out this link with product information and videos.  What’s interesting is that this seems to further personalize and customize the culture of community and social watching of the television into your own independent function, I mean, unless you want to sit there and share your $250 TV and paid subscription with a “freeloading friend”… But hey, that’s up to you and whoever’s paying the bill :)

Lastly, I will briefly mention the recent development of Apple’  iPad.  Right now, the iPad’s biggest criticism is that it doesn’t support Adobe’s Flash support.  This is pertinent because sites like Hulu and a large majority of internet video runs off of Flash.  It would be ideal if Hulu would run on something like the iPad.  More so, Hulu is in the process of developing an alternative version of HTML5 supported videos to circumvent the already Flash supported videos.  The combination of the iPad and Hulu could help Hulu to continue to flourish in the online video environment.

Online media and especially “how” people watch television and videos continue to change .  I believe that online media is becoming more personalized and customized to meet the individual needs and desires of the consumer.  What also fuels this environment is the economical choice and circumvention to view these media for free or for a price.  Things such as Tivo or DVR (Digital Video Recording) seem like a waste of cash when one can merely access these shows online anytime or anywhere with something like Hulu or Youtube.  As of now, sites like Hulu* and Youtube are free, whereas FloTV and Netflix require a paid subscription.  Furthermore, this choice of free viewing does not take into account the illegal ways to bypass copyright by downloading and viewing videos through a Bittorrent or other ways.  This calls into question the entire paradigm and the power of the Internet – its empowering public sphere that helps the individual to negotiate the hegemonic struggle against the corporations, their politics, their economics, and their stifling copyright laws that they wield in order to control the markets of production and consumption.  This dilemma calls into question the very nature of online media:


-Are you willing to look for alternative measures and means to watching and consuming media e.g. , Hulu, AppleTV, Bittorrent, FloTV, etc?  How would you characterize the way in which you watch movies or TV?  Who do you think will dominate the battle for the online media market and how would you predict yourself adapting to the new ways of viewing media in the future?

How do you prefer to watch TV/Videos???