Remix Culture and the implications of Copyright Law

Remix’s are a huge part of the media today, in music, film and publishing. As proven by Kirby Ferguson, ‘Everything is a Remix’, remix culture is common practice in society. Pastiche and Parody’s show no sign of going out of fashion, with filmmakers like Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino championing them in their work. It begs the question, at what point does remixing an idea become copyright infringement?

Miłada Jędrysik makes a valid suggestion that we live in a time of change, which is often compared to the revolution caused by the spread of printing. The amount of cultural change currently occurring thanks to technological advances is overwhelming. This in turn has enabled copyright laws to ever more easily be infringed. We live in an era where with a few (frowned upon) clicks you can download and watch films that haven’t been released yet. Because media products are so easily accessible, they are used ever more often in other media products, with no thought of the original creator. In his film ‘RIP: A Remix Manifesto’, Brett Gaylor states that a media literate generation emerged from the birth of the internet, “able to download the worlds culture, and transform it into something different. And they called their new language ‘remix’”

With remixing playing such a crucial part of today’s society, the legalities of it must be questioned. In 2007, Lawrence Lessig said in a TED talk that laws should move with the times. When planes were invented, there were complaints that by flying over private land, they were trespassing and breaking the law. Similarly, remix’s are able to ‘trespass’ on copyrighted content, in a way that tries to evade the law. Lessig believes that the internet provides an amateur culture (one that produces content for the love, not for the money) a platform to create, and that laws should allow for that. In my opinion, that certainly seems like a fair and respectable way to uses copyrighted content. In the future, we can only hope that the laws still allow for amateur producers to create passion projects without fear of the law infringing on their creativity.

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