‘Remix culture is a society that allows and encourages derivative works by combining or editing existing materials to produce a new product. A remix culture would be, by default, permissive of efforts to improve upon, change, integrate, or otherwise remix the work of copyright holders.’ – Wikipedia.
As content creators we continuously find ourselves inspired by the works of the others. Many of cultural and lifestyle arenas – music, fashion, design, art, web applications, user created media, food – are governed by remixes, fusions, collages, or mash-ups. This remix culture allows artists to further expand upon past ideas and make it their own. In the 2009 film, ‘RiP: A Remix Manifesto‘ presents the world of remixing and the issues it has with copyright laws. Brett Gaylor encourages more people to create their own remixes from this movie, using media available from the Open Source Cinema website, or other websites like YouTube, Flickr, Hulu, or MySpace. The film presents two sides of the copyright argument – CopyLEFT and CopyRIGHT. CopyLEFT, promoting the free flow and growth of creativity and ideas. The introduction to Creative Commons movement allows creators to decide how much of their information can be made public, and gives them an opportunity to make it more available than what the copyright legislation outlines. It’s an alternative to the “All Right Reserved” phrase. You can make it “Some Rights Reserved.
The question becomes what is original, and does it even matter? Through the series, ‘Everything is a Remix‘ it presents the argument that nothing is original. The documentary compares the similarities that exist in film and music. Familiar visuals and audio are borrowed and/or rearrange slightly. Through websites like SoundCloud and Tumblr, it allows for content creators to implement copyLEFT ideals. Through allowing this access, artists are able to recreate/borrow elements from other artists. Through borrowing elements from fellow artists, the importance of appropriation comes into play. For example, the internet is filled with numerous appropriations of Leonardo da Vinci’s, Mona Lisa. One of the most famous appropriations of the Mona Lisa is L.H.O.O.Q. by Marcel Duchamp. First conceived in 1919, the work is one of what Duchamp referred to as readymades, or more specifically an assisted ready-made. Readymade involves taking mundane, often utilitarian objects not generally considered to be art and transforming them, by adding to them, changing them.
In a world of infinite options, there is incredible value in thoughtfully assembling and editorializing the work product of others in order to contextualize it for our audiences. Through the advancements in technology the way content is created has changed. By the capabilities our mobile phones can provide content creators, it allows for an ‘on the go’ accessibility rather than in a stationed environment. Media convergence is more than simply a technological shift. Convergence alters the relationship between existing technologies, industries, markets, genres, and audiences. This influences the way viewers consume their content. They are able to have easy access to software that assist with transforming pieces. For example, the introduction to Adobe’s Photoshop and After Effects all have influenced remix culture. Through easy access to these technologies and software, anybody can become a content creator.