Week 4: The Politics of Copyright and Remix

Above, the logo for the ‘Kopimi‘ licence ( pronounced ‘copy me’) – which states that ‘the copyright holder not only releases the work, but specifically requests that this work be used and copied for any purpose, including unlimited commercial use and redistribution’.


How do media professionals deal with copyright within social media? This week we look at some of the clashes between observing copyright and sharing and remixing content.

The official RMIT page on copyright: http://rmit.edu.au/copyright ( Of special relevance to this course, the ‘Using Artistic works on websites‘ PDF from this page of documents).

Related, the RMIT page on Plagiarism is worth being aware of too.

Australia Copyright Council
APRA ( For Composers, Authors and Publishers of Music )
Association for Progressive Communications APC.AU

See also, the copyright section within the QUT M/Cyclopedia of New Media ( a site  with a useful breakdown of key issues within new media).

News: The Copyright Cops‘ by Ben Eltham documents some of the conflict between copyright collecting agencies and the general public. ( Esp. of note, the comments section, and mentions of creative commons clashes with APRA )

Creative Commons

Intellectual property and copyright are key issues being wrestled with in today’s online culture. Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law, copyright specialist and author of several copyright related books, argues we need a ‘read/write’ not a ‘read only’ culture. He also has a large range of related articles, columns and free-to-download books on the topic. Some of these include:

Code and other Laws of Cyberspace – who controls the architecture of cyberspace?
Free Culture – the public domain of ideas, technology and the law.
Remix – Can commercial entities leverage value from sharing economies, a future benefitting both commerce and community?

With all of the above motivations in mind, Lessig helped co-found Creative Commons as a legally binding and alternate copyright system which facilitates easier re-use of media in various ways.

Lawrence Lessig ( 19 minute video talk / from ted.com )

video – ‘Wanna work together?’
video – ‘A shared culture
video – ‘Get creative

Some Creative Commons Audio Resources:

The Freesound Project – tens of thousands of audio files for soundscapes. (Join for free, to download files).
CC Mixter – Creative Commons music – instrumentals, accapellas, remixes etc.
Archive.org – over 100,000 digital audio files for use.
Netlabels – “This collection hosts complete, freely downloadable/streamable, often Creative Commons-licensed catalogs of ‘virtual record labels’.”

TASK: Look at the history of creative commons and and familiarise yourself with the varying licences. Decide on which creative commons licence you will choose for your sound and video project, and make a note of what requirements this licence has.


Assorted remix related links for discussion :

Some Assembly Required ( this post of theirs links to a lengthy sonic collage by DJ Food, Raiding the 20th Century, tracing a history of audio collage artists within it ).

Copyright and music: a history told in MP3’s. See also: Steal this filmnegativland, open source films ( a small list, but note the criteria ) and more illegal art.

“Intellectual Property is the oil of the 21st century” – a quote by Mark Getty, chairman of Getty Images, used within the film, and in turn used as the name for a conference on intellectual property.

The film’s repeated claim that the fight for control of Intellectual Property rights is in fact a war, is found elsewhere in many places.

RIP: A Remix Manifesto 2.0 ( with calls for participation in their sequel )RiP: A remix manifesto is an open source documentary about copyright and remix culture. Created over a period of six years, the film features the collaborative remix work of hundreds of people who have contributed to this website, helping to create the world’s first open source documentary.

The Magnatune record label has an interesting business model and ethos.

Logorama animation.

Grey Tuesday / Jaydiohead / Radiodread – Easy Star All Stars / Skeet Spirit – a crunk tribute to radiohead /  Amanda Palmer Performs The Popular Hits Of Radiohead On Her Magical Ukulele ( worth browsing the extent of music options she makes available )/ rodeohead / Girl Talk / the concept album mash-ups of DJ BC etc etc.

– update profile : add image, text, link to own blog
– join 3 groups, add meaningful comment to forum post for at least one of them
– choose a relevant Creative Commons licence
– find CC images, sounds and videos relevant for using in your assignment, and make note of these.


One Response to “Week 4: The Politics of Copyright and Remix”

  1. Larry Says:

    The reasoning behind not allowing copyright protection to an
    idea was because it it would have a negative impact on the
    freeflow of ideas. What the digial age has brought us is the
    creation of an entity the promotes the freeflow of ideas to the
    extent that it rivals if not supercedes the speed at which ideas
    can be shared. For this very reason copyright of digital
    expression should now viewed as impeding the free flow ideas and
    should either be done away with or changed so as not to allow
    this to continue since it’s impact will be the same as if the framers had allowed ideas full protection.

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