• Links Roundup for May 5, 2010

    By .fcoppa on Wednesday, 5 May 2010 - 4:06am
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    Here's a roundup of stories, videos, and articles that might be of interest to fans!

    * A Tangle of Thorns is a literary mashup of Nabokov's "Lolita" and Lessig's "Future of Ideas" by the suspiciously-named "Otto Lambert". (Lolita's already been remixed before: Pia Pera wrote "Lo's Diary" retelling the story from Lolita's point of view.)

    * The EFF has provided a list of its favorite books in such categories as Copyright, Trademark and Innovation, Privacy, Technology, and International Internet Culture.

    * In The End of History (NY Times), Marc Aronson argues that "In order for electronic books to live up to their billing, the system in which nonfiction writers get permission to use copyrighted material in new work has to be fixed."

    * When Copyright Goes Bad is a film about how copyright is affecting consumers, and features some key players in the debate, including Fred Von Lohmann of the EFF, Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group, and Hank Shocklee - Co-founder of Public Enemy.

    * ...and hey, they DID get a "Hitler Reacts to the Hitler parodies being removed from YouTube!" video up after all!

    Hitler reacts to the Hitler parodies being removed from YouTube - Plankhead (

  • YouTube's Content Filters Take Action Against Hitler (And Why That's A Bad Thing)

    By .fcoppa on Tuesday, 20 April 2010 - 3:35pm
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    TechCrunch is reporting that YouTube's content filters have stopped allowing uploads of new iterations of the Hitler meme - you know, the hundreds of videos where Hitler rants about...Windows Vista, or Sarah Palin, or how much the Phantom Menace sucked. (Those videos.) The article, Hitler Is Very Upset That Constantin Film Is Taking Down Hitler Parodies reports that newer version of the meme have been replaced with, "This video contains content from Constantin Film, who has blocked it on copyright grounds," despite the obvious claims to fair use (transformation! parody! politics! speech! endless back-and-forth creativity and engagement); they also think it is likely that the filtering system will slowly crawl its way through and delete all the others.

    YouTube's filter won't even allow its users to make the obvious response: Hitler Reacts to YouTube Blocking "Hitler Reacts" Video Parodies. There's something satisfyingly, if depressingly, ironic here, just the way there was when amazon deleted purchased copies of Orwell's 1984 off the Kindle.

  • Links Roundup

    By .fcoppa on Monday, 15 February 2010 - 5:08am
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    * Fanlore has hit 10,000 articles!!! We're not 100 percent sure, but we think the 10,000th article was on fan Virginia Lee Smith. For Valentine's Day, consider adding someone or something you love to Fanlore!

    * Author, 17, Says It's 'Mixing,' Not Plagiarism: A young German novelist has published a bestselling novel called Axolotl Roadkill which cites--or as the author says, remixes--chunks of various other published works without attribution. While some have called this plagiarism, others see the quotations as thematic, and the accusations have not stopped the book from being nominated for a major prize.

    * NPR did a story about World's Fair Use Day called When Fair Use Isn't Fair: the story features interviews with Jonathan McIntosh, Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn, and others.

    * Last but not least, friend of the OTW Nina Paley, the animator who made Sita Sings The Blues, has been making "minute memes" for Her latest work is called All Creative Work Is Derivative; that link will take you to a description of her process in making this video.

  • Events of interest

    By .fcoppa on Tuesday, 2 February 2010 - 6:00am
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    A few events that might be of interest to readers of this blog:

    * Göttingen, Germany. REMAKE │REMODEL: New Perspectives on Remakes, Film Adaptations, and Fan Productions: is an interdisciplinary conference taking place June 30 - July 2, 2010. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2010; more information can be found on the linked call for papers.

    * Boston, MA (and elsewhere!) On February 25, 2010, Lawrence Lessig will deliver a talk on fair use and politics in online video at the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School. The Open Video Alliance is webcasting the talk at, or you can attend local screenings and events in many cities (check online for more details.)

    * Los Angeles, CA, On March 25, 2010, Jonathan McIntosh, Julie Levin Russo (Stanford) and Alexis Lothian (USC) will curate an exhibition called "Subverting Gender and Sexuality with Remix Video" at California State University, Northridge that will feature PRVs (political remix videos) as well as vids. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

  • Public Knowledge Video Series: "We Are Creators, Too" (+Bonus Geek Feminism Interview)

    By .fcoppa on Thursday, 1 October 2009 - 8:10pm
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    Public Knowledge, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest group working to defend citizens' rights in the digital culture, has just done a four part "TV" series called, "We Are Creators, Too."

    Part One features Nina Paley, the brilliant independent filmmaker and animator who made Sita Sings The Blues, whose release was tied up over music rights: while the actual recordings she used (from 1927) were in the public domain, the "sync licenses" were exorbitant.

    Parts Two and Three feature Elisa Kreisinger and Jonathan McIntosh of Political Remix Video; Elisa's political remixes, including "Queer Housewives of New York City (Real Housewives Remix)", can be found at; Jonathan's political remixes, including, "So You Think You Can Be President?" and the recent "Buffy vs. Edward" can be found at

    Part Four features OTW board member Francesca Coppa talking about vidding and vid culture, as well as the work of the OTW. (Francesca was also recently interviewed over at Geek Feminism, where she talks about the Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, and where the OTW is vis a vis a vidding archive.)

  • OTW Responds to Questions from the Copyright Office Regarding Proposed DMCA Exemptions for Remix Artists/Vidders

    By .fcoppa on Friday, 18 September 2009 - 11:47pm
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    The Copyright Office requested further information from the OTW and other groups that testified during the DMCA Anticircumvention Hearings on May 6-8. These hearings were designed to entertain testimony in favor of and against DMCA exemptions for media educators (including K-12 teachers), documentary filmmakers, vidders, and other noncommercial remix artists.

    For those who are interested, our answers are linked here.

    The first is a joint answer, collaboratively written, submitted, and signed by the OTW, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a number of library associations (ALA, AALA, ARL, ACRL), film and media studies professors, and documentary filmmakers and their organizations. (Joint Supporters Response To Supplemental Questions On Proposed DVD-Related DMCA Exemptions (PDF).)

    The second is a separate response co-written specifically by the OTW and the EFF to address the particular needs of vidders and other remix artists. (OTW & EFF Response To Supplemental Questions, Specific To Noncommercial Video Remix Creators (PDF).)

  • Notes from the Open Video Conference, Day Two

    By .fcoppa on Wednesday, 24 June 2009 - 7:23pm
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    Summary of a couple of panels on Day 2:

    Automated DMCA Takedowns and Web Video: Scott Smitelli, a professional sound designer and editor, is the fellow who wrote Fun with YouTube's Audio Content ID System, in which he tried to test out the limits of YouTube's fingerprinting system for audio. Conclusions: the software is mainly interested in the first 30 seconds of a song, and can be thwarted by pitch or time alterations of over 6% (which may be unhelpful to the musically sensitive among us, but there you go.) Kevin Driscoll and others from YouTomb discussed the January Massacre: the massive increase of takedowns in December, 2008 and January, 2009. On a graph, it looks like takedowns have dropped off since then, but that may be deceptive: in fact, it seems like things are being detected so fast (within ten minutes) that YouTomb can't keep track of them, or to put it another way: takedowns are low because stuff's never getting UP in the first place. A suggestion: that it would be great if every takedown left a webpage with a card saying, "This has been taken down," because in many cases, people are not aware of what they can't have. Oliver Day, also from YouTomb, told a chilling story: the original filmmaker who shot the clouds that were used in the Anonymous anti-Scientology ads had his original footage taken down--not in deference to those ads, but in deference to a Huffington Post anti-Giuliani parody of those ads. As Day put it, "The power is with the powerful": even though the original filmmaker's footage was there first, it was assumed that he was infringing the Huffington Post, and not the other way around.

    Who Owns Popular Culture? Remix and Fair Use in the Age of Corporate Mass Media: This was the panel hosted by Jonathan McIntosh and featuring animator Nina Paley (of Sita Sings The Blues, Neil Sieling from the Center for Social Media, political remixer Elisa Kreisigner, Karl Fogel from, and OTW Board Member Francesca Coppa. The panel largely discussed what the policing of online video and the over-enforcement of copyright means for artists, remixers, and those interested in free speech. Nina Paley answered the question literally, by providing a list of who owns popular culture--or in her case, literally, the songs, mostly from 1927-28, that she used in Sita Sings The Blues, while Elisa Kreisinger evoked many the important visual artists, from Duchamp to Koons to Kruger to Lichtenstein to Warhol, for whom remixing and recontextualizing pop culture was a key artistic move. (She also showed her remixes of the Queer Housewives of New York City.)

  • Attention Vidders and Other Fannish Remix Artists

    By .fcoppa on Monday, 18 May 2009 - 5:20pm
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    American University’s Center for Social Media and AU's Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, in collaboration with Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project, have launched a new video explaining how online video creators can make remixes, mashups, and other common online video genres with the knowledge that they are staying within copyright law.

    The video, titled Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend, explains the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video (which was worked on by OTW's very own Rebecca Tushnet). Like the code, the video identifies various kinds of unlicensed uses of copyrighted material that may be considered fair, under certain limitations. Of particular interest to vidders and fannish remix artists might be: "commenting or critiquing of copyrighted material", "use for illustration or example", "use to launch a discussion", and "recombining to make a new work, such as a mashup or a remix, whose elements depend on relationships between existing works."

  • OTW Represents Vidders And Other Remix Artists at DMCA Anticircumvention Hearings

    By .fcoppa on Saturday, 9 May 2009 - 11:09pm
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    OTW board members Rebecca Tushnet (chair of Legal) and Francesca Coppa (chair of Communications and Vidding History) and TWC review editor Tisha Turk went down to Washington DC on May 7, 2009 to testify at the DMCA Hearings on Noncommercial Remix. Rule 1201 of Copyright Law prevents the circumvention of copyright protection systems (e.g. makes it illegal to rip DVDs or to hack your cellphone) but also requires the copyright office to hold hearings every three years to find out of this prohibition is adversely affecting anyone. In 2006, the copyright office granted an exemption to film studies professors, because the case was made that these professors need to rip DVDs to make high quality clip compilations to teach their classes. This year, there were a number of new proposed exemptions, including: educators beyond film studies professors (including K-12 teachers), documentary filmmakers, and vidders and other noncommercial remix artists.

    The OTW previously submitted a reply comment in support of the EFF's proposed exemption for vidders and other remix artists. Tushnet, Coppa, and Turk went down to support this comment with live testimony. As you might have seen across the internet, the other side--MPAA, studios, the people who make encryption technology, etc--suggested that instead of ripping, professors, remixers, documentary filmmakers and others make clips by filming a flat screen with a camcorder.

    For more information:

    * Audio files/podcasts of the hearings are available at the U.S. Copyright Office's website and mirrored by the EFF on iDisk. (Our statements are part 2, the Q&A is part 3.)

    * Rebecca Tushnet liveblogged the hearings: read the part about noncommercial remix.

    * Wendy Selzer of posted about the hearings and also livetweeted them.

    * Patricia Aufderheide of the Center for Social Media at American University also blogged the hearings.

    * Fred von Lohmann of the EFF has made a YouTube video summarizing the issues and focusing on the OTW and Rebecca Tushnet ("She's Awesome"). He also blogged his legal analysis.

    * Rashmi Rangnath weighs in at

  • Remix Culture event in NYC

    By .fcoppa on Thursday, 19 February 2009 - 2:44am
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    Fans and others interested in remix culture might want to check out this event: Lawrence Lessig + Shepard Fairey + Steven Johnson speaking at the New York Public library on Thursday, February 26, 2009. Tickets will probably sell out fast, as we're not the only ones who love these guys.

    We do however note with some disappointment, in the direction of WIRED and the NYPL, that--as great as these guys are, they're all guys. In fact, they're all white guys. Considering the idea here is that we're going to be "guided" through "emerging remix culture", and considering how much of remix culture came out of--not only fandom, but hip hop and sampling--it's problematic that there are no women or people of color on the program.


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