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Remix Culture: Its Own Art Form or the Death of Creativity?

Remix Culture has taken over the social sphere and dominated the artistic world for some time now; so much so, that it has been considered it’s own art form.

But what does this “remixing” mean for our culture? The answer is in the perspective. Is remixing good? Is it bad? Does it not matter? Should remixing truly be considered its own art form?

HERE LIES ORIGINALITIES HOPES AND DREAMS

Many feel that remix culture is a detriment to the originality and creativity of artists today. Societally, art has always been a form of individuality, a way for people to show the world something about themselves or something they love in a fresh, interesting, unique way. Unique is the key word seeing as imitation in art used to be completely frowned upon. But because remixing has become so common, virtually anyone can become an artist with the right knowledge.

In their essay titled “The Remixing Dilemma: The Trade-off Between Generativity and Originality,” authors Benjamin Mako Hill and Andrés Monroy-Hernández discuss the implications of remix culture, and what is at stake.

It is argued that the creation of the Internet has made remixing so readily accessible and learnable, increasing the number of people, talented or not, who call themselves “artists.”

“Decreased originality” is the unfortunate consequence of this increase in technological availability, according to this essay, along with the increase in overall content online.

But some people do not feel that remixing is a problem or a lack of originality. In fact, many think the complete opposite.

FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT TO REMIX

Others think that remixing is a completely valid form of art. As Vanilla Ice said in an interview, his song may sound the same as Queen and Bowie’s Under Pressure, but since the baseline is different, the song is too, no matter how similar they sound to one another.

Nowadays, imitation in art is not only alright, but it is encouraged, and using someone else’s sound, idea, etc. is considered flattery.

Furthermore, some argue that there is no such thing as true originality, and that everything is in some way or another taken from something else that always exists. Because of this, remixing is considered its own art form, and those who choose to “remix” are just as reputable as those who claim to create entirely “originally” work.

Remixing exists in many different spheres of life, from music, to television, to Internet memes, etc., and whether or not it is a valid form of art has become a major controversy since its creation. 

MUSIC

http://everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/

As shown in this video, remixing is not a new thing. It began with music in the 1960’s and has spread to almost all other forms of media, but music seems to be where it first appeared, and where it continues to be most prominent.

Remixing has become even more acceptable with the more recent popularity of EDM, or Electronic Dance Music. It is bending the boundaries of property laws and redefining what it means to be a musical artist. This article, explaining exactly how EDM culture has changed the definition of an artist and how these so-called artists “depend on the use of original creative works by other artists as a base-point for their own music.”

The argument follows that these artists additions and changes to the original content, makes their work fresh, original, and surprisingly free of infringement liability. The reason this essentially stolen content is not legally considered stolen is the concept of fair use, which has sparked much controversy with the increased number of self-proclaimed “artists” that have surfaced since EDM’s take off.

Although the popularity of electronic music appears to be a positive for many aspiring artists and producers, it is creating some problems for record labels regarding the legality of remixing. Should artists be allowed to remix other’s music and mark it as their own? And furthermore, should record labels signing DJ’s be liable for infringement of the music they are producing?

MEMES

Memes have become one of the funnier parts of remix culture, allowing anyone with basic photoshop knowledge to display their sense of humor on the Internet for everyone to see. Unfortunately, some people are not nearly as funny as they think they are.

Nonetheless, once one person posts a meme with a funny picture, it becomes fair game for anyone who believes they are funny enough to come up with something better. Meme’s have become increasingly popular on blogging sites such as tumblr, where they are used in response to everything from hate mail to disappointing TV show finales.

MOVIES AND TV

Remix culture has also extended as far as movies and television as well. Screw fresh and original ideas, the second an idea becomes a social craze, producers, writers, and directors jump as the opportunity to make more money.

The result? Well, the latest craze has given way to a mass of crazy teenagers with fangs and uber pale skin. After the Twilight Saga started making headlines, vampires became the topic of every movie, book, tv, show, blog, you name it. And not only that, vampire romance (vom) became the new Romeo and Juliet.

Twilight → Vampire Diaries → Vampire Academy → Real Vampires?????

LEGAL REMIXING

When it comes to posting things on the internet, it is pretty much understood that anything not watermarked or tagged in some way by its creator is fair game to use. People’s images get reposted and “remixed” all the time without any legal repercussions, as seen in the use of memes and other forms of comical visual representations.

But when it comes to music it is harder to determine what is allowed to be used for remix purposes and what is not, since many artists do not usually want their original work used by others if they seek to make no profit from it. That is why Creative Commons Licensing, a public copyright licensing system, was created. A CC license allows an artist to give rights to his or her creations that would otherwise be copyrighted, to others for use in re-working, building upon, and re-creating their own work.

Depending on the artists preferences, CC licenses vary and allow for the distribution of otherwise copyrighted work, worldwide, for no charge.

Different types of CC Licenses include:

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 1.53.52 PM

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