THOUGHTS ON REMIX CULTURE, COPYRIGHT, AND CREATIVITY

By Melanie Picard

Opportunities and challenges for media producers in an open digital world. 

Wikipedia—itself a remix—defines remix culture as “a society that allows and encourages derivative works by combining or editing existing materials to produce a new product.”

From Bob Dylan’s songs to Henry Ford’s theories to Steve Jobs’ revolutionary iPod, “Everything is a remix,” claims Kirby Ferguson, author of a four-part web documentary on creative culture, in his popular TED talk. Is he right?

We certainly are in the midst of an era in which media content becomes technically accessible to everyone and thus open for remix. Openness is a key word in this epoch, but what opportunities and challenges does it generate for media producers in terms of creativity and monetization?

I explored the prospects for media content and media producers with San Francisco based stakeholders—Elliot Harmon from Creative Commons and Joe Hanson, science video producer for PBS Digital Studios.

Creating a gray zone

Elliot Harmon is the communications manager at Creative Commons. He reminds us how Creative Commons’ licenses lead the way in this new legal world between public domain and all rights reserved.

Embracing the remix

Joe Hanson produces science videos called It’s Okay To Be Smart for PBS Digital Studios and is a summer fellow at WIRED. He shares insights about how important open media is for him to produce his show. He truly embraces the remix.

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