Monday, May 18, 2009

Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend - A new video from the AU's Center for Social Media

Dear SASFED Affiliate,

You may recall the work of the American University with the Documentary Filmmakers Association of South Africa and the Black Filmmakers Network of a few months back. This is an ongoing project the collective teams are forging ahead on towards a "Code of Best Practices" document for our industry in terms of Intellectual Property Usage.

You may also be aware of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Online Video (part of the collection of such Codes at last summer. They have now put together a video about the Code. Google provided funds to their partner, Tony Falzone's Fair Use Project at Stanford Law School and the Center for Social Media provided the creative and professional package and made the film. It's up on YouTube and a variety of other sites. Hope it's useful and if it finds itself in some other news to your networks - we'd really appreciate it.

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, are launching 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, a first of its kind document—coordinated by AU professors Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi—outlining what constitutes fair use in online video. The code was released July 2008.

“This video lets people know about the code, an essential creative tool, in the natural language of online video. The code protects this emerging zone from censorship and self-censorship,” said Aufderheide, director of the Center for Social Media and a professor in AU’s School of Communication. “Creators, online video providers, and copyright holders will be able to know when copying is stealing and when it’s legal.”

Like the code, the video identifies six kinds of unlicensed uses of copyrighted material that may be considered fair, under certain limitations. They are:

• Commenting or critiquing of copyrighted material

• Use for illustration or example

• Incidental or accidental capture of copyrighted material

• Memorializing or rescuing of an experience or event

• Use to launch a discussion

• Recombining to make a new work, such as a mashup or a remix, whose elements depend on relationships between existing works

For instance, a blogger’s critique of mainstream news is commentary. The fat cat sitting on the couch watching television is an example of incidental capture of copyrighted material. Many variations on the popular online video “Dramatic Chipmunk” may be considered fair use because they recombine existing work to create new meaning. “The fair use doctrine is every bit as relevant in the digital domain as it has been for almost two centuries in the print environment,” said Jaszi, founder of the Program for Information Justice and Intellectual Property and a professor of law in AU’s Washington College of Law. “Here we see again the strong connection between the fair use principle in copyright and the guarantee of freedom of speech in the Constitution.”

Remix Culture: Fair Use Is Your Friend is a collaborative project of the Center for Social Media—a center of AU’s School of Communication—and the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property—a program of AU’s Washington College of Law—along with Stanford Law School’s Fair Use Project. It was funded by Google.