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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Fair Use: Recut Reframe Recycle

The Center for Social Media at American University has just released a report on Fair Use and online video. It is a great overview of the types of transformative uses of copyrighted material currently in use.

The report, entitled "Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video," focuses on a wide variety of practices including satire, parody, negative and positive commentary, discussion-triggers, illustration, diaries, archiving and of course, pastiche or collage (remixes and mashups).

The report, along with other press on the Social Media Website make the argument that these practices may be protected by Fair Use, and that the court has favored works that are transformative in nature when balancing the fair use factors.

Peter Jaszi, one of the authors of the report, has two criteria for transformative work:
1. that it changes the original work in a substantial way and
2. that the change adds value to the society
(paraphrased from Peters interview on Chronicle.com)

The report also recognizes that Fair Use is difficult to define and that in the arena of online video there are no current best practices to follow. The authors would like to remedy this with three steps:

1. Talk about Fair Use with creators and corporate stake holders on their blog
2. Conduct a survey of social scientific and participant-observation research of online user practices, as well as further interview-based research with creators.
3. develop best practices recommendations through a body of "lawyers, legal scholars, and scholars in communications, sociology... This 'blue ribbon' group’s recommendations could then help to shape regulatory practices, both private and public, for a participatory media era."

This sounds good at first glance until you realize that the "Blue Ribbon" group is all academics and no creators. If you want readable standard the high level policy group must include creators. Take an editor from Boing Boing or a few non academic podcasters and add them to the mix to make sure the legal academic solutions are actually usable. Overall the report is a great starting point I just believe that to be effective creators need to be involved at all levels of the conversation. The biggest current problem for Fair Use is it is confusing at best any new guide lines need to be easy to use to use or they will only create more litigation.

On a final note my favorite part of the report was going through and looking up some of the videos. Here are my two favorite:

10 Things I Hate About Commandments


The project website includes a list of over 40 videos including classics like Evolution of Dance and Prisoners Dance to Thriller. I recommend checking them out and maybe even backing them up with Miro in case they receive DMCA takedowns.

PDF of Recut, Reframe, Recycle

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Found your post on the American Univ. site which led me to you, and must concur unequivocally that they also need to add UGC pros into the 'blue ribbon' media mix...BlipTV, BoingBoing, pioneer UGC vloggers like Ryanne Hodson etc.

Anyway, glad to have found you.

As I mentioned on the AU blog, I wrote about the fair use mashups here on Shaping Youth, http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=949 but also added another one you might like called "Kids Digital Creations, Who Owns the Content" posted on Shaping Youth with guest editorial from Sara Grimes here:

do keep in touch...important work...

By Blogger Shaping Youth, at 4:25 PM  

p.s. What do you think about BigThink? (YouTube's new launch) Will it catch on with the collegiate crew?
Best, Amy

By Blogger Shaping Youth, at 4:55 PM  

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