An integral part of New Media is the ability users have to create their own art, pictures, images, memes, videos, and mashups from material (usually owned by someone else) that is already on the Internet. We see them everywhere spreading virally making average people Internet sensations from one day to the next. We share memes and mashups on a daily basis and in a way, they reflect who we are as a culture, a global culture. For a meme, all it takes is a picture and a great sense of humor; for a mashup video, takes a little more than that.
There is a fine line between mashups and copyright infringement. Although many mashups do use music, video, and other copyrighted material, mashups may go away with copyright infringement according to section 17 U.S.C. §107 in the U.S. Constitution on Fair Use, that states the following:
§ 107 · Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use40
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a
copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords
or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism,
comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use),
scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining
whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to
be considered shall include—
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a
commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted
work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if
such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
(Copyright Law of the United States, 2011)
In other words, this section attempts to protect memes and mashups under “fair use”. Any media transformed creatively rather than just “copying it” and looking different from the original it is subject to fair use in the sense that once completed, mashups do not intent to make a profit because they only take little pieces from the original work. If anything, they provide free advertising for the original author (Connaughton, 2010).
The following video is a collection of memes from different sources I put together in a “mashup” with the purpose to analyze both terms, what are they, why do we use them. A mashup, “a collection of information from different sources” (Nations, 2012); and memes, “a virally-transmitted symbol or idea” (Gil, 2012), quickly are becoming part of our everyday life. We use them to instantly reflect what we feel about anything that is lingering in our surroundings. Whether for fun, based on real events, to express solidarity, of just to laugh about celebrities, ourselves, or life in general, memes and mashups reflect who we are as a culture.
Please note that for the music I used GarageBand and mixed different tunes that comes with the software into one song. Not that I did not want to get into the Copyright infringement and Fair Use issue, but I did not want to get blocked by YouTube for using commercial songs as it happened to me in a previous assignment (IDT 503 – Module 3). The memes came from different sources and I used iMovie to put everything together. With this video I wanted to put my two cents out there to express my idea of what I think memes and mashups are and what are they for.
Copyright Law of the United States. (2011). U.S. Copyright Law, TItle 17. Washington, DC. Retrieved April 22, 2012, from www.copyright.gov/title17/circ92.pdf
Connaughton, D. (2010, December 3). The Fair Use of Mashups. Retrieved April 22, 2012, from The IP Policy Blog: http://188ip.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/the-fair-use-of-mashups/
Gil, P. (2012). What Is a ‘Meme’? What Are Examples of Modern Internet Memes? Retrieved April 22, 2012, from About.com: http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/weirdwebculture/f/What-Is-an-Internet-Meme.htm
Nations, D. (2012). What is a Mashup? Retrieved April 22, 2012, from About.com Web Trends : http://webtrends.about.com/od/webmashups/a/what-is-mashup.htm