Video, Memes, and Mashups

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
work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if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.

References

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

Images Sources:

http://gotsmile.net/145026/memes-business-cat-hold-calls1

http://icanhascheezburger.com/2012/04/20/advice-animals-memes-lawyer-dog-the-collar/

http://memes.icanhascheezburger.com/2011/12/13/advice-animals-memes-best-cat-memes-of-2011/#

http://memes.icanhascheezburger.com/category/technologically-impaired-duck/

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/the-40-best-memes-of-2011

http://dabestmemes.tumblr.com/

http://www.guildwars2forum.com/threads/1959-Funny-Memes-D

http://chillopedia.com/interesting/the-5-best-memes-of-2011/#axzz1snHaj8IX

http://weheartit.com/entry/22218337

http://urbansavior.com/lion-lols-turning-the-jungles-fiercest-animal-into-a-lol-target/

http://urbansavior.com/25-of-the-most-hilarious-internet-memes-of-2011/

http://loyalkng.com/2010/12/22/happy-holiday-video-from-klick-inc-tv-for-viewers-like-you-featuring-internet-memes-in-real-life/

http://weknowmemes.com/2012/02/angelina-jolie-legbombing-meme/

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Los Vazquez Sound: An example of music by users for users

When we talk about music and new media we refer to the before and after, yesterday and today with an important point in between.  We all remember twenty or so years ago how music was made and how it ended up in our hands.  An artist made a deal with a record company to make an album. The music and voice got recorded in a special studio and then vinyl records and cassettes would be produced and distributed to approved vendors.  Then the artists and managers would physically travel from city to city, country to country promoting the songs in radio stations, TV shows, and printed materials.  And that was pretty much it.

The record company would be in control of all extra merchandise such as posters, t-shirts, and other accessories that fans would get at record stores and concerts.  As time passed the music industry moved along by producing videos for each song to be broadcasted in music channels such as MTV and CD’s emerged which made our listening experience better because we were able to skip songs without waiting for rewinding/fast-forwarding, or hearing broken records. However, us users were forced many times to buy the whole album even if we only wanted a single song.

From the mid 90’s and on is the cutting point where music is defined as what it was and what it is now.  With the commercialization of the Internet and the birth of the MP3 files, a format that compresses digital audio files, made it easy sending music from computer to computer without sacrificing sound quality (Taintor, 2004). In 2003 Apple releases iTunes, the first successful online music store and in 2005 YouTube, a video-sharing Website is born.

This chain of events as part of new media has made our music listening experience reach levels as never before.  We no longer depend on record companies to buy or create music.  We no longer have to buy a whole album for one song. We no longer have to conform ourselves with a single video, or travel to a store to buy our music.  We now can create, record, produce, distribute, any song, any video at any moment at any time.

Take for example a video by three Mexican, young siblings, who remade Adele’s video and song “Rolling in the deep”, making them Internet sensations within days of releasing their video on November 2011. One brother plays the drums, the other plays the piano, while the little sister is the vocalist.  After few weeks of posting the video, they signed a contract with Sony Music Mexico where the Vazquez family has full control over the project and Sony Music is only the distributor (Fox News Latino, 2012). Internet and YouTube enabled these youngsters create and distribute their own music and video to become an Internet sensation (see video below).


(Vazquez Sounds, 2012)

To add to the listening experience, the fun does not stop here.  Among the millions of users who really loved the Vazquez brothers’ performance, someone went even further creating a video of his own mixing the Vazquez Sound video and Adele’s video, producing a very interesting mix (see video below).  The user was able to merge each music’s version with the images, creating one single, flawless song that one cannot help but enjoy and wonder how creative the end product is.  Something like this would not have been possible twenty years ago where control for the music was solely by the record companies.  Although there are still strict copyright guidelines to follow when dealing with copyrighted material, music companies are also becoming more flexible by allowing users to re-make songs as this is also publicity for the real author.


(Huaysara Enciso, 2011)

References

Taintor, C. (2004, May 27). Chronology: Technology and the music industry. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from Frontline – The way the music died: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/music/inside/cron.html

Fox News Latino. (2012). Vazquez Sounds Takes Over Mexico. Retrieved April 10, 2012, from Fox News LAtino: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2011/12/24/vazquez-sounds-takes-over-mexico/

Vazquez Sounds. (2012, March 2). Vazquez Sounds – The Show (Cover)
[Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7UFm6ErMPU&list=PL7E749432B729E4CA&index=5&feature=plcp

Huaysara Enciso, Alan. (2011, November 23). Los Vazquez Sounds & Adele – Rolling In The Deep [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI4vdqwjb_s&feature=related