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The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if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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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and New Media

This past Friday, taking advantage on how films have become more available to us, I rented “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” from Redbox, right outside a chain superstore. I heard that Rooney Mara, the girl who played the tattooed girl, was an Oscar nominee for best actress in a leading role.  So I thought, the movie has to be good. Aside from her excellent performance, the movie itself is a great example about identity, technology, and culture that characterizes new media.

The plot is on how Mara as the role of Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker, along with journalist Mikael Blomkvist (played Daniel Craig) are hired by a powerful rich man, Henrik Vanger, to help him find his great-niece Harriet, who he suspects was murdered 36 years ago by a member of his family.  Both Lisbeth and Blomkvist uncover a series of barbaric crimes committed 40 years ago in relation to Harriet’s disappearance, before finding the real killer and Harriet alive.

Lisbeth during the plot, becomes both the victim of abuse and the avenging, as she takes revenge on her legal guardian who physically and sexually abused her.  As a young, petite, social-unfitted woman, once taken advantage for her physical appearance, she gains control through information.  As a computer wiz, Lisbeth is able to video tape the moment she’s been abused and use it to her advantage to blackmail her abuser. She threatens her legar guardian that no only she has that video that proofs the abuse, but if anything happens to her or any other innocent girl under his care, the video will go ‘viral’ and everyone will know what happened. After this, the abuse stops.

Throughout the movie, we see that all characters use iMac laptops, as if to denote coolness, knowledge, and the last innovation of technology.  Lisbeth is able to hack bank accounts and passwords from Hans-Erik Wennerström – a corrupt billionaire financier and responsible for Blomkvist fall – to steal over 2 billion dollars to later deposit to her account. Although the culture of a homeless female is perceived as weak and helpless at the mercy of males to abuse her, it is her ability and knowledge to extract and hack information what gives her power and enables her to regain her life.

In an analogy to reality, information has become the new economy in new media. We all know the power and consequences of a video or photograph going viral on the Internet, and how Facebook for example, tailors its advertising based on what we like and who our friends are; or the aftermaths of seeing an identity stolen over the Internet. Although the movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is an extreme on the use of new media, it gives us a glimpse on how valuable information and technology can be.

References:

movieclips [movieclips]. (2011, June 2). The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo HD Trailer – David Fincher Version [Video file]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/WVLvMg62RPA

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

Journalism: The case of Samantha Brick

Freedom of speech, freedom of writing and express whatever we feel in an article as long as we have someone to read us, right?  Not so these days.  As much as we would think of how lucky we are for having available–and for free– a variety of tools and apps to create blogs, art, images, videos, etc., where we can just write about anything and throw it out there in the hopes that we will touch someone with our story, such thought comes with a heavy responsibility.

I grew up in a small city where everyone knew pretty much each other and you couldn’t do anything in the morning without avoiding everyone finding about it by the evening, especially your folks.  I always thought that by moving to a bigger city you would be safe because no one knew you or care what you did or didn’t do.  Moving away to avoid gossip seemed to work for a while until social media emerged. Anything we say, do, or post, besides of reaching everyone with a connection to the Internet in an instant, forever will stay in cyberspace.

Take the case of Samantha Brick, a British journalist who wrote an article in the Daily Mail titled “‘There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful” on April 2, 2012 where she reveals that her life has not being easy because she is too beautiful (Brick, 2012).  Within hours she became the center of attention and by the next day her article had nearly 5,000 comments from angry men and women reacting to her self-acclaimed beauty. By the very next day, people were creating memes about her, she was the number 1 trend of searches in Google and Facebook and Twitter users created the hashtag #samanthabrickfacts posting nasty comments ridiculing her.

All this within a 72 hour period, from a woman posting her thoughts about herself in a newspaper located across the globe.  Whether she is pretty or not, whether life has been hard on her because she is too beautiful and women hater her because of that, the point is the instant and nasty viral reaction towards her from people Brick has never seen and probably never will.  Social media is a powerful tool that requires us to think twice what we say, how we say it, and why we say it.  As I mentioned before, in the past one could say anything and perhaps get away with it with few people offended.  Now? The mouth-to-mouth effect is global and instantaneous through social media.  We are all connected and for good or for worse, let’s not brag about something we may regret later.

Samantha Brick Meme

Samantha Brick Meme

References

Brick, S. (2012, April 2). ‘There are downsides to looking this pretty’: Why women hate me for being beautiful. Retrieved 7 2012, 2012, from MailOnline: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2124246/Samantha-Brick-downsides-looking-pretty-Why-women-hate-beautiful.html

Image Source:

http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3on7u3/