Friday, October 12, 2012

Remix Mix

I found that this topic interested me the most. When I first got into broadcasting, I was a news videographer who also had to edit my own video. Prior to this, I knew absolutely nothing about copyright, editing or music rights. So when I learned to edit, the way I did it at the tv station was how I thought it was everywhere. I edited any musical clip or song into video without having to worry about getting in trouble. This was, of course, because of the BMI and ASCAP fees the station paid, allowing news organizations to use parts of songs for their use. And I'm not quite sure of the law, so don't quote me, but there was also some law that allowed us to use video of anyone, as long as we were not on private property, without having to get a consent form signed. So basically, I had it in my head that I could edit and use whatever I wanted.

 It wasn't until I worked for a tv station without a newscast that I found out this wasn't true. My manager and I got into quite a debate about having to get consent forms signed for anyone I videotaped, and got our lawyer to go over our musical/editing license and contract with a fine toothed comb. Being that at this station I also edited my own video, I would edit different pieces that convert different emotions, sometimes in the same video story. So I would use up to four songs in one video, most likely from different artists.

 These videos would then air on the channel over the air, and also online. But a digital copy would be made and stored somewhere. A database existed that contained keywords from the story and video, i.e., a certain location was shot, a certain person was used and a certain piece of music was used. So in the future, if there were another person who was working on a story that needed footage of other things, all they had to do was access the database and retrieve whatever piece of video or music they wanted to. Even if they didn't shoot that piece of video, it doesn't matter. It's free game. And this is all ok and how the business works and nobody cares, because we are nothing more than employees of a station that owns the rights to the videos themselves. Once I shot video of Hurricane Floyd and it was picked up and aired by CNN. Do you think I got the money paid? Do you think I was credited by CNN in their airing? No, the station go the money and the credit. And again, this is fine by all. But take that principle to the private market and it doesn't work that way at all. Videographers are very, very (rightfully so) territorial about their video.

 I say all of that to say this. Lessig's point in the book we read was that the current copyright law for new media is outdated. Somebody makes a song, someone else takes and and makes changes, who know owns that material? I mean, the second person technically did make something new. I know that if I turn on the television and see even a ten second shot of my footage without me knowing, I would be quite upset. I can't even imagine how I would feel were I an artist who made music. And here is irony in it's finest. Lessig appeared on The Colbert Report to discuss the book. After the interview, Colbert took Lessig's book, signed it with his name, and then said that The Daily Show was going to start selling copies of it by calling it "The Colbert Edition." I went to YouTube to try and find a link to post here, but, and here it is, all I could find were remixed versions of the interview. Dozens and dozens of clips from people who took the interview, remixed it with some audio beat, and renamed it. I couldn't find it!! I had to go to the archives on the Colbert website to find it. Below is a portion. Enjoy, and don't take my video...

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