Remix and Unchill

Remaking Pedagogies to Support Ethical Fair Use

Authored by: Timothy R. Amidon , Kyle Stedman , Dànielle Nicole DeVoss

The Routledge Companion to Media Education, Copyright, and Fair Use

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138638891
eBook ISBN: 9781315637549
Adobe ISBN:


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As composers and consumers of multimedia texts, students and teachers increasingly encounter copyright issues. Both groups draw upon circulating cultural material: teachers to engage students in media literacy and visual rhetorics; students to argue persuasively, present their research, and tell compelling stories. Remix is how composing happens within the multimedia culture of a digitally networked world. Yet Lessig (2008: 107) claimed that the central obstacle to media literacy learning is not access to the tools for composing but rather “assuring the freedom [that composing] requires.” Our experiences teaching visual, digital, video, and web-based composing suggest that students and teachers want to compose rich, layered, multimedia texts but fear they might misstep copyright laws. In some cases, teachers so fear the complexities of copyright that they chill their classrooms by enacting protectionist pedagogies. This chapter counters hyper protectionist pedagogies with a pedagogy emphasizing access, confidence, and know-how, which combine to form rhetorical prowess regarding the work we want to do with others’ work. Structured in two parts, the chapter first situates our approach within contemporary scholarship surrounding remix and authorship and then draws from fair use provisions to sketch a rhetorical prowess heuristic and describes specific activities (i.e., composing musical parodies, engaging in critical photography, using past films to understand the present) that students, teachers, librarians, and instructional designers might leverage to construct agentive opportunities for what Lessig (2008) has called read–write composing and consuming practices.

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