The Panopticon of Ethical Video Remix Practice

Authored by: Mette Birk

The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415716253
eBook ISBN: 9781315879994
Adobe ISBN: 9781134748747


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Ethical practice is generally supported by our radar of common sense, as well as a framework of laws and regulations, but when it comes to online practices and user-created content such as video remixing, the law fails to provide this framework. Creating remix videos of copyrighted intellectual property is not an illegal practice per se, but “in general, no one may use another’s property without permission of the owner” 1 and the act of taking a piece of copyrighted material and using it for remixing is a form of trespassing. 2 There are major gray zones in law, but it does not keep creative people from making and distributing remix videos. The question I will address here is, therefore, what is the current situation of ethical practice within video remixing communities? Some may ask if we are left with anarchy or normless chaos when remixers may need to operate outside of reasonable normative standards of law; albeit, a more reasonable question would be which mechanisms are used to establish and maintain subcultural norms 3 when the framework of law does not supply proper guidelines.

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