Going Crazy with Remix

A Classroom Study by Practice via Lenz v. Universal

Authored by: xtine burrough , Emily Erickson

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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In the mid-1990s, Michael Girard’s 3D dancing baby graphic 1 became an early example of an Internet meme. 2 From email inboxes to the television program Ally McBeal, where the clip was inserted during the protagonist’s hallucinations. The dancing baby exemplifies Douglas Rushkoff’s notion of a “living organism” that travels Richard Dawkins’s etymological parallel between genes and memes: “the circulatory system for today’s information, ideas, and images.” 3 This case study includes yet another baby dancing online, though the author’s intent was anything but viral media. In 2007, Stephanie Lenz posted a 29-second video of her toddler dancing to Prince’s 1980s hit Let’s Go Crazy on YouTube (Figure 34.1). 4 The song, playing in a room off-camera, was barely recognizable. However, when Lenz uploaded the video of 18-month-old Holden to YouTube, she titled it Let’s Go Crazy #1—making it easy for Prince’s record label, Universal Music Group, to find it with a Web crawler and send Google a takedown notice, via the copyright holder’s prerogative outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 5 For the next six months, anyone looking for the video—namely, Holden’s relatives—would get the ubiquitous YouTube apology: “We’re sorry, this video is no longer available” (Figure 34.2).

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