A Fair(y) Use Tale

Authored by: Eric S. Faden

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 early 2006, I began a collaborative film called A Fair(y) Use Tale with several of my Bucknell University undergraduate students (Figure 38.1). This short film remixed over 400 unlicensed animated clips from the notoriously litigious Walt Disney Company. Their aggressive lobbying in favor of the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act of 1998 put Disney in the middle of an intellectual property storm and we hoped our film might act as a lightning rod. During A Fair(y) Use Tale’s production, we wanted to get a fresh opinion on the cut and showed an early version to a class of first-year students. About two minutes into the movie, a young woman in the front row was visibly uncomfortable while watching the film. Soon after, she urgently raised her hand and I paused the film. She asked, “Are we going to get into trouble for watching this?” At first, her question confused me but I quickly realized she was concerned that simply watching the film might qualify as criminal activity. This was the moment when I knew that today’s institution of copyright protection had become insane.

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