I was introduced to this video yesterday by a friend who found it through Tumblr. The video uses clips from the new My Little Pony TV show and puts them to the soundtrack from “The Dark Knight” trailer. What the artist creates in this video is probably the best and most hilarious mashup I’ve ever seen. Seriously, who would ever think My Little Ponies could be ever be associated with something as “dark” as a Batman movie?
I think this video relates really well to the article we had to read by Brian Lamb called Dr. Mashup or, Why Educators Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Remix. Lamb defines remixes and mashups in his article and says “a mashup…involves the combination of two or more works that may be very different from one another.”
He further goes on to say
“It is common to assume that remakes or reworkings are inherently lesser forms of creation than something that is “original” and that free reuse somehow degrades the value of the source. Modern copyright law and the intense social stigma associated with a term such as plagiarism speak to such assumptions.”
I think the problem with this assumption is it’s not taking into account the creativity of the artist who created the mashup. It really does takes a lot of talent for an artist to create a successful mashup. For example, as I mentioned earlier, it doubtful many people would think to put My Little Pony with a Batman Trailer. The artist had an original idea and carried out their original idea using sources that were already available. The reason why this mashup is so successful is that it combines two very different things in a funny and well put together way.
Through this mashup, the artist is creating “new art” that people can appreciate as being separate in many ways from the original source of the material. I think that instead of the original owners of the source material getting all uptight about copyright issues, they should feel flattered that someone felt so strongly about their work that they are making an homage to it.
I think it would really awesome if someone took my work and expanded on it because they thought it was cool. This is why most of my Flickr photos have a Creative Commons License so if someone wants to use it, they can go right ahead as long as they link back to me so I can see what they did with it.
Now let’s switch gears a little and talk about the article by Melanie McBride, Praxis 2.0: Escaping the edu-travelogue.
She says in her post,
“As a consequence of my school board’s policies on creating works from copyrighted material, I had students use the internet archive as the source for their remixes. The reaction was: “this sucks. The music/video/etc I want to use is not here.” While I’m not allowed to encourage students to break the law I am permitted to tell them what they can and cannot do at school versus what they may or may not do with their own tools, in their own homes, with their own internet providers – and share with them the potential consequences of doing so. If, after viewing the consequences they choose to break the law it is not because I have encouraged them to do so but they have chosen to enact their own political and civic identities outside of school. But, again, what we do in the classroom is mediated by the law. It is a far cry from what is happening outside of school. And they know it.”
I think that this argument is very valid because often times the material that we would want to use is not always something that we can actually “legally” use. But if you look at a lot of mashups and remixes that exist, a lot of the good ones are created using copyrighted material. Of course, the question of legality comes up, so it is definitely important for teachers to discuss what constitutes as breaking the law versus not breaking the law. We’ve already talked about the benefits of creative commons usage several times in class and I think it’s is something that is important to discuss.
Definitely now and in the upcoming years, copyright issues are going to continue to pose a challenge for those people interesting in creating remixes and mashups.
Relating back this article to #ds106 itself, I think that the work we are creating is definitely our own and this is what McBride would call “traveling.” We’re not just learning about other people making creative content like twitter stories and radio shows, but we are actually creating it ourselves.
Before reading these posts, I probably would have been hard pressed to explain the distinction between remixes and mashups. However, if you consider the old school radio play that Aliyah and I put together, that could be considered a remix. Several other things I’ve put together in class could also be considered remix. But just because not everything is from my own creation, doesn’t mean that I don’t have original or interesting ideas.