Monday, May 21, 2007

Copyright, Fair Use, Disney and the NYTimes

Boy, what a weekend for copyright often do you get to say that with a straight face? On vacation, I read this editorial in the NYTimes on extending copyright forever, and I couldn't believe they would publish something so ridiculous. The argument, essentially that creators should get a perpetual copyright (that's right, forever) was so beyond ridiculous that I didn't know where to begin. Luckily, before my flight landed Sunday night, Larry Lessig had already started a wiki-based response to the article, so I can let the experts hash this out.

Bottom line - it's worth reading the original article, because he makes some points that to the uninitiated in these areas (um, most of us), could seem reasonable. I mean, at first glance, it could seem reasonable to consider intellectual property to be the same as physical property - but there's a reason this isn't the case, and it's worth checking out the wiki-response for the reasons - if you have the slightest interest in copyright issues.

But, the real reason for this post is to push you to watch this great new video from Stanford on copyright, fair use and Disney...using clips from Disney films to illustrate the point. Beautiful work, since Disney has essentially been the main push behind our copyright laws being so erroneous. Great video.

Friday, May 04, 2007

DJ Spooky Remix this Weekend

The Tribeca Film Festival has a great program tonight and this weekend. From their site:
Rebirth of a Nation galvanizes the audience with a challenging interactive experience. Paul D. Miller (a.k.a. DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid) re-works, re-makes, and re-interprets one of America's most controversial films, Birth of a Nation, and calls it Rebirth of a Nation.

Mixed live and projected on a triptych, this is the first time Miller will be using new visual material that he has produced with Starz and a re-worked score as performed by the Kronos Quartet, to create uniquely visceral production. The point, in fact, is to create a new narrative in response to fallacies that were propagated by the original film. In Miller's own words: "Birth of a Nation focuses on how America needed to create a fiction of African-American culture in tune with the fabrication of 'whiteness' that under-girded American thought throughout most of the last several centuries: it floats out in the world of cinema as an enduring, albeit totally racist, epic tale of an America that, in essence, never existed. The Ku Klux Klan still uses this film as a recruiting device and it's considered to be an American 'cinema classic' despite the racist content."

The result is a new experience in the evolution of art, cinema and activism.
Also, don’t miss the opening act, "Latitude", a performance piece by D-Fuse inspired by the notion of drifting through the urban land and soundscapes of China. In their New York premier, this London-based video art collective challenges the way you see and hear by following the emotive qualities of spaces that surround us. Fragments of conversations, crowds, journeys, lights, deserted space, and architectural forms are mixed in a unique live performance tracing a multitude of paths, identities, and influences, representing the everyday life of cosmopolitan China.

» Get Tickets for Rebirth of a Nation

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Renew Remix Films

Over at Renew Media, where I work, we've just posted some cool films that you can remix and share. From our site:

Five Media Arts Fellows have made short films to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Media Arts Fellowships. The filmmakers are Jem Cohen, Luciano Larobina, Valerie Soe, James Spooner and Casper Stracke. Watch the other shorts, or make your own remix on Eyespot.

Renew Media has partnered with Eyespot for this project. Eyespot allows users to post video online, find footage from other artists and individuals, edit the footage into new creative works and share these works with the public. Renew Media has posted the 5 short films to Eyespot, where other artists can take samples, combine new video footage and music and create new works. All works created will acknowledge the original artists work, and will also be available for further mash-up and viral sharing.

Become part of the anniversary celebrations by creating an account with, so you can log in and make a remix/mashup of the films online. You can also download the films to your computer. Remember to let us know when you’ve created your remix, so we can link to it!

A panel of Fellows will select the top 5 remixes as winners, which will be showcased during other Renew Media Anniversary activities throughout the year, as well as on Eyespot.