Fair Use? What Does That Mean???

17 03 2009

In today’s Pop Culture course, an interesting discussion surrounding appropriated media content was raised. Dr. Strangelove brought up a great point, and it was as simple as this: “corporate sector sees APA as illegitimate, even though under fair use; it is legal.” And just as the sentence spilled from his lips, all of this copyright infringement business began to make sense.

Media giants like Universal and Viacom are picky about YouTube and its content because it’s taking away from their business. It seems so clear now. Amateurs who create mashups, remixes and memes using mainstream mass material do not force advertisements upon their viewers. As viewers of these appropriated videos, we are free to be entertained without being inundated with ads.

Because of recent copyright issues, hundreds of videos are being removed from YouTube daily- usually because they include certain soundtracks, or appropriated materials. According to Strangelove, “more videos in January and February of this year have been removed than last year entirely.” Ok, so- when does the Fair Use Provision come into play?

Detailed at www-sul.stanford.edu is a comprehensive article entitled Copyright Law and Fair Use which explains fair use in its entirety: “Fair use provisions of the copyright law allow for limited copying or distribution of published works without the author’s permission in some cases.”

But what exactly does this include? The article goes on to answer many frequently asked questions concerning the Fair Use Provision, a topic many individuals are not properly educated on. According to the website, the following are situations when fair use comes into play:

· The purpose and nature of the use. If the copy is used for teaching at a non-profit institution, distributed without charge, and made by a teacher or students acting individually, then the copy is more likely to be considered as fair use.

· The nature of the copyrighted work. For example, an article from a newspaper would be considered differently than a workbook made for instruction.

· The nature and substantiality of the material used. In general, when other criteria are met, the copying of extracts that are “not substantial in length” when compared to the whole of which they are part may be considered fair use. 

· The effect of use on the potential market for or value of the work. In general, a work that supplants the normal market is considered an infringement, but a work does not have to have an effect on the market to be an infringement.

It seems as YouTube users, we are expected to fully understand what copyright infringement encompasses, and what may be deemed fair use. This is a complex expectation.

According to YouTube.com, “people are watching hundreds of millions of videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. In fact, every minute, ten hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.”  It is unquestionable that YouTube is the leader of online video- and this no doubt scares companies such as Viacom and the like.

The consumers are taking away from the producers. For the first time, the viewers have the power. To quote Steve Collins author of Recovering Fair Use, we are becoming a ‘prosumer’ oriented society which can be defined as: “the conceptual convergence of producer and consumer…at electric speeds the consumer becomes producer as the public becomes participant role player”

I hope my entry has provided some clarity on the messy issue of fair use. 

Fair Use: A Topic We Need More Education On!

Fair Use: A Topic We Need More Education On!


A YouTube Reflection: iPhones and Music

16 03 2009

The iPhone and its many applications could quite possibly have an enormous affect on the future of music and how it evolves. The following video features four young women of the UK band the Mentalists covering the pop hit “Kids” by MGMT, using only applications downloaded to their iPhones. The video has over half a million views.

Apple has undoubtedly altered the music industry: firstly, with the iPod, unquestionably the most popular mp3 player ever created to date  and secondly with the release of iTunes, which accounts for 70% of worldwide music downloading (reuters.com). Apple has become a leader in the music industry.

With hundreds of musical instrument applications available for iPhone/iPod Touch, Apple has potentially altered the future of music, allowing virtually anyone to create catchy tunes with applications on their iPhones and iPod touches. The creation of catchy music is literally at our very finger tips. The following video further the depicts the potential future of music:

The above video has over 4 million views, and has been relatively well received on YouTube. Videos similar to this one, and that of the Mentalist’s raise several questions about the future of music. Pop culture is altered everyday because of YouTube, and it seems the state of music is continually changing because of the innovative masterminds behind Apple. Together, both YouTube and Apple are a force to be reckoned with: a speedy evolution of music and pop culture is inevitable thanks to this pair.

A YouTube Reflection: bowiechick

12 03 2009

Discussing YouTube the other day in my popular culture course, Dr. Strangelove mentioned that one video released by a user may receive millions of views, however, it is unlikely that the user will continue to have a significantly large following. This truly does seem to be the case.

I recently discovered Melody Oliveria or bowiechick as she is known on YouTube- and yet again, my timing is embarrassingly off, as her popularity peaked in 2006.

The following video, entitled Breakup, has nearly 2 million views. Please watch:

Before the popularity of sxephil, ijustine, and hilarious candid children on YouTube, there was the simplicity and reality of just chatting to the viewers. Oliveria’s video is just that, a girl talking to a webcam, while experimenting with its features. I initially did not understand its popularity among YouTube users, but found several comments discussing its relevance in the YouTube society:

RG7621 stated of the video: “This video is YouTube lore!!! Haven’t watched it in ages but I remember when it was one of the most viewed videos on this site. Bowiechick you’re a legend.”

Eaglewings8: “See this stuff is what made Youtube what it is today. Not Tay Zonday and ChadVader”

Kudjo24 stated simply, “This is a classic.”

It’s almost as if she is a pioneer of the YouTube world. The roots. The beginning of a new popular culture movement.

As mentioned earlier, her more recent videos seem to attract very few viewers, as YouTube evolved, so has the content. People have discovered new things. The following is an example of one of bowiechick’s more recent works, with approximately 600 views:

Fame may be easily attainable on YouTube, but the likelihood of constant fame is not. However – every video loaded onto the site contributes to the evolution and change of popular culture.

A YouTube Reflection: Amanda Baggs

12 03 2009

In My Language which was created in 2007, is a video created by Amanda Baggs, an autism rights activist. The video is thought provoking, creative, articulate and captivating- a video I would never have the capabilities of creating.

Amanda Baggs is autistic.

I can full well admit to having little knowledge on the subject autism, save for the few Oprah episodes I’ve seen, which have covered the topic. Amanda’s video is compelling, inspiring, and has provided more information in a uniquely expressed way than I believe Oprah, or a more importantly, any autism “expert” ever could.

In what seems to be sporadic movement and constant humming, the video begins. The viewers watch Amanda as she hastily fidgets and fumbles around the room, she then describes to the viewers, after 3 minutes of this, that what had just been viewed was Amanda’s “native language”- her way of communication.

Amanda’s manner of communication may be seen as unconventional to most. Her movements are not all symbol-laden and meaningful like we expect with any language, but rather her actions are a constant conversation with every aspect of her surrounding environment, as she states in the video.

According to Baggs, as stated in an article entitled The Truth About Autism, by David Wolman the video was, “designed to call attention to people’s tendency to underestimate autistics.” And that it did.

Through the means of online video, Amanda Baggs created a video that had a massive impact on YouTube users, and has since educated over 750,000 individuals. The likes of CNN and other noteworthy news medium have told her story.

Amanda’s video is an online phenomenon and provides further proof, in my opinion, that amateur videography is indeed changing popular culture as we know it.  

A YouTube Reflection: Noah Kalina

10 03 2009

By typing the term “celebrities” into the Google search engine, I arbitrarily found a list of the most popular YouTube celebs to date, and thus was inspired to write my YouTube reflection on this old gem:

Released in 2006, and with 12 million views, I’m sure many have already seen and enjoyed this immensely creative video entitled “Everyday” by photographer Noah Kalina, but for those who haven’t seen it, Kalina created the video by taking a photograph of himself everday for six years, starting in 2000. The video is accompanied by a soothing piano tune.  I strongly urge you to watch the above video, if you have not.  Noah Kalina has enjoyed Internet stardom due to his video creation.

Kalina’s video has had a massive impact on popular culture, specifically in the world of photography. In a New York Times article by Keith Schneider entitled Look at Me, World! Self-Portraits Morph Into Internet Movies, William A. Ewing, director of the Musée de l’Elysée stated of the video, “Noah’s video represents a phenomenal amplification not just in what he produced and how he did it, but how many people the piece touched in such a short period of time. There is nothing comparable in the history of photography.” What a powerful affect on pop culture.

According to an article by Spencer Morgan, entitled D’oh-tube! Internet Sensation Scores Big Simpsons Moment reported in the New York Observer, Kalina’s video “was inspired by digital technology.” No doubt has digital technology had a gross impact on new media and popular culture as we currently know it. Without the digital camera, Kalina’s masterpiece would not exist; and without the existence of the video sharing site YouTube, Kalina’s work would have had far less of an impact on popular culture.

To further portray the affect of Kalina’s video, pop culture hit, The Simpsons paraodied his work using similar music, replacing Kalina’s face with that of the dimwitted Homer Simpson. That in itself conveys the massive affect the Kalina’s creation has had on mass culture.

Along with the mass media commenting on Kalina’s work, countless responses on YouTube have been created, a few of the more notable examples being: Phil takes a photo of himself everyday for 2 days9 months of gestation in 20 seconds; and She Takes a Photo Everyday: 200. These video responses alone are proof that a YouTube video can have the power to affect millions.

With that said,  I’m off to go check out the other “YouTube Celebs” I’ve been missing out on, due to my living under a rock!

When’s My 15 Minutes to Shine?

6 03 2009

In 1968, the American pop artist Andy Warhol coined the phrase: “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” I think I can justifiably state that the future is now.

With the growth of online media, specifically YouTube, the chance to make it big- or become famous, in this world seems to be available to anyone with a computer, a webcam, and an opinion (of course, good looks and general wittiness are a plus).

The likes of YouTube, Myspace and other social networking sites are acting as  fame machines, pumping out “up and comers” like never before; whether or not we are ready for it.

In an article entitled, Sharing the YouTube Fame, USA Today stated, “In just over two years, the video-sharing website has transformed next-door neighbors almost into celebrities.”

I can think of dozens of everyday folk who have made it to the level of moderate fame thanks to the likes of YouTube alone: David, of David After the Dentist; Arianna, the young girl who dances to various current pop hits; and Philip DeFranco, who rambles about all things current to his webcam. There exists an extensive list which goes on.

According to wordnetweb.princeton.edu, fame can be defined as “the state or quality of being widely honored and acclaimed.” Quality is no longer a requirement for fame in this era of webisodes and candid filming.

To paraphrase Dr. Strangelove, we seek the legitimacy that is offered through these videos. We can relate to those akin to us: middle class citizens living everyday lives, dancing on YouTube, or speaking their minds in basement apartments, ranting about the very things we rant about.

In short, we can relate to the “non-glamour” of YouTube, which I believe is the primary reason so many people are experiencing their 15 minutes. 


Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes

Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes


A YouTube Reflection: Guidelines??

3 03 2009

Dr. Strangelove created an interesting video entitled An Ironic Commentary on YouTube’s Community Guidelines, which he showed our Pop Culture class earlier today. The video details the rules and regulations found in the YouTube Guidelines, while contradictory videos stream in the background. The video is as follows:

Strangelove’s video clearly illustrates the state of YouTube: it indeed has the rules, but they do not seem to be overtly enforced.  Violence, pornographic images and all around shocking videos are not hard to come by on YouTube, as Strangelove’s video depicts. Strangelove states, “These are the guidelines YouTube claims to enforce.”  It is quite clear that the site makes a diminutive attempt at best.

According to Owen Gibson’s article YouTube Curbs Videos Fueling Gang Violence, YouTube stated, “We realize it’s not always obvious where we draw the line on content that’s acceptable to upload. We’ve updated the community guidelines … included in the update are a few new things to steer clear of, like not directly inciting violence.” As a moderate YouTube user, I don’t believe YouTube has improved that clarity of the issue.

But the popular question remains, is it really possible to control YouTube, or the Internet at all, for that matter? Strangelove mentioned last class that “a video never really disappears online.” It may be banned from one website, but it will easily spread to countless other sites, if so desired.  

As long as the Internet persists and thrives: hate speech, violence, oppressive views and the like with continue forth. Not a set of guidelines or rules can stop the crude content from appearing YouTube. I guess, if there’s a will, there’s a way??