Remix Culture Australia Essay Examples & Outline

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Remix Culture Australia

The phrase remix denotes a wide array of creative activities embedded in aesthetic, social and cultural contexts (Whelan & Freund, 2013). Remix demonstrates the underlying relationship between the hands-on affordances of contemporary media and the fact that such media flows as recombinant. Simply put, remix revolves around the concepts of redistribution, reassembly, reconfiguration and ultimately circulation of already existing cultural and digital media material. The term remix therefore connotes to a multiplicity at the point of origin of contemporary digital media. In practice therefore the term remix culture is used to describe a wide scope of practices that revolve around originality, authorship and plagiarism.

Remix culture is further simplified to practice that involves ownership, permission and what is commonly referred to as “the commons.” The commons refers to the distinction of culture and to a large extent of contemporary digital media from commercial purposes and the cultural and social significance of such material and the most viable way of exploiting this material (Fitzgerald & O'Brien, 2005). This is especially as far as the significance of the contemporary digital media and the law with relations to the artistic reuses of the prosumer with respect to temporal characteristics. These temporal characteristics are specifically the concepts of history and time elapsed since the contemporary digital media in question was created and when it was reassembled, reconfigured and re-circulated.

A good example of remix culture in practice is when a group of DJs separately in Perth and San Francisco once reengineered Green Day’s American Idiot and repackaged it as American Edit which was more successful than the former (Fitzgerald, 2010). While American Idiot was released purely for commercial purpose, its engineered version American Edit which involved a fusion of songs from Green Day with those of Aerosmith and Eminem was posted on the cyberspace for free which led to the DJs getting a “cease and desist” order from Green Day’s record label. This action inflamed the fans of Green Day and over 400,000 of them signed an online petition condemning the move by the record label to illegalize American Edit which was only available on the cyberspace. These just points to the power of remix culture. This current supports the notion that remix culture has been a sustained critique to intellectual property and copyright laws.

Literature Review

For one to be able to understand the concept of remix culture it is important that they must comprehend why intellectual property and copyright owners protect their works of arts. Throughout history, remix culture has been fought the bases of access to and use of intellectual property (Barker, 2009). As such some of the motivations of authors of contemporary digital media who stringently enforce intellectual property and copyright laws allude to several motivations some of which include but are not limited to the avoidance of misuse, misrepresentation, improper description and wrongful identification of their contemporary media materials (Bledsoe, 2009). This factors are born out three significant professional concerns in the sphere of intellectual properties; accuracy in description of media, wrongful use of media and repository identity of media (Butler, 2010). As such culture has always been plagued with issues dealing with authorship and description of materials media included (Johnson, 2012). This is the case because the description of any item forms the core components of its representation. The description of contemporary media determines its value and the perceptions and attitudes the general public has towards it (Suzor, Harpur, & Thampapillai, 2008). In addition to this, it has also been ascertained that authenticity and credibility of contemporary digital media is of the utmost significance to some segments of the market and therefore has to be consequently preserved at all costs (Xiang & Montgomery, 2012).

There are also numerous prerequisites that placed legally by the intellectual property and copyright laws specifically for people who intent to remix contemporary digital media (Suzor, 2013). These many obligations have been termed as being the major hindrance to remix culture artists to officially seek permission from authors and publishers before reusing, reconfiguring and redistributing contemporary digital media (Olwan, 2013). This is because the owner requirements for reuse effectively render the reuse of contemporary digital media. For instance it is common practice for most authors and publishers to obligate remix culture artists to limit the reuse to themselves and bar any third party re-usage which is virtually impossible on the cyberspace. Such legal obligations make difficult for remix culture to bridge the gap between access and demand of contemporary digital media (Lean, 2002). This therefore points to revision of intellectual property and copyright laws so as to accommodate the remix culture phenomenon.

Finally, remix culture should be viewed upon as a digital argument. This is because it is a binary of amateur/professional creativity and lumps it all as work of art (Harpur & Suzor, 2013). It must be mentioned that remix culture distinguished its various byproducts mainly by the use of underlying themes. It is easy to distinguish a fan remix video from a political remix video for instance (Cradduck, 2013). Due to its binary aspect, it can be stated that remix culture advances for contemporary media literacy which points to one of its many significances (McBratney & Tarr, 2010). This predominantly attributed to tendency to go against the grain and subvert the dominant theme of original contemporary digital media. Remix culture lays bare the underlying themes behind originality and therefore subsequently blurs the line between fact and fiction as far as contemporary digital media is concerned (Tsui, 2011).

Discussion and Analysis

Remix culture has been sustained critique of intellectual property and copyright laws. This is the case because of the following reasons. To begin with, copyright and intellectual property laws dictate that one has to get official permission from the author of contemporary digital media before reusing it either in terms of blogging, non-profit scholarly publishing, educational or even artistic purposes for both commercial and non-commercial uses (Cradduck, 2013). This however is retrogressive practice whose main objective is to stunt the growth of the contemporary digital media especially those in the public domain. This further stunts the sphere of public authorship which is key prerequisite to the freedom of expression. Based on this premise it is therefore necessary for there to be open access to contemporary digital media either not covered by copyright or covered by copyright and intellectual property laws but within the public domain.

Secondly, commercial companies such as YouTube are purely based on the concept of remix culture (Whelan & Freund, 2013). YouTube allows users to create their own digital content and upload it on the video streaming website for free. Most of the content uploaded on YouTube is either remixed content or content under copyright uploaded by prosumer who does not own the rights to do so. This innocent gesture by users of YouTube does not however imply that they are ill bent on ensuring that intellectual property and copyright owners are denied of their hard earned income. Remix culture contrary to popular opinion is based on spontaneity and pure entertainment rather than on commercial precepts. There’s a misconceived notion that the now booming internet culture is against profit. Therefore we are living in an age where the sole intention of profit is to destroy the internet culture from which it is profiteering.

Third, these over eager copyright and intellectual property laws are killing creativity on the digital space (Olwan, 2013). This should not be the case and frankly implementing some of these intellectual property and copyright laws for the sole purpose of killing the remix culture is absolute waste of resources. This is because writers and journalist have always had the right to quote other sources from time memorial. It beats logical sense to require authors of reconfigured and reassembled contemporary media to formally request for permission before publishing their content especially if the same content is for non-commercial purposes. As a matter of fact this not only kills creativity on the cyberspace but also goes a notch higher to curtail the rights and freedom of the ordinary folks of expression. This is essentially because the remix culture introduced a new perspective towards self-expression which the copyright and intellectual property has long been fighting to stifle.

Fourth, copyright and intellectual property laws devalue the work of remix artists (Suzor, 2013). The reason the work of most remix culture is undervalued is because most of them are dismissed as being amateurs and opportunistic. Copyright and intellectual property owners though are justified to some extent; on another level there however they come across as capitalists whose main ambition is to protect the status quo. Imposing intellectual property and copyright laws on remix culture is similar to having a phobia about technology. Websites such as Wikipedia, YouTube, and MySpace among others just demonstrate the value of remix culture to the entirety of the human race across the globe. It points to a form of creativity that has inspired and born of the creativity of intellectual property and copyright owners and gone the extra mile of revolutionizing many spheres of life it is known today in addition to contemporary digital media. The whole point of having and being artistic is to provoke inspiration and not stifle it in the copyright and intellectual property laws.

In addition to this, the steady onslaught by copyright and intellectual property laws against the remix culture is misplaced. This is especially the case given the values of remix culture more so to the creators (Johnson, 2012). This is because remix culture is viewed based on the narrow and simplified approach that it simply put the infringement of intellectual property copyright rights of digital media authors. Remix culture is however much more it is construed than its opponents. In fact, remix culture presents a unique opportunity for information sharing as demonstrated by Wikipedia and YouTube to many over a short duration of time and while spending the bare minimum of resources. This is presents a unique opportunity for the y and z generations to learn something tangible. This is based on the fact that the remix culture artists belong to a generation that does not have time to read books but alternatively spend tons and tons of hours on the cyberspace listening to, watching or even “creating” contemporary media.

Finally, if harnessed and well regulated the remix culture presents an economic opportunity to the society (Fitzgerald, Access to public sector information : law, technology and policy, 2010). It must however be mentioned that for this phenomenon of economic growth to be experienced then remix culture must not only be encouraged, fostered and nurtured but also properly balanced. These two aspects must be applied simultaneously if there is any hope for the economic significances of remix culture being realized. This is the case because the concept of remix culture is founded on the principles of free markets. The strongest of world economies have embraced the concept of free and liberalized markets. Even traditional communist countries such as China and Russia have been forced to adapt to the principles of free markets and consequently adopt them. In addition to this, remix culture also counters the downsides of both capitalism and communism where there are few creators for as many consumers. Remix culture allows for there to be as many creators as possible to meet the demand of as many consumers therefore sparking economic growth.


Remix culture simply refers to the reassembly, reconfiguration and the ultimate redistribution of the already existing cultural and contemporary digital media. The concept of remix culture has been in existence for the entirety of the 20th century can be traced back to the days of Plato. Remix culture therefore traverses scopes of life and culture ranging from music to literary works and cinematography. Generally, remix culture has been and will continue being a sustained critique of intellectual property and copyright laws. Based on this premise it thus emerges it is therefore the role of intellectual property and copyright laws to accommodate remix culture. This assertion however does not negate the fact that there needs to a balanced and regulated approach towards the remix culture sensation.

The existence of intellectual property and copyright laws is based on the fundamental principle that there needs to be limited access to intellectual materials. As such the owners and publishers of such of these materials reserve the right to grant access to the same property to whomever they deem fit. The main motivation behind these laws is therefore to avoid misrepresentation, misuse, improper description and wrongful ownership among many other reasons. This is because the value and the identity of contemporary digital media is judged on the original characteristics preserved over the course of time. Remix culture on the other hand is somehow a binary consisting of the amateur/professional that traverses the set boundaries of reality into a blurry line of fact and fiction.

This paper is of the conclusion that remix culture is a sustained critique of intellectual property and copyright laws. However the two variables must interact in very balanced and properly regulated manner for the benefits of remix culture to counteract the detrimental attributes of intellectual property and copyright laws. A balanced approach will lead to economic growth, media literacy, creativity, freedom of expression and the preservation of basic human ethos and principles to mention but a few.


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