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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/25/10

Artists & Media Makers Need Open Video

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Artists and media makers, to be successful, need to be able to be creative. They need to know that when they put together a piece of art, media, or a performance they will be able to share it with audiences without facing repercussions.

Open video is a concept and a movement to ensure that artists and media makers have more opportunities for free expression and broader cultural engagement. It involves a leveling of the playing field that effectively empowers people to shape culture in media and in politics.

With the era of "free" (as Chris Anderson might say), many expect that they will be able to utilize certain technology and exchange art & media especially on the Internet without any restrictions. By actively ignoring the idea that copyright laws should be stringent and limit creativity, video is remixed, music is sampled and mixed into mashups, and "fair use" is utilized often to make it possible for artists and media makers to create without high budgets can spread art & media freely.

You might ask, why should artists or media makers fight for intellectual property laws that do not discourage participatory culture? How and why should video creation, editing, playback, video standards, and software standards be kept open for artists and media makers?

For one, a fight should be waged so that artists & media makers (who are not necessarily people pursuing art or media making as a career) can continue to create Downfall remix videos.

What was first a German film on Traudi Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, that told of the dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII has now become part of a cultural phenomenon. It is a phenomenon that involves what has become known as the "Original bunker scene." And, people take this scene and they mix it and add their own subtitles.

So far, Hitler has been remixed to explode when the McMansion he was trying to flip is foreclosed, the band Oasis splits up, the Colts lose the Super Bowl, Sarah Palin resigns as governor, the Cubs fail to make it to the World Series (again), and, recently, the iPad is released and unimpressive to him.

Videos like this are covered by "fair use," a widely understood doctrine that, according to the Open Video Alliance, allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, and is essential for commentary, criticism, news reporting, remix, research, teaching and scholarship with video.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com
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