Discussion 8: Mashup Culture

Mashup Culture, Bootleg Culture, Re-Mix Culture… Whatever you call it, the tendency to collage together pieces of pop-culture into new and exciting forms is here to stay. The last decade or so of internet evolution has brought forth a whole new world of creative possibilities. Mashup Culture has, in part, emerged with the increasing availability of (and decreasing costs of) media editing tools. From iMovie to Photoshop, it’s extremely easy for any of us to slice, dice, mix, remaster, and edit our own artistic creations.

Yet legally and economically we’re having a hard time keeping up with the changes. New copyright laws, Fair Use legislation, and ethical practices are emerging daily, and there is a constant tension between our desire to control who gets paid for what and the fact that millions upon millions of digital media pieces of varying quality are going up every day.   Growing up in a culture that tolerates and promotes collage can be difficult once one enters into the academic realm, where credit must always be given where credit is due.

Read the following articles and then answer the questions below:

The Ecstasy of Influence: a Plagiarism‘ by Jonothan Lethem in Harper’s Magazine

It’s Not Plagiarism. In the Digital Age, It’s ‘Repurposing’‘ a response to Lethem by Kenneth Goldsmith in The Chronicle

Both of these writers would agree that art couldn’t survive without appropriation, but where do we draw the line? Should a 13-year-old be able to post a video of herself lip syncing to Shania Twain song without getting into copyright infringement trouble? What if Eminem does a cover? Should he have to pay royalties when a 13-year-old doesn’t? What does all of this mean for you as a student? What is the line between creative appropriation of an idea and outright plagiarism? Remember to try to demonstrate that you’ve actually read the articles above.

Now head on over to Slack.

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