Edition #02 - rex : ren – University of Copenhagen

Audiovisual Thinking

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rex : ren by Thommy Eriksson, Chalmers University of Technology

Digital remediation recreates a semi-physical/virtual event – a rock concert – and reflects on the academic usage of copyrighted material.


Considerations concerning copyright in the academic video essay Huskvarna Remediated

The content of this work is a critical reflection concerning the widespread use of recording equipment (e.g. mobile cameras) and distribution channels (e.g. YouTube) and how this influences the relationship between digital media and cultural events, as well as the notion of “real” versus “virtual” events. Since the video essay makes use of copyrighted material and since it highlights the blurred boundaries between media and experience, it is used as an example of dealing with copyright issues for the Editorial Column of issue 2010#02 of the academic journal Audiovisual Thinking. The theme of this issue is rights and wrongs in the age of digital media. Thus, the video essay is a meta-text in the context of the journal, and this text is a meta-meta-text outlining the considerations performed concerning copyright issues.

There are two sets of copyrighted material in the video essay:

  • Concert recordings made by members of the audience at the concert by Joakim Thåström in Huskvarna, April 3rd, 2009
  • The song Du ska va president written, composed and performed by Joakim Thåström
  • Screen dumps from YouTube

This video essay was produced in Sweden. According to Swedish copyright law (23 §), copyrighted public material may be used as a part of an academic exposition, as long as the intent is not commercial. Since the video is produced in an academic environment and with the intention of being critical and investigative, I claim that the context can be considered as academic. One condition is that the author of the copyrighted material is credited, which is done at the end of the video essay. Even though there are no legal obligations to inform the authors, I nevertheless did so out of ethical considerations. I notified them via the internal messaging system at YouTube on November 8th, 2010. By the date of publication of the video essay (November 20th, 2010), three of the four authors had responded. The responding authors approved of the usage of their material.

The photograph of the author Thommy Eriksson was taken by me. There are intertextual references in the editing of the video essay (the multi pane split) to the title sequence of the BBC TV series Life on Mars ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_on_Mars_(TV_series) ). A tongue-in-cheek reference to the TV series is my leather jacket and pose, reminiscent of the hero, Sam Tyler, of the show. These design decisions are not covered by copyright since they can be considered as ideas and not as a fixed expression of that idea. This distinction is called the idea–expression divide. There is no legal obligation to state intertextual references. Instead other issues can be of concern, such as showing a lack of one's own creativity by using clichés. At the same time the nourishment for creativity is reference to other sources. The line between creative use of sources and non-creative use is highly subjective and open for debate.

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