How do you define remix and remix culture?
Remix means that the original work is still recognizable as such within a derivative work. Remix culture refers to the fact that remix practices that transform works during usage have become ubiquitous in the digital society. To paraphrase Lawrence Lessig, Harvard law professor and founder of Creative Commons: Remix culture is the transition from a passive, consumption-based read-only culture towards an active, creative read/write culture.
But most remixes are crap, aren't they?
True. According to Sturgeon's Law
, 90% of everything
In a nutshell, what is the status quo, and what do you want to change?
Our current copyright makes large parts of remix culture illegal. The complicated legal frameworks and costs for clarifying rights inhibit online creativity and prevent that creators be compensated appropriately for the usage of their works. With our "Right to Remix" initiative, we are fighting for the legalization of a diverse remix culture and for fair compensation of creators. Our goal is to enable and recompensate remix culture.
Why is it necessary to change copyright in the first place - wouldn't it be sufficient to simplify licensing ?
Finding simplified ways of licensing content is important, but is neither a solution for copyright problems in general nor for remix culture in particular. Sorting out copyrights is as inappropriate as it is remote from so many everyday online activities, such as uploading the video of your birthday party or sharing a video of your baby with music in the background.
Do we need to change the EU Copyright Directive in order to introduce a right to remix?
An extensive and general right to remix requires changes in the EU Copyright Directive. However, national legislatures are also able to reform certain quotation exceptions or clauses dealing with the free usage of existing works, with the aim of legalizing some of the most common remix practices. Such changes would broaden the possibilities of including parts of previous works in new creations.
Is a right to remix compatible with moral rights?
It is true that a right to remix requires a reform of the European system of moral rights. The right to prohibit the creative re-use of works would then be restricted to a small set of clearly-defined cases. However, a right to remix would obviously leave existing sedition laws and bans on neonazism, defacement, or similar in place.
What about the museum?
Within the framework of the "Right to Remix" campaign, we are planning an online museum that deals with the history and present of remix culture as well as legal quesitons. The remix.museum will allow the wider public to experience remix culture and demonstrate how a lively remix scene is culturally valuable for society as a whole. At the same time, the remix.museum will document the quality and values of remix culture, and hopefully inspire others to engage in remixing activities.
Isn't Creative Commons the best solution for remix problems?
In general, Creative Commons is a great way to let others remix your works. Creative Commons, however, cannot fully compensate for a legalized right to remix, for several reasons:
- The pool of works available for remix would be limited to Creative Commons-licensed works. And despite the number of Creative Commons-licensed works continuously growing, this still only represents a tiny fraction of all available works.
- Many creators who are members of collecting societies, like the German GEMA, for instance, are not allowed to publish individual works under Creative Commons license.
- A core characteristic of remix culture is the transformative and creative usage of mainstream cultural artifacts - these in particular are usually not released under a Creative Commons license.