The ‘Blurred Lines’ of Copyright Laws

In 2015, musicians, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were challenged by the family of Motown legend, Marvin Gaye, in relation to a copyright infringement in their 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines”. The Gaye family claimed that the pair had stolen the tune form Marvin Gaye’s 1977 track “Got to give it up”.

However, following an appeal from the duo, the judge cut their copyright infringement verdict by more than $2 million. This occurred on the basis that  “a ‘groove’ or ‘feeling’ cannot be copyrighted”, as, was argued by Thicke and Williams. This case has transfixed the music world because it raises questions as to when a song can be considered plagiarized and when it merely serves as inspiration.

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Original Meme

The dispute brings about the notion of intellectual property rights. Before copyright anyone could freely copy, modify, or sell content. Before copyright, the notion of property related only to owning land with the thought of owning ideas considered absurd. Now days this is almost impossible, with industries and corporations seeking control over content, ideas and all possible uses of information, rendering the thought of a copyright free world, a thing of the past.

The Rise of Produsage: The Arab Spring

In February 2011, Egyptian President Mubarak resigned following weeks of protest against his regime. The Egyptian Revolution, A.K.A the January 25 Revolution, was sparked following “calls for protests from online youth groups.” The protests, organised solely via social media, specifically Twitter, led to clashes between security and dissidents, causing 846 casualties and over 6,000 injuries. Social media played a key role in these demonstrations across the Middle East and North Africa, which became known as the Arab Spring, effectively leading to the overhaul of governments in countries inclusive of Egypt.

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Credit: Justiceinconflict.org

In recent times, there has been a paradigm shift from consumption to production, with the term ‘Produsage’ becoming popularized. Produsage can be described as ‘the writing readers’ or ‘the viewers who picked up a camera”. It is all about giving media users the ability to produce content, and in the case of the Arab Spring, the personal use of social media in order to spark a revolution.

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Orignal Meme

Social media users have initiated the transition from Monologic media, such as television, whereby the process of receiving information comes in the form of dissemination, to the use of Dialogic media, like Twitter, that allows for the transformation from dissemination to dialogue and conversation. This shift allows for such insurgent activity as the Arab Spring to spread both rapidly and successfully.

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Credit: Thedailybeast.com

Bieber Fever vs Fanloids

Last Wednesday, I attended, for the fourth time, Justin Bieber‘s Australian tour. As a 13 year old in 2011, I was mesmerised by the pop star, labelling him a genius. Now, as an 18 year old, I have come to realise that, perhaps, this is not the case.

An accurate depiction of my opinion then vs now:

When comparing Justin Bieber (a mainstream pop sensation), to the likes of Japanese Vocaloid, Hatsune Miku (the result of object animation), we begin to recognise the difference between craft and commodity. Justin Bieber is, very much, a result of mass production and commodification, having become somewhat more of a brand than an individual. He is surrounded by entities that exercise control to, ultimately, profit from the brand, that is, Justin Bieber himself. This trend of the ‘assembly line‘ results in the production of certainty, leaving little room for creativity and consumer engagement.

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Hatsune Miku is an open source that allows for infinite customisation through collaboration, the result is the production of risk and uncertainty in the name of craftsmanship and advocation for the changing meaning of craft in a time of digital mediation.

Thus, when a product is standardised it is targeted at the masses and loses the value of craftsmanship, but when a product is customisable, it is for the individual.

Everything can be fixed with a hammer

The medium is the message” a simple, yet profoundly appealing phrase.

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Marshall McLuhan, an actor turned sociologist, published, in 1964, ‘Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man‘, from which, the above quote is extracted.

Fascinated by print and newly invented television media, he asserted that the message is not the content of the television shows but, the way in which, innovative forms of media expressed something about man’s character and psyche. This rings true with today’s media platforms, inclusive of Facebook, Snap Chat and Netflix, of which, provide the idea that man is constantly striving for convenience with the production of new mediums.

In ‘Understanding media’, McLuhan uses the hammer as an example of a tangible object (medium) by which, man has been able to express himself beyond the physical limitations of the body. That is, his body could not hammer a hard nail into a piece of timber, but his mind could convey such things. Thus, the medium of the hammer represents the message, of which, is the determination of man to build and dominate his surroundings.

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(THE WORLD MAKES SENSE AGAIN)

Likewise, TV and print mediums portray key elements of man’s desire to express self and communicate to a broader audience. Considering the technologies available in McLuhan’s lifetime, imagine how he would have felt about YouTube, Snap chat and, of course, the proliferation of Facebook.

Hey Macklemore! Can we go thrift shopping?

When it comes to the prospect of the Digital Artefact, i have been struggling to fabricate a concept that i can see myself being able to spend an entire semesters worth of time on without ultimately becoming bored and/or hating it.

In consideration of topics that both interested me and were appropriate to base a digital artefact upon, i formulated a list of my favourite past times and hobbies inclusive of:

  • Makeup artistry
  • Fashion
  • Animals
  • Sight Seeing
  • Watching movies
  • Listening to some good tunes

Taking into account, the fact that each of my interests already had a large online presence in the form of already generated digital artefacts, I chose to steer clear of these ideas and have settled upon something i believe could do with more media coverage.

For a number of years i have participated in the nonchalant art of Thrift Shopping a.k.a Op Shopping.  Buying recycled clothing has never been as much fun as sifting through masses of musky smelling t shirts and over warn levi high wasteds or “Passin’ up on those moccasins someone else’s been walkin’ in”

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On average i would usually visit my local op shops around once a month. With the digital artefact in mind, i hope to visit one thrift shop each week and portray how easy it can be to dress fashionably on a uni student budget.

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Each week i will post a segment on whatever platform i decide to use, whether that be youtube, Instagram, Tumblr or a website, titled Thrift Haul Thursdays on which i will post images of the purchases i make at each store and review the store, pricing and range of items to choose from. I also hope to list a range of thrift stores around my local area and greater Sydney in order to create exposure for the thrift store trend. These segments may have themes in terms of what particular items in am shopping for, for example; winter items, clubbing items or summer fashion items. Despite believing you should never go to a thrift store looking for something particular, I believe having certain categories will entice more interest and make my platform/ digital artefact easier to navigate.

I am hoping to decide upon a platform and a name within the next week, and with that, i bid you farewell my friends.

Wish me luck on my digital artefact endeavours.