Remix culture is based upon using existing material in order to manipulate, add, edit or reassemble ones work; this is known as remixing. You manipulate material in order to make it your own, whether the remix be based on images, videos or music it must be transformative – transforming the old (original) into new and modifying them into a different form; leading into creating a derivative work. As it is based on using other people’s work, the topic upon legal rights may be of conversation.
Derivative work can link into remix, as it basically means when an original source has been used in order to create a new production which can also be copyrightable. But as derivative works are based on an original content you must either use your own work to improve or ‘remix’, or ask permission from the original creator. You can only use their work if permission has been granted to you by the author; if it hasn’t it can be seen as an infringement to the work/creator.
Copyright owners don’t get given unlimited control over their work, as some content can be used as ‘fair use’. An act of copyright ‘fair use’ - gives people the permission to use copyrighted material within certain ways and following specific terms; meaning it is not necessary to ask or get permission from the owner themselves. Fair use is based on the purpose of your content; it is only permitted to use copyrighted material in cases such as: private study, instruction/examination, criticism/review, news reporting, incidental inclusion or for creating an accessible copy for the visual impaired.
Each of these 7 factors, contain conditions within them that must followed in order for your work to be classified as an act of ‘fair use’. For example some may not allow commercial use, when other factors may be permitted to use it publicly. Though it is very important that the material you use is following its purpose, and for material not to be overly used if not necessary. More about this can be found
Leaving ‘fair use’ aside people can also remix work due to the many free open source software’s available. This gives people the opportunity to share their work with others as well as giving them the permission to improve, tweak, and reassemble and redistribute someone’s work (within reason, depending on the type of (CC) license permitted). Unlike all of the above if work has been put into the public domain then it is considered free to the public. This due to that fact as it isn’t protected by any type of license/law (copyright, creative commons etc). Therefore anything from text, to music, paintings, images, and videos that have been put under the public domain can be used without permission. Only modified and remixed versions of work in the public domain have the right to be copyrighted; meaning the original content will still stay under the public domain for anyone to use freely.

This to me is an illustration of how old technology is the base of new media today. If we look back at a time when digital technology didn’t exist; we would realise that art was most likely to be done by hand, for example portraits, and sculptures. In those days wealthy people were most likely to hire an artist to paint a portrait of them. Two examples as shown below - a painting of a man (1846) sitting on what looks like a leather chair in a Victorian suit; and a photograph (1870) of a man in a similar surrounding, also wearing a Victorian suit. The point I am trying to illustrate is that, although you may be using a different medium to portray something, the value of the original piece still exists within the new piece itself. In this particular example it would be that the photograph (new media) includes a very similar surrounding to the painting - with classy furniture as well as the suit.
Bringing this topic back to remixing, I would say that a remix uses the traditional value of creating a montage. This is because the concept of a traditional montage – cut/copy and paste is being built upon to create new media. This in my view demonstrates the impact of the past in the present today. It also shows how without sometimes realising, we’re applying concepts that were once used in the past by different movements to create contemporary artwork today.
Zainab Itani
Remix examples:
The original film ‘Mary Poppins’ is a children’s musical film. It is based about a ‘magical’ nanny that helps a man with his two children. The nanny – called Mary Poppins plays a very helpful, kind and motherly character. Whereas this remix contradicts the original film, as it has been made to show Mary Poppins as an evil woman that tortures children. Therefore this links to fair use as it is transformative compared to the original.
Gregg Michael Gillis, commonly known as 'Girl Talk' specialises in sampling music. He takes a mixture of 10 or more different songs and cuts out certain part in order to reassemble them together. Meaning he would have created a track by remixing short samples from different songs; which you can also download for free.
Lawrence Lessig – one of the most important and known supporters of free software gives us his opinion on remixing, and the freedom that should come with it. He explains his opinions in this video. To go to his website, were you can find online books and more information on remix culture please click
What Is Remix?
CutUp collective is a group based in London whose work concentrates on collage, installations, and film. They are mainly known for recreating billboards to reassembling advertisement posters at bus shelters. CutUp’s billboards are recreated by using/recycling previous advertisement posters, which are then cut in to even size rectangles. Once the amount of rectangles needed are gathered, they start to assemble the pieces together in order to create a new image. There work is based upon freedom, inspiration, and meaning to raise awareness to the everyday London society. This is known as a type of remix as they are using an existing piece to rearrange the original. The original material that is being used to create the billboards becomes undiscoverable as it has now a completely different meaning and format.
Collaborative Filmmaking