Remix: Introducing Open Source Cinema

One of the side benefits of my recent participation in the CASCA-AES conference in Vancouver was to learn that a phrase I developed as a short hand for some of my own work, “open source cinema,” was a phrase already in use, referring to a concept already in circulation, and indeed an entire site is devoted to it, Open Source Cinema, that coincidentally seems to have been the inspiration of another Canadian, Brett Gaylor, who also happens to be in Montreal.  OSC has received the support of the Canadian Film Fund and the National Film Board of Canada. (Also see Brett Gaylor on Twitter, and maybe join the Remix group on Facebook.)

I am very thankful to an enthusiastic and energetic Mike Taylor, who happened to be in the audience on the panel in which I spoke in Vancouver, for bringing all of this to my attention, and for very kindly producing a DVD copy of RIP: A Remix Manifesto (see below) for me and sending it along through one of the undergraduate anthropology student volunteers at the University of British Columbia. What I want to do here is simply collect and present the range of videos that follow from the manifesto, with the ulterior motive of suggesting that this could be an exciting new phase in visual anthropology, that also intersects my interests in “open anthropology” and in forms of knowledge (re)production that run against the scales of the national security surveillance reptile and against the tentacles of the market octopus — speaking as a rat of course.

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RiP: A remix manifesto is an open source documentary about copyright and remix culture. Created over a period of six years, the film features the collaborative remix work of hundreds of people who have contributed to this website, helping to create the world’s first open source documentary.” This segment also introduces us to Girl Talk.

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Copyright versus Copyleft.

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Culture Always Builds on the Past: “So if Muddy Waters built on the blues, and Led Zeppelin built on Muddy Waters, what’s wrong with Girl Talk building on all of it?”

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Asking Permission: “What do you think would happen if Girl Talk asked permission to sample from the people who own the history of music?”

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The Past Tries to Control the Future: “The Internet was not the first technology to disrupt a few business models. From the printing press to the player piano, one generation is always calling the next a pirate.”

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Preachers, Lawyers and Criminals: “Larry Lessig has been travelling the globe for over a decade trying to convince the world the re-think copyright. We asked him for some legal advice.”

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Open Source Cinema: “Today’s remixers are building a new literacy – and they’re leaning on a tradition much older than Girl Talk.”

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The King of Remix: “Walt Disney, the biggest remixer of all, built an empire from remixing fairy tales from the public domain. So why won’t he let anyone do to Mickey Mouse what he did to the Brothers Grimm?”

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Culture Jam! — “Remixers are fighting back – meet Negativland, the original Culture Jammers. “

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Our Culture is Becoming Less Free: “In the US, copyright laws are allowing record companies to sue preachers, single moms and even dead people. And the entire world is being pressured to adopt this approach to intellectual property – even in the Great White North.”

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Back in the People’s Hands: “The Internet may be a beacon of piracy for some, but for many musicians, it is providing them access to a whole world of fans. The music industry is evolving, and in the process, providing a road map for all areas of our culture.”

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Which Road to the Future? “So what kind of a future do we want? One that looks like Brazil, where a balance has been struck between intellectual property and the public domain, or the one in which we are living in North America, where we have to beg permission to build on the past?”

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The Revolution Will Be Digitized: “The future is ours to determine, and we could all learn a little from the Mouse Liberation Front. “

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