Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

Fresh & New(er) header image 2

SF Film Festival Video Remix Project

April 24th, 2006 by Seb Chan

The San Francisco Film Festival has teamed up with Yahoo to allow people to ‘remix’ films from the festival. All online. Its quite amazing.

Take a look at the remixes and try it yourself.

The program allows Festival Web site visitors to reedit, repurpose, remix and mash up an array of clips from selected Festival films. Remixes are then posted back to the site for others to view and enjoy.

Apart from being a total hoot and a chance for people to mess around with the films that they have come to know through the SFIFF 49, the program does have a historical-cultural angle as well. These days, academic types would call the International Remix media mashups “social media” or “user-generated content”.

The program also pays homage to a lineage of cut-and-paste sensibilities that pervade modern media aesthetics, echoing many experiments in cut-up artistic practice such as Kuleshov, Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov’s film tests and Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray’s Dadaist use of ready-mades and absurd juxtapositions. These early experiments (and others like them) helped pave the way for the powerful artistic concept known as montage, which itself has been repurposed and remixed over the years through contemporary practices such as pastiche aesthetics, collage and mashups, which, in turn, owe a huge debt to the breakout of hip-hop turntablism in the early 1970s.

It is in the spirit of such unexpected, vital and fun innovations that we offer you International Remix. This program was developed in collaboration with Yahoo! Research Berkeley and the Institute for Next Generation Internet at San Francisco State University. Besides the online gallery, a selection of the best remixes will screen at Edinburgh Castle.

I wonder what permissions were required from the filmmakers to do this – its a very clever thing and plays off the idea of social media, audience co-creation. Could this ever happen in Australia?

I’m not so sure after the kerfuffle over the Australian Film Commission funding a project (Mod Films’ sci-fi remixable film The Sanctuary) that is to be released under Creative Commons because of moral rights issues (which, don’t exist in the US). See 7.9 and 7.10 below.

Is this an unintended consequence? Moral rights have a long history in Europe and there are plenty of very good justifications for them – not least being the ability of rights holders to refuse the use of their work in exploitative ways.

Moral rights in Australia –

Moral rights

7.7 The Copyright Act also provides creators with certain non-economic rights known as moral rights. They are the right of attribution of authorship of one’s work, (the right to be named in connection with one’s work), the right against false attribution of authorship and the right of integrity of authorship (the right to object to treatment of one’s work that has a detrimental effect on one’s reputation).

7.8 Moral rights apply to all works and films (and works as included in films) that were in existence and still in copyright on 21 December 2000 and all works and films (but not sound recordings) created after that date.

7.9 An author’s right of integrity of authorship in respect of a film is limited to the author’s lifetime. In all other cases, moral rights endure for the term of copyright.

7.10 Due to the personal nature of moral rights, they may not be assigned (ie given away to another) or licensed. It is, however, possible for an author to provide a written consent in relation to certain treatment of his or her work that might otherwise constitute an infringement of moral rights.

7.11 A range of remedies is available for an infringement of moral rights. These include an order for damages, an injunction or a public apology. The Copyright Act provides a general reasonableness defence to actions for infringement of the right of integrity of authorship and the right of attribution of authorship. It also provides specific defences to actions for infringement of the right of integrity of authorship in relation to certain treatment of buildings and moveable artistic works.

(from Attorney General’s Department, Australian Government)

Tags: 1 Comment