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    ACTRA Rep Says Mashups "Morally Wrong"

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    Thursday November 03, 2011
    ACTRA is in Ottawa this week for one of its regular lobbying efforts. Copyright will undoubtedly form part of the effort and will apparently include an unexpected issue. Leah Pinsent is fighting against the Bill C-11 mashup provision, which allows Canadians to create new works for non-commercial purposes with attribution. Pinsent argues that mashups are "morally wrong" and constitute a form of plagiarism. For a different perspective, see RIP: A Remix Manifesto, one of the most critically lauded films on remix and mashup, funded by the National Film Board and created by Montreal's Brett Gaylor. Alternatively, see the mashup created by Toronto's Josh Raskin, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2008 for his animated short film I Met The Walrus.
    Comments (12)add comment

    Crockett said:

    Sliced strawberries with that ?
    I notice Pinset is upset at Minister Moore refusing to see their delegation, essentially not willing to listen to points of view outside what is already set in Bill C-11.

    Get in line.

    This legislation, in my opinion, was created more by peeing in everyone's cornflakes than really trying to solve the tough issues of our changing digital culture and economy.

    On the specific issue of mash-ups I think it is a matter of scope. Is taking a song and changing one word for your rendition OK? How about full song parody? And, of course, the famous dancing baby to Prince's golden tones in the background?

    The problem with this provision I think is in it's vagueness, but then how to be more specific?

    Many of the most famous paintings are 'mash-ups' of other masters styles, where do we draw the line?
    November 03, 2011

    Maurice said:

    Black and White Enough For Ya?
    There is nothing like making wholesale pronouncements about the creative process to make your position preemptively irrelevant. I agree with Crockett (above) and would amplify on the issue of scope. ACTRA members everywhere should feel like their ears were burning the moment they heard Ms. Pinsent's statement. Never mind visual artists such as painters, 'Remix' is in essence a digital media exploration of a centuries old (and formerly internalized) artistic process that all ACTRA members (if they are innovative artists) use. What has changed is how Remix is now an artistic statement in its own right in the multi-referential landscape of post-modern culture. The issue, as the movie Remix Manifesto points out, is in creative attribution and how to manage its intricacies.

    Drafting legislation that accounts for leeway between creative processes and rights management probably requires a matching level of creativity in political rhetoric--a level that this government probably isn't up to meeting, but that's democracy. The process is not helped along when special interests like ACTRA take a scorched earth approach to complex issues as if the issue existed in a contextual vacuum instead of a well trod, well understood arena of ACTRA members own understanding.

    Still, I can somewhat understand an ACTRA spokespersons moral objections to remix. Performing artists are vulnerable to Remix's ability to shift context using existing media content. Remix is a technology-driven artistic statement on the ability to synthesize new forms using disparate artistic styles. For centuries, this process was key to a performers bread and butter and in the panic of artistic mediums adopting new technologies it behoves the traditionally minded working actor, dancer, or musician to try keep that process internal just like med-evil European guilds used purity laws to tamp down competition.

    The rest of us have acknowledged the merit of this now obvious stake that authors of protected works have and the shaky ground that interpretive artists find themselves on in regards to remix. We have moved on and accepted that the concept for redress of these issue is attribution. All Ms. Pinsent is doing is showing how completely out of touch ACTRA is and leaves other parties to calculate how much time would be wasted getting ACTRA spokesperson's up to speed on these issues. Otherwise, I hope to hell this statement is purely strategic and not an actual ACTRA position.

    As for having moral objections to remix--the last word in my post goes to Marshall McLuhan when he said, "Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity."
    November 03, 2011

    Napalm said:

    ...
    Since when morality is decided by business organizations? Aren't they the ones replying "It's just business" when the people at large object against their practices?
    November 03, 2011

    Anobe said:

    ...
    "Mashups are Morally Wrong?"...Hello, people do that all the time even me. Are they trying to be self-righteous pricks? Sometimes I don't even understand these organizations' positions & stances on something only for themselves and not on behalf of others.
    November 03, 2011

    Un-Trusted Computing said:

    Ms. Pinsent...
    Ms Pinsent is clearly out of touch with the arts community and what constitutes "art".

    Perhaps ACTRA would be better served by a less future-phobic representative?
    November 04, 2011

    Justine said:

    What the?
    I don't know what to say about this... The part of the copyright bill about allowing mash-ups is possbily the best thing about it (At least for me it is...)It is a step forward in this generation where everybody is creating mash-ups and remixes. People and organizations like the ACTRA, are completly clueless about what is popular. If they have it their way, almost everyone will the crimanalized. I think we should make a step forward and a step backward in this generation!
    November 04, 2011

    Justine said:

    I should also point out...
    That creating mash-ups is a great way for aspiring artists to embrase their creativity. I personally think it admazing that one can take works from movies, music, tv, etc. and make it thier own. The mash-ups and remixes should be legal as long it's non-commerical and that the oringinal artits and given credit.

    Personally I think it would be difficult to be creative being forced to be 100% oringal, having to come up with ideas that haven't be used before, and not taking insparation from other artists.

    Throughout the ages, (dating back to before ancient Rome) people always based thier art off from somebody else. It is stupid that some people belive that doing so should be crimalized.

    I hope that the ACTRA don't get their way when the copyright bill is being passed.
    November 04, 2011

    David said:

    ...
    Pinset should get a real job. Something where she can actually contribute to Canadian society. Acting is not a real job. It is a fake profession. these actor lobbyists are a sad joke.
    November 05, 2011

    Gregg said:

    This goes farther than copyright, it's about society classes.
    Making music, your own or mashups will be a game for the rich. The young can't afford it, nor can the other 60% of us.

    Common right-wing battle cry: All poor and kids are criminals.

    Therefore all poor and youth will be stigmatized, as black people were and natives are now.

    Wonder who's going to fill the jails the Conservatives are building? Look in the mirror.... look at your children.... look at your neighbour. Because they commited a greater crime than starting an illegal war - they commited the moral crime of creativity.
    November 05, 2011

    Deepak said:

    iweballey solutions
    Since when morality is decided by business organizations? Aren't they the ones replying "It's just business" when the people at large object against their practices?


    http://www.iweballey.com/
    November 14, 2011

    bruck said:

    ...
    There is nothing like making wholesale pronouncements about the creative process to make your position preemptively irrelevant. I agree with Crockett (above) and would amplify on the issue of scope. ACTRA members everywhere should feel like their ears were burning the moment they heard Ms. Pinsent's statement. Never mind visual artists such as painters, 'Remix' is in essence a digital media exploration of a centuries old (and formerly internalized) artistic process that all ACTRA members (if they are innovative artists) use. What has changed is how Remix is now an artistic statement in its own right in the multi-referential landscape of post-modern culture. The issue, as the movie Remix Manifesto points out, is in creative attribution and how to manage its intricacies.

    Drafting legislation that accounts for leeway between creative processes and rights management probably requires a matching level of creativity in political rhetoric--a level that this government probably isn't up to meeting, but that's democracy. The process is not helped along when special interests like ACTRA take a scorched earth approach to complex issues as if the issue existed in a contextual vacuum instead of a well trod, well understood arena of ACTRA members own understanding.

    Still, I can somewhat understand an ACTRA spokespersons moral objections to remix. Performing artists are vulnerable to Remix's ability to shift context using existing media content. Remix is a technology-driven artistic statement on the ability to synthesize new forms using disparate artistic styles. For centuries, this process was key to a performers bread and butter and in the panic of artistic mediums adopting new technologies it behoves the traditionally minded working actor, dancer, or musician to try keep that process internal just like med-evil European guilds used purity laws to tamp down competition.

    The rest of us have acknowledged the merit of this now obvious stake that authors of protected works have and the shaky ground that interpretive artists find themselves on in regards to remix. We have moved on and accepted that the concept for redress of these issue is attribution. All Ms. Pinsent is doing is showing how completely out of touch ACTRA is and leaves other parties to calculate how much time would be wasted getting ACTRA spokesperson's up to speed on these issues. Otherwise, I hope to hell this statement is purely strategic and not an actual ACTRA position.

    As for having moral objections to remix--the last word in my post goes to Marshall McLuhan when he said, "Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity."


    http://www.altinkartus.com
    November 22, 2011

    Chris C. said:

    ...
    "Mashups are morally wrong" is as absurd as saying playing an instrument is morally wrong.

    Wake up, Ms Pinsent... The message IS the medium...
    December 15, 2011

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