Art, Mashups / Remixes, Music, Video

100 days, 100 songs, 100 locations, 100 dances, + Other SXSW Discoveries

SXSW 09I’ve spent the past few days traversing the wilds of the SXSW Interactive conference. In the process my brain’s been filling up with way too much information.

Yesterday’s keynote conversation between Graffiti Research LabsJames Powderly and the New York Times’ Virginia Heffernan was a highlight which imparted tidbits of wisdom from Powderly like:

Technology, as it approaches, becomes a level of magic.

Transgression only works if there are only a few transgressors.

And that he only calles himself an “artist” when dealing with the cops. Otherwise he’s a “prankster.”

This morning I went to a panel called “New Threats to New Media: Fair Use On Trial” Durring which the following video was shown for us to ponder and discuss:

BOOMBOX: 100 days, 100 songs, 100 locations, 100 dances

[vimeo 3237836]

Hilarious! This had the whole room laughing, which made it difficult for panelist Ben Sheffner (Special Counsel at John McCain 2008) to defend his side of the argument (this is not fair use of music). Actually, Sheffner even seemed to agree that the music in this video is protected as parody under fair use because it made everyone laugh.

This got everyone talking about issues around getting artists some of the revenue that’s being generated by ads and ISPs. How ’bout some cash for Ely Kim, the artist behind this video, in addition to Blondie, MIA and the other artists involved. Food for thought as I sit here listening to Wired editor Chris Anderson (The Long Tail) speak about why free ($0.00) is the future of business.

But I really just wanted to share that video with you ’cause it’s so awesome!

4 thoughts on “100 days, 100 songs, 100 locations, 100 dances, + Other SXSW Discoveries

  1. say hi to James Powderly for me! cool guy!

    and that’s a great observation about the music making people laugh and thus it’s protected. Sort of should make people think… how can a machine know if a song is making people laugh? therefore how can copyright enforcement be automated (because what program can understand parody)?

    also even more deeply this is a great thing to think about because it gets at the value of music in a social context. IT might not be parody, but it makes people happy, creates a feeling that is so undeniably good that it’s hard to tell people they are in the wrong. Even that guy might have to face up to the reality that when a law destroys fellowship and good feeling, it might be time to change the law. I think it would be phony to say that the law as it stands will always support good feelings (as much as legal activists try to use the law this way) – I think the law is going to have to change, and we are going to have to decide how far we want the law to reach into our lives, since technology is bringing it in further than ever before.

    whew. sorry about the rant. I will prolly turn this into a blog post soon!

  2. “Actually, Sheffner even seemed to agree that the music in this video is protected as parody under fair use because it made everyone laugh.”

    Not exactly. I don’t think this use of music is a fair use, and certainly not because it’s a parody (which I don’t think it is).

    The point I was *trying* to make about the laughter was a semi-serious point about how many people (especially non-lawyers) decide at a gut level whether a use is fair: If they watch it and laugh, they think it’s a fair use. That’s not the law, but I think it accurately describes how many people do their fair use “analysis.”


    Ben Sheffner

  3. Good point, Ben. It’s not parody. He’s not making fun of the music at all. He’s enjoying it deeply. It seems to me that it should be fair use as comment though, as he points out how much fun the music can be.

    If it’s not fair use at all then ripley’s right. The laws need to change. As I mention above, I do think we need a system that allows for payment of all the artists involved, but I don’t think that system should stifle creativity in the process.

Comments are closed.