Re: Christianity and copyright law
Dang, Nickel! You are awesome! heheh
I just have to chime in too, seeing as I’ve had a lot of experience with the ‘recording & movie industry’ trying to get permissions and clearance on various samples, snippets and vocals…
Let me state, right off the top, that this argument will always lose for me in the long run. It cannot stand up against the cunning and ruthless culture-killing personalities that write and pass laws these days. But this is the point – that the issue is not about whether ‘remixing’ other artists’ music is legal but whether or not legality is based on morality and fairness?
I believe there is no abuse, misuse or even any immorality in my decision to reinvent older Christian tracks into completely new works. As an artist who focuses my creativity in the realm of electronic dance music, by choosing the Christian material from rock and contemporary genres, and remixing them into electronic dance works, I am actually doing more “good”. Where a contemporary Christian track might originally only attract a contemporary audience, a remix appeals to a different segment in addition to the original audience, thereby widening the listenership. It also serves to renew interest in the original artist and their music by re-establishing the original song again, years after it may have waned from popularity.
I’m willing to bet if I could even ask permission from the original artists, themselves, that they would allow me to do this! The problem with this, however, is that artists don’t get to make the call anymore. Most don’t even own the rights to their music anymore. The media giants control and own all aspects of a successful artist’s image, promotion and music. In my experience with seeking “clearances”, the industry has widely adopted and instituted a default behaviour of automatic denial of permission. The phrase that Century Fox gave me me was, “a general policy of non-cooperation with requests of this nature. But don’t take my word for it… See what other producers have found as well!
Essentially, the ‘law’ says you need to have permissions and clearance which as I’ve shown is impossible if the answer is known beforehand to be, “NO”. So, no remixes should exist outside of officially licensed ones. Hardly conducive to the creative ideals and atmospheres that musicians hold dear.
Many ‘remixers’ believe they fall under the protective banner of “fair-use” forms of copyright. “Fair-use” is characterized by the lack of commercial gain from their remixed copies, as well as the non-competitive nature of their derivative works. The record industry has succeeded in altering the legal definition of “illegal” music to include instances of fair-use copying because of the perceived financial losses from such. As mentioned already, I have shown I am no threat to their revenues, and indeed they should be thanking me. Instead, I am a pirate? When music is a business, music fans are simply “consumers” in an economical sense. I would remind everyone that music is a medium that is actively used in a social context. Mash-up and remix artists seek to “co-opt commercial products and restore the interactive nature of art to stimulate proactive listening, social engagement and collaborate practices.” (http://www.nowpublic.com/bex0r) The question must be asked, is the remix culture a blight to humanity? Or is it contributing something? Is it a parasitic subculture, or is it actually meshed into the broader culture and part of our everyday life? I advocate that treating it with disdain, like the music industry does, is a grave mistake and a sign of gross ignorance.
So to sum up… the problem isn’t illegal behaviour, so much as it is we have bad laws. Laws used to be great, when the people had a direct hand in their making…. it was FOR THE PEOPLE. Now, it is for the highest bidder, so to speak. I didn’t really want to play this card, but consider the worth of a law that says you can’t organize or plant a church (as it is in many Asian countries). Consider the value of a law that says it is legal for a woman to be subjected to ‘whatever’ forcibly against her will. Ultimately, it is up to us to keep law and order, and to ensure law represents the people.