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04 march 08 :: SkewTube @ Swarthmore


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Fanvids, or music videos constructed of recombined clips from movies or TV, have a 30-year history within a predominantly female subculture, and often make feminist and/or queer statements about their mass media source texts. Today, YouTube and its ilk render them more accessible and visible than ever before. The maturation of internet video sharing has enabled a riot of cross-pollination among moving image mashups, but this "mainstreaming" also carries the risk of detaching nuanced artworks from their interpretive context and diluting their vital underground community. Meanwhile, the media industry is becoming increasingly attuned to such fan production, both as lucrative promotional labor (when harnessed as "user-generated content") and as a target of takedown notices (when conducted outside proprietary control). Is profit the only axis of legitimacy for popular appropriations, and can queer viewing be monetized? Why is it that you've seen more Brokeback Mountain parodies than fanvids? Why does this material so often get TOSsed from YouTube, and what can you do about it? Finally, what can fanvids teach us about grassroots queer media, and about how to nurture it for the 21st century?

Published in: Economy & Finance, Education
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04 march 08 :: SkewTube @ Swarthmore

  1. 1. SkewTube Fan Videos, Brokeback Trailers, and the Future of User-Penetrated Content [ Swarthmore College, 04 March 2008 ]
  2. 2. Julie Levin Russo ‘01 Brown University Modern Culture & Media
  3. 3.
  4. 4. digital video >> • YouTube Poop • mass media mashups • participatory promotions
  5. 5. ? <ul><li>How will industry and audiences negotiate a balance between creativity and control? </li></ul><ul><li>Who decides what content is commodifiable? </li></ul><ul><li>Is commercial production the most legitimate production? </li></ul>
  6. 6. : <ul><li>you don't go up there to fish (slash goggles) </li></ul><ul><li>if you’re looking for work (user-generated promotions) </li></ul><ul><li>it's nobody's business but ours (fan videos) </li></ul><ul><li>if you can't fix it, you gotta stand it (best practices) </li></ul><ul><li>I wish I knew how to quit you! </li></ul>
  7. 7. 1) you don’t go up there to fish slash goggles
  8. 9. (October 2005)
  9. 10. slash goggles (personal collection)
  10. 11. Technical Specifications <ul><li>genre </li></ul><ul><li>narrative </li></ul><ul><li>characterization (stereotypes) </li></ul><ul><li>visual codes (e.g. framing) </li></ul><ul><li>“ subtext” (gazes, body language) </li></ul><ul><li>metatext (behind-the-scenes trivia and speculation) </li></ul>
  11. 12. incomplete list of popular Brokeback trailers <ul><li>Brokeback to the Future </li></ul><ul><li>Brokeback Hogwarts </li></ul><ul><li>Brokeback Mount Doom ( LoTR ) </li></ul><ul><li>Brokeback Squadron ( Top Gun ) </li></ul><ul><li>Brokeback Island ( Lost ) </li></ul><ul><li>Brokeback Anatomy ( Grey’s Anatomy ) </li></ul><ul><li>Brokeback Snake Mountain ( He-Man ) </li></ul><ul><li>Broke Mac Mountain (Mac/PC) </li></ul>
  12. 13.
  13. 14. 2) if you’re looking for work user-generated promotions
  14. 15.
  15. 16. contradictions you’re a tech-savvy internet based producer you’re a TV groupie who wants TPTB’s attention and approval be “original” and don’t infringe copyright promote the show, using its “look and sound” and other recognizable characteristics
  16. 17. Terms and Conditions <ul><li>you are granting SCI FI, its licensees, successor and assigns, the perpetual and irrevocable, non-exclusive right and license to (a) reproduce, distribute, display, exhibit, host, cache, store, archive, index, categorize, comment on, tag, transmit, broadcast, stream, edit, alter, modify, synchronize with visual material, create algorithms based thereon, and transcode the Submission to appropriate media formats, standards or mediums... throughout the world in perpetuity, in any and all media, whether now existing or hereafter devised... </li></ul>
  17. 18.
  18. 19. 3) it’s nobody’s business but ours fan videos
  19. 20.
  20. 21. from “Pressure” by California Crew (circa 1990)
  21. 23. “ Closer” by Killa + T. Jonesy
  22. 24. fake trailers vs. slash vids effective humor > broad appeal > quantifiable popularity shared openly on YouTube; considered public accessible with a minimum of pop culture knowledge parodic narrative editing; soundtrack + narration + dialogue fragments effective communication > community recognition > feedback + joy values shared via subcultural channels; considered semi-private context speaking to a specific interpretive community audience sincere, at least on one level; deeply invested in the source tone balance narrative, textual associations, + spectacle; song as audio track form
  23. 25. “ Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by Laura Shapiro
  24. 27. 4) if you can’t fix it, you gotta stand it best practices
  25. 29. Terms of Service <ul><li>YouTube does not permit copyright infringing activities and infringement of intellectual property rights on its Website, and YouTube will remove all Content and User Submissions if properly notified that such Content or User Submission infringes on another's intellectual property rights. YouTube reserves the right to remove Content and User Submissions without prior notice... If you believe that your User Submission that was removed (or to which access was disabled) is not infringing... you may send a counter-notice... </li></ul>
  26. 30. FAQ about Copyright and Fair Use <ul><li>the fair use of a copyrighted work... is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include — </li></ul><ul><li>the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; </li></ul><ul><li>the nature of the copyrighted work; </li></ul><ul><li>the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and </li></ul><ul><li>the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. </li></ul>
  27. 31. “ Recut, Reframe, Recycle: Quoting Copyrighted Material in User-Generated Video,” by Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi <ul><li>“ many uses of copyrighted material in today’s online videos are eligible for fair use consideration... [and] could be legal” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Unfortunately, this emerging, participatory media culture is at risk, with new industry practices to control piracy... Legal as well as illegal copying could all too easily disappear. Worse still, a new generation of media makers could grow up with a deformed and truncated notion of their rights as creators.” </li></ul>
  28. 32. “ Fair Use Principles for User Generated Video Content” <ul><li>A Wide Berth for Transformative, Creative Uses </li></ul><ul><li>Filters Must Incorporate Protections for Fair Use </li></ul><ul><li>DMCA Notices Required for Removals </li></ul><ul><li>Notice to Users upon DMCA Takedown </li></ul><ul><li>Informal &quot;Dolphin Hotline” </li></ul><ul><li>Mandatory Reinstatement upon Counter-notice or Retraction </li></ul>
  29. 33.
  30. 34. 5) I wish I knew how to quit you! conclusion
  31. 35. ? <ul><li>How will industry and audiences negotiate a balance between creativity and control? </li></ul><ul><li>Who decides what content is commodifiable? </li></ul><ul><li>Is commercial production the most legitimate production? </li></ul>
  32. 36. ? <ul><li>Can queer viewing be monetized? Do we want it to be? </li></ul>