EFF and Everything is a Remix want you to ask the Copyright Office for the right to remix

Hughillustration sez, "Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, video artists who break the encryption on a DVD or sample online steaming videos could face legal threats - even if the video they create is considered fair use. We think that's nuts. Kirby Ferguson, creator of Everything is a Remix, is standing with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in fighting for the right to create remix videos. Please sign Kirby's letter below and stand up for the rights of video artists."

Dear Ms. Pallante,

From high school students creating videos for classroom assignments to activists and journalists sampling videos for political commentary, remix videos offer creative ways to educate, empower, entertain, and politicize people around the world.

But this creative expression is threatened by legal uncertainty. Three years go, the Copyright Office agreed to create an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act so that creators could break DVD encryption to sample video clips. But that exemption is about to expire, opening up the possibility of legal threats against video artists like us.

Please defend our right to remix videos and grant the exemptions proposed. Renew the exemption that lets video artists break encryption on DVDs in order to use video clips in primarily noncommercial videos. And please go one step further and extend those rights to cover Internet videos, like paid downloads and streaming videos not available on DVD. The Internet is fast becoming the major medium for video, and video often appears on Internet services long before -- or instead of -- a DVD release...

Rip. Mix. Make. (Thanks, Hughillustration!)


  1. Please tell them to correct the typo.  “Three years go” should read “Three years ago.”  I’ve added my name, but I want to make sure the letter is typo-free so it can be taken seriously.

  2. I completely support the intentions of this letter, but I think the tone of the letter is unlikely to win support among its intended recipients (lawmakers). He should use concrete examples of actual cases of fair use where the maker could be prosecuted under new restrictions. I feel like the “Free Justin Beiber” campaign was successful because it pointed out a real situation that everyone, including lawmakers, could relate to, and clearly expressed the feeling of injustice.

    Also the link posted to https doesn’t work, but http does.

  3. I humbly present Joseph Albers, Theo Jansen, and Ed Fella as counter examples to the phrase “everything is a remix.”  Each spent decades of work, self reflection, and insight to produce culture radically different than what came before. Yes they new their history, yes they didn’t live in a vacuum, but no their work is not a remix, copy, barrow, or steal.

  4. Okay, time to get booed off the island but honestly, I don’t really see the argument. 

    Most of the time a remix is interesting is because of the fame of the thing being remixed. Sure the remixer maybe a genius but the remix would not be anything if it wasn’t for the popularity of the original media. It’s exactly that fame, the popularity of the original that gives it value and arguably why it should be protected from remixing … without permission.

    Even Creative Common has several versions that don’t allow remixing.

  5. ‘remix’ is not art, it is more like taking someone else’s paint by the numbers picture, and swapping in your own color palatte.  If you can’t create original music, maybe you should stick to your day job.

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