NYC Re/Mixed Media Festival 2010: Paying it forward

Re/Mixed NYC 2010

A new film festival is starting up in New York City, and it's friendly to Free Culture:

"The Re/Mixed Media Festival celebrates remix as a legitimate, responsible form of visual art by bringing together filmmakers, video remixers and mashup artists to display their works publicly. The festival will be held in Brooklyn, NY in May of 2010... We are currently soliciting films that utilize remix/mashup techniques, and that are under 10 minutes in length. Additionally, your film should comply with the following guidelines:

  1. Remix does not mean stealing someone else's work and claiming it as your own, but using it to create a work that is substantially different from the appropriated work, even if it depends heavily on it.
  2. The materials used in the remix should be either owned by the artist, granted permission from use from the creator, licensed under a creative commons license which allows such use, in the public domain, or fall within the parameters of the Fair Use doctrine of U.S. Copyright Law.
  3. Attribution for works used will be given where required.
  4. To be considered for the festival, submitted works must be freely redistributable, except as limited by source material restrictions.

(Emphasis added.)

It's very encouraging to see point 4! That's "freely" as in "freedom", if my brief conversation about it with with Tom Tenney, one of the organizers of the festival, is any guide. It's great that the festival is ensuring that the works they show be freely useable by others — remix artists, of all people, understand the importance of this. And as the Sita Distribution Project is showing, being pro-sharing can actually help the artists economically.

About point 2 the festival has no choice, of course. Current law gives grants monopolies on culture; we all have to work with that as best we can, until we can change the law.

Point 1 is interesting: it seems to imply a danger that a remixer might accidentally (or on purpose?) get credit for someone else's work. Does that really happen often in practice? I would think not, but maybe the remix community has had some bad experiences...