The RiP documentary was great. I took two things away from the movie, one as a writer and the other as a teacher.
First, the point from an artist’s perspective: I don’t have a problem with mash up, except the creator–Girl Talk, for instances–cite his sources. “Here’s all the music I used to create this track.” If my name is in the credits, I’m happy. Now people can visit a bookstore and buy my book to learn more my work. With that idea in mind, mash up actually helps the musicians and writers and photographers who are featured in these works get attention. More importantly, the corporations, not the musicians, have a problem withe mash ups; it’s not from a creative perspective, but that of financial need. Why should anyone respect these corporations who don’t have a hand in the creation of the music, when it’s the band or artist who do the majority of the work, and has more talent than the company executives?
This point brings me to my second take-away, as a teacher: copyright and fair use is a huge topic in education, especially public schools. Two years ago I collaborated with a classmate to create a newsletter to parents that explained plagiarism and copyright–what students could and could not do with intellectual properties. I’m all for mash up in the classroom, unfortunately with the copyright laws, and sometimes the ambiguity of those laws, prevents my future students from exploring this side of creativity. The way around this, I think, is to have the same approach when writing research essays: students quote the author and then cite the source. Why can’t students use The Strokes in a video and cite the band in the ending credits. How are the two–essays and video–different from one another?