Illegal Art

From Beyonce to the Beastie Boys, who would have thought the combination would result a in a world wide phenomenon of mashups.

Remix culture has resulted in the evolutionary shift of audience participation “from nothing more than a giant maw at the end of the mass media’s long conveyor belt, the all-absorbing Yin to mass media’s all producing Yang”, to the new participatory culture of produsage.

Girl Talk, an infamous musical genius, is at the forefront of the mashup world, with numerous remixes and albums. Girl Talk has chosen an interesting way of distributing his music, all music is available online for free, and in numerous formats. However, Girl Talk’s albums are priced using ‘pay-what-you-want’ pricing, therefore, users can pay the minimum price required, or pay higher prices if they want to support Girl Talk.

Girl Talk’s music has inspired both controversy and a worldwide loyal fan-base. Criticism has risen over Girl Talk’s undeniable success, as copyfighters suggest that Girl Talk’s music falls under copyright laws, as Girl Talk does not pay royalties, nor does he get the permission off artists to use their music.

Gillis (Girl Talk) argues that the evolution of media has resulted in consumers transforming media into an artform, and that current laws are inhibiting the flow of culture and music. Gillis believes that legalities are restricting the possibility for an open exchange of media in various ways.

Copyright laws, I believe, are unclear and not current with the rapid changing media and technology culture. It is unclear whether mashups, like Girl Talk, are helping or inhibiting the music environment. For example, Girl Talk’s mashups use snippets of popular culture songs, which can be almost impossible to pin-point in his music, conversely, mashups and remixing is encouraging the new culture of produsage.


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