Friday, October 2, 2009

Remix is okay — as long as you're just in it for the attention

Caught a cool viral video made by Students at l'Université du Québec à Montréal:

Great stuff. User-generated, relevant to its generation, and it shows off their campus, fellowship and school pride. It's too bad we couldn't do this for our clients, though, because they could never afford the rights to a Black Eyed Peas song.

And there you have one of the biggest challenges to viral marketers: We're answerable to actors' unions, record labels, and in some cases the Queen herself. While individuals can, and often do, get away with violating copyright on their personal projects on YouTube and wherever. And so they should. The beauty of the we have today is that creative expression has never been as democratic, and media has never been such a meritocracy.

Where many copyright owners miss the boat, in my opinion, is strictly policing their content. If they complain to YouTube, for example, they can get the video or audio portion deleted.

As a Creative myself, I believe in an author's moral rights to preserve the integrity of his or her work. But I also think it's time to say that, as long as the original work is out there somewhere, "remix is okay":

The thing is, letting go can really spread your material in an organic way without really costing you a cent, while nuking every unauthorized use of your material just seems small-minded these days. I understand not wanting to let some adman make money off your work. But what could harm can a bunch of attention-seeking kids do?

So, will the Peas' record label kill one of the best — free — promo campaigns the band has ever had? Stay tuned.

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