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Oct. 13th, 2014

keyboard

DMCA exemption: worse than cleaning the tub

(Title courtesy of [tumblr.com profile] devildoll because OMG so true.)

Already cross-posted lots of places, but here's one final reminder!

The OTW's Fan Video & Multimedia Committee is once again working with the Legal Committee and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to petition for a DMCA exemption granting vidders, AMV makers, and other creators of noncommercial remix video the right to break copy protection on media files. In 2010, we won the right to rip DVDs; in 2012, we got that exemption renewed and expanded to include digital downloads (iTunes, Amazon Unbox, etc.). In 2015, we'll be pushing to add Blu-Ray—and, of course, to renew the exemptions we've already won in the last two rounds of DMCA rulemaking.

And we need your help to do it! If you make or watch vids, AMVs, or other forms of fan video, we need you to tell us:

1. Why making fan videos is a transformative and creative act;
2. Why video makers need high-quality source;
3. Why video makers need to be able to manipulate source (change speed and color, add effects, etc.);
4. Why video makers need fast access to source (such as using iTunes downloads rather than waiting for DVDs);
5. Why video makers need to be able to use Blu-Ray;
6. Why video makers need to be able to use streaming sources; and
7. Anything else you think we should keep in mind as we work on the exemption proposal.

We're also looking for vids that we should add to the Fair Use Test Suite, and we'd love to have your suggestions.

If you have thoughts about any or all of these topics, you can comment on this post OR contact me (Tisha) directly at tisha dot turk at gmail dot com or fanvideo-chair at transformativeworks dot org, or email the Legal Committee at legal at transformativeworks dot org. You don't have to use your real name; we can use your name or pseudonym or describe you anonymously as "a vidder" or "a fan video artist."

The DMCA is U.S. copyright law and only directly affects U.S. vidders, but it does potentially have ripple effects outside the U.S.: Strong DMCA exemptions help send the message that fan creativity should be protected everywhere. With that in mind, please feel free to send your thoughts even if you don't live in the U.S.

Also, please help us signal-boost! This info has been posted to LiveJournal and Dreamwidth vidding communities and on Tumblr; if you can think of other places the OTW should post, please let me know—and if you can spread the word in your own communities, on streaming sites, etc., please do.

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Aug. 16th, 2014

professional geek

I'm just giving up and accepting that my life is not going to get less weird.

So I was wandering around Tumblr avoiding the essay I'm supposed to be finishing, as one does, and I happened upon a photo of the required readings for a class. And then I said, Hey, that's my class.

Fourth wall, we hardly knew ye.

(Obviously this sort of thing goes on all the time and has for years. It just hasn't usually involved my classes in places where I can see it, is what I'm saying.)

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Aug. 13th, 2014

professional geek

VividCon panel notes + two more things

1) I forgot to post about this when it happened, but: I was interviewed by project-disco.org back in June, and you can read me talking about vidding, copyright, monetization, etc. The interviewer and I talked for more than 30 minutes, so the published version is heavily edited and thus contains a fair number of apparent non sequiturs simply because the intervening five minutes got edited out. *facepalm*

2) I mentioned this to a few people at the con, so I might as well mention it here: I proposed an essay on the role of music in vids for a special issue of the journal Music, Sound and the Moving Image; the special issue's title is "Musical Screens: Musical Inventions, Digital Transitions, Cultural Critique"--is that not just begging for something about vids? The essay's due at the end of December, which... I am trying not to think about lest I panic, ahahaha.

3) VividCon! I was speaking off the cuff from very brief notes so as not to be too boring and ponderous, so I don't have a whole lot to post, but I'm happy to share what I do have (including the presentation I gave as context for the vidshow I put together for my fan studies class last fall).

Quick reminder: I prefer not to link my pro name and my fan name in ways that are Google-able, so while most of you reading this post know both names, please stick to this one if you post about the panel.

notes and slides under the cutCollapse )

[personal profile] kouredios has also posted notes from her half of the panel, in which she explained how she uses vid to teach Comparative Literature majors about different schools of literary criticism, specifically deconstruction. To the surprise of no one, I found it super interesting.

We got some great questions. Someone asked how difficult it was to get these courses approved; in my case the answers were "not at all difficult." The fan studies class was a non-issue because content isn't the main feature of the Intellectual Community courses, and the writing course was a non-issue because nobody cares how I teach argumentation and analysis as long as, you know, I teach it. Someone else asked what I do when students aren't fannish about anything, which honestly hasn't been a problem for me; my students are delightfully geeky. I mean, they're not necessarily involved in online media fandom, but they get the idea of fandom, the passionate investment in something. And of course my fan studies students do almost all self-identify as "in fandom," which is just one of the many reasons I'm looking forward to the fall semester. :D

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Aug. 1st, 2014

professional geek

Vividcon!

Hey, I am going to be at Vividcon next week! ...well, okay, I am at VVC every year, but this year I will be there under my pro name as well as my vidder name, which happens less often. [personal profile] kouredios and I are doing a presentation + discussion on Using Vids in Class; we'll talk about what we do and why, answer questions, and host conversation. The panel's at 4 on Friday, and we would love to see you there! But we will also understand if you want to go to the Also Premiering show instead. :D

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May. 7th, 2014

keyboard

Northern Spark, June 2015

I will respond to comments on yesterday's post later tonight, but: I just had a talk about vids and vidshows with Karen Tanaka, one of the office staff from IAS (the program where I'm on fellowship this semester). She was at the talk I gave last week and is now excited about vids (she's one of the people who wants to see Pacific Rim after seeing "King and Lionheart"), and she had an idea: Why not have an all-night vid show at Northern Spark?

Northern Spark is the Twin Cities' annual dusk-to-dawn arts festival held on the second Saturday of June each summer. It features thousands of people hanging out in various venues around town to see art, theater, film, dance, music, and new media produced by hundreds of artists.

The recently restored Northrop Memorial Auditorium, where IAS is based, has a small theater that, as Karen pointed out, would be perfect for a series of vidshows.

There's a lot to think about before I commit to trying to put this together, but I have to say that I have kind of fallen in love with the idea. I picture a series of 50-minute themed vidshows, like VividCon. (In fact, I'm wondering whether it might make sense to ask the VJs of some of my favorite recent VVC vidshows to let me use the shows they put together, crediting the VJs as well as the vidders, obviously, and checking with vidders for permission.)

It's too late to make it happen for this year--I don't have time to get the money for the space, for starters--but I may have to start applying for grants for next year. The necessary equipment's all in the theater, so the only expense would be the space itself.

I'm trying to think of the various populations it would make sense to reach out to: local media and SFF fans, obviously, but also students, especially film and art students, the film festival crowd... I need to keep thinking about this. And I need to think about how I, personally, feel about asking vidders to screen their work at such a public and not-specifically-fannish event. But when I think about how the reaction of everyone at last week's presentation was so positive and so "OMG this is really amazing art!", about last year's exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image, about how much fun it would be to do this... I get excited. :D

Thoughts? Ideas? Cautions? Qualms?

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May. 6th, 2014

pen

Music in vids: a little background

As mentioned in my last post, I've spent much of this spring reading about music and thinking about how what I'm reading might apply to vids. This post is some background about why I've been doing that.

more background under the cutCollapse )

But as I worked on the book, I just kept coming back to the importance of song choice, and I started trying to articulate why I think music is so important to vids. There are lots of answers, but the ones I'm currently working with are these:

1) Genre. No music, no vid.

2) Emotional effects. The music does most of the emotional heavy lifting in vids. (In this, vids are a lot like narrative film and TV, where music does a lot of the work of telling us what to feel about a scene.)

3) Structure. Vids are structured around music at both macro and micro levels. (In this, vids are the opposite of most narrative film and TV, where music is composed/chosen and edited to fit the visual narrative.)

4) Creative process. Song choice is important not just to the vid but to the vidder. For many of us, the song is what sparks a vid idea in the first place; in other cases, it's the thing that has to be found before the idea can get off the ground. It guides clipping, editing, and often the creation of effects. Think about it this way: pretty much any verb you can think of related to the creative processes of actually planning and making a vid (as opposed to technical stuff like exporting or uploading) is going to be related in some way to the song choice. And even where a given vidder is thinking more about the song's lyrics than its music, the whole point of songs is that the lyrics are welded to the music; they can never be completely disentangled.

So those are some of the key ideas and assumptions that I started out with when I began digging around in the fields of music and sound studies to see what I could find that might help me think through how I see music operating in vids themselves and in the way that vidders describe their creative processes.

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Apr. 30th, 2014

professional geek

IAS presentation on music in vids

I've spent the semester on a research fellowship at the University of Minnesota's Institute for Advanced Study. Fellows meet weekly for lunchtime presentations of our work in progress. My presentation was today; I was supposed to be talking about the role of music in vids (which is the topic I've been researching this semester as a break from the book). Except I didn't actually get very far, because people had so many basic questions about vidding and fandom -- really good questions, but still. I had an hour and fifteen minutes, and I still got through only half of the material that I wanted to, most of which was the inevitable "here's what vids are and why they matter" introductory material and not the new stuff I've been thinking about.

So I am hoping to use this blog to post snippets of the actual research and thinking over the next few weeks.

I did, at least, get to show some vids -- not a full-fledged vidshow or anything, but a small selection rather than just a single vid (which is what I usually have to do when I'm presenting). It was really important to me that this group get to see more of a variety of subjects and styles and genres, even though of course it's still only a tiny fraction of the range of things vids are and do.

Here's what I showed:

sloanesomething, “Star Trek Dance Floor” (Star Trek)
[personal profile] violace, “King and Lionheart” (Pacific Rim)
[personal profile] kass, “Becoming Brothers” (Friday Night Lights)
[personal profile] laurashapiro, “Hurricane” (Farscape and Battlestar Galactica)
bradcpu, “Moonlight” (Sleepy Hollow)

I report with great pleasure that, after the presentation, a total of five people told me that now they really want to see Pacific Rim, Sleepy Hollow, and/or Friday Night Lights. Well done, vidders!

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Mar. 15th, 2014

keyboard

New essay in TWC: fan work and the gift economy

Issue no. 15 of Transformative Works and Cultures came out today; it's a special issue on fandom and/as labor, and I am really looking forward to reading all the essays. (This is not, for the record, something I say about all the academic journals to which I subscribe.)

And now for the shameless self-promotion: one of the essays is mine! I wrote "Fan work: Labor, worth, and participation in fandom's gift economy" for the Symposium section, which means that it's relatively short and less ponderously academic than some of my other essays. It grew out of thinking about Rache's essay "The Fannish Potlatch" and Karen Hellekson's "A Fannish Field of Value: Online Fan Gift Culture" and agreeing with a lot of what's in both those essays but also thinking about what I wanted to add to the conversation about fandom's gift economy and how it works--and in particular thinking about what what I wrote at the end of this post from last year: "the behind-the-scenes work that goes into reccing, reblogging, running awards sites, administering prompt memes, tagging for meme archives, etc., is why I get so frustrated with definitions of "fan work" that focus primarily on writing fic and making vids and ignore or handwave all the other kinds of work that make my daily fannish experience what it is."

An excerpt from the TWC essay:
While art objects may be the gifts most publicly recognized or validated by fellow fans, and while these gifts are indeed a crucial part of fandom's gift economy, we can better appreciate the scope of fandom's gift economy if we recognize that fannish gifts include not only art objects but the wide range of creative labors that surround and in some cases underlie these art objects. We can better understand the relationship between gift exchange and community formation if we see fandom as a system not just of reciprocal giving but of circular giving. And we can better evaluate the relationship between fandom and production if we attend to not just the giving but the receiving of gifts.


This is the first thing I've published in fan studies that isn't specifically about vidding (although it is very much informed by my own experiences with vids and vidding, especially note 4, in which I am totally poking fun at my own history as a vidder). It was fun! I might do more of it. On the other hand, it turns out that I have a whole lot of things to say about vids, so that will probably keep me busy for the foreseeable future. :D

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Feb. 12th, 2014

pen

Writer woes

You guys, I am rapidly becoming convinced that my secret superpower is my apparently unstoppable ability to hide my point at the end of a paragraph/section/chapter/whatever. It is not a good superpower. I don't want it.

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Feb. 5th, 2014

pen

"Space Cadet Fineass and his harem of otherworldly escorts."

For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I have just spent most of an hour reading through selected write-ups from strangefandom, and let me tell you, I needed that laugh this afternoon. Oh man. *wipes eyes* Good times, good times.

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