Many of the digital natives in our midst want to remix media their world, not merely consume it. They also want to create original media. Check out websites like YouTube, iFilm, Revver, Vimeo, the BBC’s Video Nation, and others if you want evidence. (I’ve incidentally started a new social bookmark category for these sites, which I’ve titled onlinevideopublishing If you know of other sites that should be included in this list, please let me know by commenting here.) The term “viral video” is new and also important in this context. According to the English Wikipedia:

The term viral video refers to video content which gains widespread popularity through the process of Internet sharing, typically through email messages and media sharing websites. Viral videos are usually humorous in nature and may range from televised comedy sketches such as Saturday Night Live’s Lazy Sunday to unintentionally released amateur video clips like Star Wars Kid. While the viral video phenomenon has occurred in a largely unstructured manner, a number of organizations have attempted to adopt marketing strategies that rely on the distribution of viral video, often with mixed results.

Old media sources, however, can get quite upset when copyrighted material is used in remixes. If you haven’t heard about “The U2 record incident” from 1991, you can read about it on the English Wikipedia entry for Negativland. A direct link to a mp3 of this “banned remix” is available from Negativland’s website. (Beware: There is some profanity in this remix, so unless you edit out the profanity you wouldn’t want to use this with students in a classroom.)

This incident involved some high profile folks like Casey Kasem, the band U2, and of course recording industry folks. As you might guess, they didn’t think this was creative or funny.

Reading and learning about this incident is relevant in the context of copyright discussions many adults are having with young people in relation to internet safety. I am convinced we need to include in this conversation resources like Creative Commons and CCMixter, and the legally empowering concepts they embody. Could the U2 record incident have been published under a Creative Commons license? No, the creators didn’t own the content and the content owners weren’t (and still probably aren’t) in the mood to share. But this event provides a great teachable moment for issues relating to intellectual property and remixing media.

Many kids want to remix their world, and we need to help them learn (and learn ourselves) the ways that can be done safely and legally, so no one gets sued.

For more on Creative Commons and its importance in K-12 education, refer to my Spring TechEdge article, “Creative Commons in K-12 Education.” Also see my post from last month, “iCommons, Remixes, Mashups and More” for additional links and info about remixes and mashups.

Check out the popular ccMixter remix “My Name is teru and I’ll be Your Tour Guide Today” for an audio introduction to CCMixter, it’s power and possibilities. This is an “editor’s pick” on ccMixter and includes clips from over twenty other published works, legally shared with Creative Commons licenses.

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