Brøvig-Hanssen and Jones (2021)
|Brøvig-Hanssen and Jones (2021)|
|Title:||Remix’s retreat? Content moderation, copyright law and mashup music|
|Author(s):||Brøvig-Hanssen R., Jones E.|
|Citation:||Brøvig-Hanssen, R., & Jones, E. (2021). Remix’s retreat? Content moderation, copyright law and mashup music. New Media & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448211026059|
|Link(s):||Definitive , Open Access|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Semi-structure qualitative interviews conducted with 30 mashup producers spread across 15 countries (mainly in European countries and the US) and identified via social media platforms and mashup forums. Most interviews were conducted via online video calls. Just around a third of the interviews were face-to-face. The authors combined pre-established codes, which emerged through thematic analysis of data, before coding the interview transcriptions.
Online survey with the participation of 92 mashup producers from different parts of the world (North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania), which were recruited via social media posts (particularly Twitter), personal messages, mashup and remix online forums, and word of mouth. The survey had open and closed scaled questions and the responses were anonymous, in part to respect EU data protection regulation. These questions were processed and analysed using the software SPSS Statistics.
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
“Many online media platforms currently utilise algorithmically driven content moderation to prevent copyright infringement. This article explores content moderation’s effect on mashup music – a form of remix which relies primarily on the unauthorised combining of pre-existing, recognisable recordings. Drawing on interviews (n = 30) and an online survey (n = 92) with mashup producers, we show that content moderation affects producers’ creative decisions and distribution strategies, and has a strong negative effect on their overall motivation to create mashups. The objections that producers hold to this state of affairs often strongly resonate with current copyright exceptions. However, we argue that these exceptions, which form a legal ‘grey zone’, are currently unsatisfactorily accommodated for by platforms. Platforms’ political-economic power allows them, in effect, to ‘occupy’ and control this zone. Consequently, the practical efficacy of copyright law’s exceptions in this setting is significantly reduced.”
Main Results of the Study
The study suggests that:
1. Mashup producers are very familiar with platforms’ copyright-related content moderation. For example, while 96% of mashup producers had already some content detected as copyrighted material in their music mashups by platforms, 82% of them had already their music mashups removed from platforms for copyright infringement, and 53% of them even had their accounts suspended permanently for uploading mashups.
2. Platforms’ content moderation has negative impact on producers’ motivation to create mashups. 56% of surveyed producers informed that results of content moderation have already made them less motivated, while only 2% of them felt more motivated after dealing with platforms’ content moderation.
3. Platforms’ content moderation also has indirect impact on producers’ creative and distribution strategies, since they adopt different alternatives to bypass platforms’ content moderation systems and mitigate their losses. In relation to distribution strategies, mashups producers reported that some platforms, such as Spotify and Apple Music, due to their particularly strict copyright norms, were unfeasible for mashups. Even being considered user-generated content platforms, YouTube and SoundCloud also have very strict rules for the use of copyrighted material. Therefore, some mashup producers use alternative platforms and alternative output channels (e.g., podcasts) to distribute their material and reach their audience. Some of them also use “test” accounts to upload new material and to observe how platforms’ algorithms will react to this content before uploading it in their main accounts. In some cases, they use their main account just as a “hub” to indicate to followers other smaller accounts to which they upload their new mashups. On the other hand, in terms of creative decisions, different from other creators who look for visibility, mashup producers seek to remain invisible to platforms’ algorithms. Hence, they use “masking techniques” (e.g., pitch-shifting, speed alteration) to bypass algorithmic detection. Furthermore, content moderation also impacts on the music producers choose to sample in their creations. Some artists’ recordings (e.g., Taylor Swift) are seen as off limits to be used in music mashups considering their great chance to result in blocks or takedowns. The same can be said about new releases.
4. The legal status of mashups is still unclear. Mashups reside in the so-called grey zone of copyright law that is currently occupied by online platforms, which use their economic and technological power and their algorithmically driven content moderation systems to control this zone. This study’s data show that mashup producers are not able to use this grey zone to their advantage.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
No policy implications stated by the authors
Coverage of Study