Media Policy & You: Crash Course Media Literacy #9

Media Policy & You: Crash Course Media Literacy #9


Have you ever shared a GIF from your favorite
movie or Instagrammed some meme you found online? In that moment, did you ever think about where
that content came from and if you were allowed
to use it? Did you consider that it may actually be illegal
to share it? Or at least in some legal no man’s land? Probably not, and it’s ok, we’re not calling
the cops on you. A lot of what we consider everyday internet culture
– retweets and memes and viral videos – is built on
this kind of casual, everyday sharing. We forward links and remix photos and songs… But what happens when what we’re sharing
is someone else’s property? Or could harm somebody? The internet gave tons of people access to
tools for communication and media creation. But it also opened up many legal loopholes
and muddied the waters of rights and regulations. In our last episode, I talked all about the
big, macro companies that rule our media world. Today we’re focusing on how new media is
changing our real world lived experiences,
down to the letter of the law. [Theme Music] The media economy is ruled by profits, yes,
but also by the governments and industry
organizations who set out to regulate it. Just as the big media companies need to follow
certain rules, so do media consumers (that’s you). Over the past few years many media-related
laws have had to adapt dramatically to changing
times and incredible leaps in technology. One such law you’ve probably heard a lot
about is copyright. Copyright gives creators of media the exclusive
rights to their creations. They can copy, modify, distribute, or show
off their works however they want. Others need to get permission to use them. This helps creators make money from and get
credit for their work. But a copyright isn’t a total monopoly on
a work. Thanks to the notion of fair use, the public
can exercise its first amendment rights by using
others’ work without permission. That is, as long as it transforms the work
in some way. In fact, there are four factors courts use
to determine whether a use is fair. First is the purpose and character of the
work. Many educational uses of media, like showing a
film in class, are protected under fair use
because they’re not for commercial purposes. Other protected uses are criticism, commentary
(like parody), research and scholarship. Second is the nature of the copyrighted work. Copyright law is meant to encourage creative
expression. You can’t copyright facts, but you can copyright
something you imagined. Creative media like a movie or a song, something
that takes imagination, is more difficult to use fairly. But with fact-based media, like news articles
or a documentary, there are more options for
fair use, like education or parody. Third is the amount of the piece used from
the copyrighted work. If the use employs a tiny proportion of
the copyrighted work, it’s more likely to be
deemed fair. Fourth is the effect of the use on the market
for the copyrighted work. So, streaming a bootleg version of Titanic
isn’t fair, because it directly competes with
lawful streaming services. But your version of Titanic that replaces all
the characters’ voices with chipmunk sounds – that’s unlikely to “compete” for the attention
of people looking to watch the original. But, Fair Use isn’t the only way that media
is allowed to be adapted by the public. There’s an expanse of media works that are
available in the public domain. This is the set of all works whose copyright
has expired and are free to use by anyone. Characters like Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes
are in the public domain. So between Copyright, Fair Use, and Public
Domain – you have the three pillars of Intellectual
Property in everyday media. Seems pretty cut and dry, right? Well, it kinda was before the internet. Before many more people had the ability to
use copyrighted material at the speed of light. During the 1990s, established media corporations,
like the music industry, began to get real upset about
the way the internet was challenging the status quo. Media was getting copied and shared and
moved around faster than ever before – and
they wanted to stop it. This all culminated in the 1998 Digital Millennium
Copyright Act or DMCA. You might have heard of the DMCA. It does a LOT of things, but one obvious thing it
does is give copyright holders the ability to make
claims against content on digital platforms. In fact, once it was enacted, The Record Industry
Association of America even targeted young internet
users who downloaded copyrighted materials with
lawsuits. And if you’ve ever seen a YouTube video
vanish beneath an “infringing content claim”
– that’s thanks to the DMCA. So in this brave new world of digital media
and pop music anime lip sync mashups, how
DO you know if your use is fair? Let’s head into the Thought Bubble to find
out. Let’s say you want to make a montage video of
your two favorite characters from your favorite TV
show: Archie and Veronica from Riverdale. (Apologies to Barchie or Beronica shippers.) You pull together cute clips from the show
and pop on your favorite Taylor Swift song
– Love Story, obvs – in the background. Now is it fair use? First step: what’s the purpose and character
of your work? Your purpose is to get all the likes, but
also to prove that Varchie is the OTP. You’re not in it for the money and the video
itself is commentary on Riverdale. Ok, that could pass. Second: what’s the nature of the copyrighted
work? The TV show and the song are definitely creative
and not fact-based, so yeah, that’s a strike. Like I said, it’s harder to use an imaginative
work like a movie or a song. Third: How much did you use of the show and
the song? You definitely only used clips of the show, a
couple of seconds each of a whole season of TV. That would probably get a pass. But you did use the whole song – that’s
not cool. Strike two. Finally: what effect would your work have
on the market for the works you used? Since someone couldn’t reasonably watch your
clip video instead of watching the full Riverdale
series on TV, that’s probably fair use. But someone could just listen to your video
instead of buying that Taylor Swift song. Sorry, no matter how perfectly “Love Story”
encapsulates Archie and Veronica’s relationship,
you’re not transforming the song. In fact, you’re using it in a pretty normal
way, like in a movie – except movies pay
to use a song on the soundtrack. So while the montage of clips you made may
be transformative, the use of the song wouldn’t
be considered fair use. As you can see, the notion of “fair use”
isn’t cut and dry. It’s like a puzzle that changes for every
person who tries to solve it. Thanks Thought Bubble! The thing that makes the DMCA, and intellectual property generally, interesting is that it shows laws trying to play catch up with how media has changed due to technology. And many of the old definitions and approaches
start to grind when used in this new media ecosystem. Some challenges to media laws are more high-stakes
than Taylor Swift montages. Get your giggles out now, kids, cause I’m
about to talk to you about “sexting.” So. Urban Dictionary defines “sexting” as…oh.
Oh my. Ah. Let’s just say that sexting is like…when
two people really like each other, and so
one of them draws the other naked. Now they have that drawing, and when they
look at it…they uh – you get what I’m saying. It’s no surprise that nowadays, young people
might use their phones to “communicate” in
relationships, rather than paper and charcoal. The only problem is: what about the law? First. Most states in the US define
the age of consent. If two teenagers above the age of consent
want to meet up in the back of a car – there’s
nothing illegal about that. BUT in the US there are also laws against
the production, possession, or distribution
of child pornography – ANY visual depiction of explicit content
involving someone under 18. Good laws. Important laws.
Super important and good laws. The problem comes from figuring out what
happens when the legal sexual relationships
between two teenagers – over the age of consent, but still under 18
– when those relationships start to involve,
you know, sexy pictures. Because technically – according to U.S. law
– that can be classified as child pornography, and there are already many examples where
young people have been charged as such. And these laws are meant to protect children
from sexual abuse. Federal laws carry mandatory minimum
sentencing of five years in prison and registry
as a sex offender for related charges. These are huge consequences! Because of this, some states have recognized
sexting as a widespread practice and have
reduced charges accordingly. But there’s still a grey area, however, between
federal and state laws and local jurisdictions – including whether police are allowed to
search a teen’s phone. The point is, these are laws that were made
before our current media moment, colliding with
what has become everyday practice. And the outcome often comes down to a discussion
or a judgement call – often by people who are, let’s say,
not the most plugged in with “kids these days.” It might not be the most fun to talk about. But these gaps – between current media practices and
traditional laws – are already impacting people’s lives. From copyright laws to sexting and cyberbullying,
our online lives have posed some serious challenges
to our legal system. And many of these questions are still up for
debate. But maybe none of these have been as tough
to deal with as the issue of online privacy. Privacy refers to the access, collection and
sharing of personally identifiable information. Online that includes our browsing habits and
history, plus the personal information we share
with all the websites and apps we use. Traditionally, privacy has determined what
information was allowed to be used in court
cases. Some private information was protected from
unlawful search and seizure. But of course, the internet threw a wrench
in that, too. If you use a social media in the public setting,
where anyone can access your posts, is that
public or private? What about if you use the app in a private
setting, for just your friends and family? What if you share your private thoughts on
an anonymous, public blog? On top of these shifting notions about what
constitutes privacy online, protections for accessing
that data are even less clear. When and where law enforcement can request
or demand access to phones, computers and
social media accounts is often a grey area. And when they do, what are their rights to
privacy? Gen Z will be the first generation to live their
lives on smartphones from such a young age. Think of all the data they’re sharing about
themselves before they’re able to walk home
alone, let alone drive or vote. Will that data follow them around, forever? How would you feel if your first AIM screen
name or all the Snapchats from your awkward
years followed you around forever? One response to this problem will take effect
in Europe in May 2018. The European Union’s General Data Protection
Regulation (or the GDPR for short) is a big, big deal. This legislation will impact all of the European Union,
affording a stricter right to protect yourself online. Part of this law, the Right to be Forgotten, will make it easier to get rid of personal information that’s been collected about you and make clear what that data is, too. But since this legislation affects multinational corporations like Google and Facebook, the ramifications won’t be stuck on the other side of the pond. The industry titans are expected to follow
suit across the globe to ensure they remain
compliant. Clearly, we’ve entered a new paradigm where
our technology is outpacing legislation. As laws and regulations continue to develop
around our fast-paced digital world, the only
solution is to stay vigilant. Know what data you’re sharing. Be careful of downloading or sharing others’
work online. And remember that your words and your images
have meaning, and can be used against you. Next time on Crash Course: Media Literacy we’ll talk
all about how bad actors can use those vulnerabilities
against us through propaganda and misinformation. You’ll need the skills we learned today
to dive into the dark side of media. Until then, I’m Jay Smooth.
See you next time. Crash Course Media Literacy is filmed in the
Dr. Cheryl C. Kinney Studio in Missoula, MT, and it’s made with the help of all of these nice
people and our animation team is Thought Cafe. Crash Course is a Complexly production. If you wanna keep imagining the world complexly
with us, check out some of our other channels like
SciShow, Animal Wonders, and The Art Assignment. If you’d like to keep Crash Course free for everyone, forever, you can support the series at Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that allows you to support the content you love. Thank you to all of our patrons for making
Crash Course possible with their continued
support.

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