Vito Campanelli is a new media theorist and a research fellow in Communications and New Technologies at University of Milan “IULM”. His main research interest is technological imaginary. He is also a freelance curator of digital culture events and co-founder of MAO – Media & Arts Office. His essays on media art are regularly published in international journals. His most recent publications are: Remix It Yourself (Bologna, 2011) and Web Aesthetics (Rotterdam, 2010).
Web Aesthetics: How Digital Media Affect Culture and Society
NAi Publishers, Rotterdam, 2010.
Occupying the increasingly thin line that separates legitimate appropriation from plagiarism, remix practice raises significant ethical issues. The issue is rendered more complicated by the fact that this line frequently shifts, both in academic debates and in legal procedures. If in large Western nations remix practice is widely considered legitimate, it is still considered necessary to add something personal to one’s sources, and if at all possible to enrich those sources in some way. This is usually considered sufficient to avoid misappropriating someone else’s intellectual work. In the last few years, various legal actions in the EU and the USA have revealed a significant gap between this apparently moderate position, and the position of legislators. If one also considers events that have taken place in Asia, the level of confusion in an increasingly surreal global landscape is clearly apparent. We can take the question to be: Is it appropriate to establish a remix ethics? In other words, is it appropriate to conceive of a limit, beyond which remix becomes less legitimate?