Danah Boyd has been thinking about the practice of remixing, or repurposing, content (something we do a lot of here):
A huge part of the identity process is to consume culture, mix it and personalize it, and share that with our friends because it has identity implications. Why can’t we consume for identity, for culture, for life? Why can’t we recognize that remixes are active consumption where we’ve made culture personal and for our friends?
Adina Levin left this comment on Danah’s blog:
It is folk art. We’re seeing a revival of folk art and folk culture after a brief interlude of mass media domination. Folk art is usually about remixing traditional materials: musical themes, stories, plays, etc.
The attempt by powerful owners to suppress folk culture is our generation’s heresy. In premodern times, powerful churches held a monopoly on the kinds of stories that could be told about Jesus. Today we consider this totalitarian and absurd.
These days, Disney has a monopoly on the stories that can be told about Mickey Mouse. It’s the same plot with different characters. At least Disney isn’t burning heretics at the stake.
Ben Hammersley, writing about the topic on his site, says:
The forms of culture that are fighting remix the hardest – music, film – have failed to understand that not only is their product made to be consumed and that remix is a fundamental part of that consumption, but that remix isn’t an optional activity: it’s part of the core driver for the consumption of the media in the first place.