Parody in the Age of Remix
Mashup Creativity vs. the Takedown
328 pp., 6 x 9 in, 4 b&w illus.
- Published: June 27, 2023
- Publisher: The MIT Press
The art of mashup music, its roots in parody, and its social and legal implications.
Parody needn't recognize copyright—but does an algorithm recognize parody? The ever-increasing popularity of remix culture and mashup music, where parody is invariably at play, presents a conundrum for internet platforms, with their extensive automatic, algorithmic policing of content. Taking a wide-ranging look at mashup music—the creative and technical considerations that go into making it; the experience of play, humor, enlightenment, and beauty it affords; and the social and legal issues it presents—Parody in the Age of Remix offers a pointed critique of how society balances the act of regulating art with the act of preserving it.
In several jurisdictions, national and international, parody is exempted from copyright laws. Ragnhild Brøvig contends that mashups should be understood as a form of parody, and thus be protected from removal from hosting platforms. Nonetheless, current copyright-related content-moderation regimes, relying on algorithmic detection and automated decision making, frequently eliminate what might otherwise be deemed gray-area content—to the detriment of human listeners and, especially, artists. Given the inaccuracy of takedowns, Parody in the Age of Remix makes a persuasive argument in favor of greater protection for remix creativity in the future—but it also suggests that the content-moderation challenges facing mashup producers and other remixers are symptomatic of larger societal issues.
“This in-depth study of mashup music expertly combines practitioner interviews with critical insights drawn from musicology, media studies, and legal scholarship. Brøvig offers a comprehensive framework for rethinking our appreciation and understanding of appropriation-based music-making.”
Martin Zeilinger, Senior Lecturer in Computational Arts & Technology, Abertay University; coeditor of Dynamic Fair Dealing
“Highly recommended—I have no doubt that Parody in the Age of Remix will become a significant and important contribution within the fields of remix studies, new media, intellectual property, and music studies.”
Owen Gallagher, Head of School, Creative Media, Bahrain Polytechnic; author of Reclaiming Critical Remix Video
“Parody in the Age of Remix makes a compelling case for rethinking—and protecting—the vital art of mashup music. Artists, scholars, and policy makers alike should read this engaging, deeply researched book.”
Mark Katz, author of Capturing Sound: How Technology Has Changed Music and Music and Technology: A Very Short Introduction
“Brøvig's research on musical mashups presents the first in-depth scholarly analysis of these misconceived artistic techniques from a copyright perspective. Offering an exciting reinterpretation of parody, Brøvig challenges traditional doctrines and constitutes a must-read for those involved in copyright policy.”
Sabine Jacques, Associate Professor, IP/IT/Media Law, University of East Anglia, UK