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Posts Tagged ‘Brand Hijacking’

The clock “Tik Tok”s on the remix culture

It seems a deluge of examples have come to the fore in the last few days of what Professor Lawrence Lessig calls the Remix culture. Zeitgeist examined the recent parodies / mashups of the brand hijacking of Nike’s enormously popular “Write the Future” campaign as well as the intellectual property implications behind them recently. Last month, The Simpsons, now in it’s 22nd year of broadcasting, opened one episode in a montage using Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” as the background music (see above).

As evinced by the below video, the song clearly made an impact in Israel as well, tasteful or otherwise as you may think it. It shows the power of popular culture to permeate through all levels of society, as well as the inherently democratic nature of content creation today, from hit TV shows to amateur – very amateur – dancing soldiers. They are fun videos but pose a serious question; how are brands or products affected when they are co-opted by something else that gives them an altogether different meaning? The dialectics involved can lead to poor associations. St. George’s flag is currently seen as the banner of xenophobic nationalists in England, and Hitler casts a perpetual shadow over Wagner’s wonderful music. Now, more than ever, releasing content into the public domain means you are immediately relinquishing control over the meaning it may take on in the future.

Nike’s “Future” Re-written

The remix and mashup are emblematic of the pluralistic society we live in today. Renowned professor Lawrence Lessig would have it no other way, as he points out in his book, ‘Remix’. Every time a company lays itself on the line by broadcasting its intellectual property, it submits itself to reinterpretation by a society who through the use of cheap, simple technology, can easily reinterpret the original content, and under claims of educational or critical purposes, the new content is legal under terms of fair use. The above, reworked Nike ad is was a great example, but has since been taken down due to claims of intellectual property rights (IPR) infringement. An Oriental homage of Nike’s “Write the Future” can be seen above.

Yesterday’s insightful op-ed in the FT (which mentions the great Lessig), calls the implementation of the current 95-year copyright limit “a terrible strategic blunder”, advocating instead for shorter but better regulated terms. Over-protective IPR stifles innovation, and is unnecessary since “most holders of copyright gain all the money from a work they will ever do within five or 10 years and the rest of the term is like a one-in-a-million lottery ticket for the rare artist such as J.K. Rowling”.