Vine, hip-hop and the future of video sharing: old rap songs and new copyright rules


From Gigaom:

What does video tool Vine have in common with iconic rappers like the Beastie Boys and the Notorious BIG? More than you think. Like hip-hop, Vine is way to sample and collect culture — and it may have to run the same legal gambit that rappers did a decade ago. If you haven’t tried it, Vine is a tool to make looping, six-second video clips and post them on social media or a website. The company, which is owned by Twitter, launched in January and its videos have already become a part of the Tribeca Film Festival, the U.S. Senate and major marketing campaigns.

Vine exists because of new smartphone technology but it also replicates older forms of mashup culture. In particular, it mirrors what pioneering hip-hop artists started to do in the 1980s — taking sounds from myriad sources and sharing them through records like Paul’s Boutique and Ready to Die. Those hiphop records are aural tapestries that today stand as monuments to a new form of music and community. In the 2000s, however, copyright collectors came along and sued the rappers — resulting in a drawn-out debate over where to draw a line between culture and intellectual property theft. Hip-hop largely prevailed but was damaged in the process. Now, a fight over a Vine video last month suggests history may repeat itself but this time, on the video front. The dispute involved the musician Prince using a law called the DMCA to force Vine to take down six-second concert clips posted by a fan. The fan didn’t oppose Prince’s takedown demand, meaning no one has ruled on whether a six-second clip actually infringes copyright. But if a court did look at the Vine case, the decision process would lead right through hip-hop.

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