Archive by Author | Michelle

The New Deal: HitRECord – Remixing Within Legal Limits

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, best known for his acting gigs, has been working on a side project since early 2010 – HitRECord. He describes HitRECord as an “open collaborative production company” that works with movies, music, art, and writing. By creating a free account on the site, anyone can upload any creative content (a.k.a. “RECord”), making it available for other users to mix, sample, or add on. This project is different from sites like YouTube, which allow users to share and view content. Rather, HitRECord aims to encourage online collaboration – it is less of an exhibition space and more of a studio for artists to work together.

The concept behind this project is to address the exclusivity of Hollywood and mainstream cultural industries by creating a space where anyone can take an active role in the creation and production of content. The success of the project is demonstrated by the content it has already produced. Last year, HitRECord released an anthology of works including music, a DVD of videos, and a book of writing and visual art. HitRECord content has been showcased at SXSW, Sundance, and the Orpheum Theatre in LA. A 3-book deal was also recently signed with an imprint of Harper Collins.

The question is: how can this project, one that is premised on remixing and using other people’s content, work within the confines of copyright and intellectual property laws? To keep the project legal, it created a unique set of rules, “The HitRECord Accord“ – essentially a comprehensive terms of use. On the project’s FAQ page, it acknowledges that in order for the project to work a lot of trust must be placed on the user. For example, one clause in the Accord states that any content a user uploads must be owned entirely by the user, and must not contain anyone else’s work that the user does not have the rights to distribute.

HitRECord is a project that found a way to work within legal limits while making cultural and artistic production more accessible to the public. More importantly, it brings a social aspect to art-making by fostering a sense of community and collaboration between users online. Check out the HitRECord website for more information about how it works, browse through some of the recent collaborations, and get involved!

Prime Real Estate Infringing on Architect’s Design

New York city is home to some of North American’s most iconic architecture; a form of functional public art. New York city is also home to high real estate prices and demand. These two facts are butting heads in the Manufacturers Hanover Trust building case – a lawsuit between preservationists and real estate developers. The owner of the building has received permission to make major renovations to the building including a new entrance, a new escalator and more space for stores on the Fifth Avenue side of the building. Preservationists argue that this redesign is at odds with the original design and intention of the building. It “totally obliterates the quality of this iconic structure,” urban critic and journalist, Roberta Brandes told the New York Times.

In an attempt to compromise, the building owners have enlisted the help of the original architecture firm to assist in the redesign. However, the preservationists have just been granted a stop-work order, which requires that construction may only continue so long as all changes can be reversed should the Court rule in their favour.

Source: The Huffington Post

English Publisher Releasing Julian Assange’s Memoir Without His Approval

British publishing house Canongate announced yesterday that they would be releasing the “unauthorized autobiography” of Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder.

Julian Assange's Unauthorized Biography

According to the Associated Press, Assange initially agreed to allow the book to be published, but later changed his mind and told the publishers he did not want the book released. Canongate, owner of the rights to the book, stated they believed his story was one worth sharing, and believed the book would humanize Assange and “ultimately do him some favours.”

The decision to publish the book against Assange’s wishes, however, came down to the basics of contract law. Assange tried to cancel his contract but since he did not repay the advance he was given by Canongate upon selling the rights to his memoir they continued with publication. Assange says he was forced into the deal to pay his legal fees and he never wished for the book to be published.

While Canongate has decided to go ahead with publication the American publisher Knopf, who bought the rights from Canongate, has cancelled the contract to publish the book.

Source: Globe and Mail

Guy Maddin, Jean-Marc Vallée, Bruce McDonald and Others Represent at TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival draws some of the biggest stars in film from around the world, however, there is a significant amount of Canadian talent being demonstrated throughout the festival. As founder of the Canadian Film Centre, Norman Jewison explained:

[Canada's] got a lot of competition, and we shouldn’t be worried about that, because talent is the engine that drives this whole industry. It’s not driven by money, or studios, or investors, or banks. Talent is the engine.

Canadian filmmakers participating in the festival include both seasoned directors as well as fresh new talent. Canada has developed international recognition for documentary films and children’s programming, some of which might be premiered at the festival through the Short Cuts Canada portion of the festival which will screen short documentary, animated or narrative films from emerging and established filmmakers across Canada.

TIFF will also be celebrating emerging Canadian film talent through the Canada First! program, which offers audiences a wide range of compelling stories from first time Canadian filmmakers.

For a full lineup of the festival and information about each film check out

Source: NOW Magazine