A ‘remix’ is new media created by using some old media. The process goes something like this: copy, transform, and combine. The most difficult part about spotting a remix is determining where ‘inspiration’ stops and ‘theft’ begins. If there’s anything we can all agree on, it’s that borrowing ideas, techniques, and even assets is a fundamental part of the creative process. Like Picasso said, “Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” Artists do it by refining techniques created by others (like double exposure), companies like Apple translate mechanical devices into digital features (like “slide to unlock”), music artists use samples in their hit songs (like many of Girl Talk’s tracks), and YouTube stars autotune the news.
PicsArt believes that when edits, alterations, or creative use become the focus of the work you’re not borrowing, you’re remixing. Remixing is inherently different than stealing because it relies on your creative spark instead of your ability to pass someone else’s work off as your own. United States copyright law gives some indication about why this is okay by saying that copywritten assets should be “meaningfully transformed”, but copyright law shouldn’t be the only source informing the way we encourage creativity. Encouraging art that focuses on transformative edits is what creates a healthy “remix culture.”
At PicsArt, we embrace remix culture because we believe that it fosters creativity. We already support the sharing of content with our #FreeToEdit cards (which were recently expanded in app) and our clipart packages, but we want to extend that support to artists who use assets that aren’t theirs and who meaningfully transform the work. Collaboration art creation is the next art movement and PicsArt is at the forefront of it.
While we appreciate this creativity, we also appreciate attribution. So, if you’re an artist who uses work from the web, please make sure you’re attributing your sources in the image description. This is a good, respectful practice to get into.
PicsArt will continue to feature original art and artists, but will also feature artists who use the work of others to enhance their own work, so long as the user’s edits are the focus of the picture.
An image by @bzein showing how a photo that isn’t his (the image of a galaxy) can be used to create something original.
Want to use a Hubble Space Telescope image to enhance an image you took of the sky? Go for it. Want to place Darth Vader as the best man in your wedding photos? Experiment. When you do this, the creativity you used overpowers the asset you borrowed. You can even combine several different shots from other artists to create something entirely new despite not using any of your own assets, but many of PicsArt’s tools. This is subjective, but it’s the secret sauce of a successful remix.
Something else to remember is that remixing is tons of fun until you’re the one getting remixed. To quote Kirby Ferguson from his “Everything is a Remix” TED Talk, “Great artists steal – but not from me.” If you feel that your work has been misused by another PicsArtists, please submit a DMCA takedown request by reporting the image from within the app. We will continue to protect the rights of copyright holders when the owners report misuse to us. Put simply, if you don’t have an artist’s permission to use their work, it will be removed if the copyright owner reports it to PicsArt.
As a closing thought, I’d like to leave you with page 16 of the book, “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon:
New, Curated #FreeToEdit Cards
To help support remixes, we’ve also added two more #FreeToEdit cards within the app devoted to portraits and landscapes. That means three cards of editable content for you to discover! #FreeToEdit is also now manually curated by our editorial team to help you find the best content. You can still find ‘Recent’ or ‘Interesting’ #FreeToEdit shots by tapping on ‘See All’.
That’s it for this week! Feel free to leave your constructive below!
– Carter, Senior Community Manager