Student Reflection – S.978 Remix – Safety of the Internet (4.1)

by Kevin Morton

This project is deeply rooted in our interests and hobbies. We are both active members of the online community and have channels on YouTube. We both work with copyrighted material that falls under the category of fair use, such as video game footage. That is how we were first introduced to Bill S.978. If this bill passed, our channels could be shut down, and we could even be severely fined. Losing our channels would have made it impossible for us to make this remix, and an important medium for exchanging information and opinions on other important issues in the future would have been lost.

For this project, we were assigned to create a digital remix. We initially wanted to create a remix that commented on Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics, and his views on storytelling through the use of text and image. Though, with the rise of concern among the online community surrounding the Bill S.978, it seemed like an appropriate topic to switch to. Bill S.978 (later known at SOPA), at the time of project creation was awaiting approval or rejection in Congress; it was created to enact stricter Copyright laws on the Internet. While many people agree that harsher rules need to be established, the language of this particular bill is vague, and thus allows for an array of lawsuit opportunities. This proposal led to a public outcry against the bill. For this remix, we drew on three members of the YouTube community who expressed concern about the bill.

Husky Starcraft is an e-sports commentator who analyzes video game footage in daily casts. DarkSide Phil is a video game reviewer, and SXEPhil, who is one of the most subscribed YouTube content creators, runs a daily news show.

In addition to these YouTube content creators, we drew from Lawrence Lessig’s TED talk “Laws That Choke Creativity,” and our own YouTube channel for the remix. Lessig, who may be considered the father of the copyleft movement, proved to be particularly useful to us because of his unique insight into the world of copyright.

After compiling all of these sources, we began to organize the information, which was an extremely challenging experience. After exploring the material closely, we began to notice trends. The identification of these trends led to us divide the remix into four parts.

Part one addresses the question: What is S.978? We didn’t want to include too many opinions, but rather, we wanted to introduce the bill, describing what it entails and how it affects expression on the Internet.

Part two responds to the question: What will the bill do? This exposes the issue related to the bill, who it will effect, and its consequences on expression.

Part three addresses the question: What does this mean? This section tries to bring everything into the larger picture. Part four speaks to the question: What can we do to halt this bill? We wanted to highlight each creator’s pleas for the public to take action against the bill. In the end, it was efforts like these that helped stop the bill.

The South Park clips functioned as a way to divide the four sections. The inclusion of comedic clips was a rhetorical effort to make the information easier to process. In the end, we were satisfied with the overall feel of the remix.