“The Video Essay” written by Matt Zoller Seitz

In Matt Zoller Seitz’s article he states, “And due to widespread ignorance of the law, people who use copyrighted material in online videos tend to recoil in fear at the first sign of a takedown notice, not realizing that they have some recourse, however limited”, which made me wonder why wouldn’t independent media makers contact media corporations for their permission to use their work rather than infringing on copyrighted work?

Matt Zoller Seitz talks about how it is a problem that the copyright laws in place prohibiting independent media artists to tinker and reuse their work. Seitz says, “..thanks to media companies’ attempts to ignore, subvert and otherwise neutralize fair use provisions of copyright law – an exemption that permits selective quotation for purposes of criticism, commentary, education and parody.” A video essayist seeking to use a clip from “Talladega Nights” on the internet today is simply going to just use the quote they wish to use and be on their merry way; ignoring copyright has never been easier in today’s worldwide web.

Seitz does say that the web is vastly improving but I don’t understand how media makers feel comfortable infringing on copyrighted media while creating their work? An author doesn’t look to take words out of a book and put them into their own, without citing and crediting the quotes. With the copyright system and law, is it really that difficult for an independent media maker to get permission to use a clip or quotes before applying them to their work?


One thought on ““The Video Essay” written by Matt Zoller Seitz”

  1. Yours is a fair question, and the external link you provide does offer some good advice to those who need to cite others’ work. However, Seitz’ point is that there are some uses – like criticism and education – that are *legally* infringing uses, according to the current law. So in those instances, there is no need to seek permission. But this is still a question whose answer all of us who are making media that uses others’ material need to know.


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