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  • Remixing Sharing: Sharing Platforms as a Tool for Advancement of UGC Sharing

    As a form of derivative work, an unauthorized remix of original user generated content (UGC) constitutes copyright infringement and faces intellectual property law barriers. The existing scholarly discussion about remix is lacking in two aspects: First it fails to consider the unique implications of remix of original UGC. Second, it fails to consider remix in the context of sharing platforms such as YouTube. This article fills the gap and demonstrates that remix of original UGC is important and should be promoted while, at the same time, certain elements, such as personality interest and financial interests, should influence the methods to encourage permission to remix original UGC. In this context, a survey of the field reveals that sharing platforms play two significant roles respecting UGC usage: a regulatory and an educational role. Sharing platforms redistribute and divide users’ copyrights through the platforms’ terms of use (TOU) and in doing so play a regulatory role. Sharing platforms also serve to educate users by providing information about copyright and alternative ways to permit use. A critical review suggests that the way the sharing platforms fulfill these two roles today is far from optimal and raises contractual and utility concerns. Nevertheless, this does not lead to the conclusion that the optimal solution is to eliminate or decrease users’ copyrights through legislation or sharing platforms’ TOU. To the contrary, users deserve copyright protection and some control on their works. Thus, this article concludes that through reforms of the regulatory role and of the educational role, reforms that are interconnected, remix sharing among users can successfully be protected and promoted.

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