“Buffy vs Edward” remix unfairly removed by Lionsgate | Ars Technica

“Buffy vs Edward” remix unfairly removed by Lionsgate | Ars Technica

It has been three and a half years since I first uploaded my remix video “Buffy vs Edward: Twilight Remixed” to YouTube. The work is an example of fair use, transformative storytelling which serves as a visual critique of gender roles and representations in modern pop culture vampire media.

Since I published the remix in 2009 it has been viewed over 3 million times on YouTube and fans have translated the subtitles into 30 different languages. It has been featured and written about by the LA Times, Boston Globe, Salon, Slate, Wired, Vanity Fair, and Entertainment Weekly, and it was discussed on NPR radio. It was nominated for a 2010 Webby Award in the best remix/mashup category. The video is used in law school programs, media studies courses, and gender studies curricula across the country. The remix also ignited countless online debates over the troubling ways stalking-type behavior is often framed as deeply romantic in movie and television narratives.

This past summer, together with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, I even screened the remix for the US Copyright Office at the 2012 hearings on exemptions to the DMCA. Afterward, my “Buffy vs. Edward” remix was mentioned by name in the official recommendations by the US Copyright Office (PDF) on exemptions to the DMCA as an example of a transformative noncommercial video work.

Despite the clear and rather unambiguous fair use argument that exists for the video, Lionsgate Entertainment has now abused YouTube’s system, filed a DMCA takedown, and had my remix deleted for “copyright infringement.” Below is a brief chronicle of my struggle to get “Buffy vs Edward” back on YouTube where it belongs.

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 It’ll be interesting to watch where this goes. 

I am not against interpretation. But what courts recognize as legitimate interpretation, it turns out, has predictable sexual and gendered components– to be a “public woman” is a far different thing than to be a “public man,” just as a “streetwalker” is different from a “man in the street.” Thus, in Leibovitz, a woman’s proud celebration of her pregnant body necessarily invited negative commentary from passersby. We already know that Barbie is sexual, says Judge Kozinski, so her proprietors have no right to complain when someone makes that more explicit. An unchaste doll cannot be raped.

Of course, a plastic doll cannot be raped, chaste or not. Bodies are funny, sex is funny, and anyone who deals in bodies can expect some rude surprises. But in a culture full of disputes over sexuality and gender norms, it should be no surprise that our copyright cases are not exempt from those battles and that women in particular may find themselves mocked mercilessly or exposed beyond what they were willing to reveal.

Rebecca Tushnet (“My Fair Ladies: Sex, Gender, and Fair Use in Copyright,” 293)