For this assignment I was required to create an account on https://www.hitrecord.org/ and participate in some way with the website’s community. Here I will describe my experience using the website including some of the key ideas that I have been learning in this course.
Let’s first introduce you to what HitRecord is. I’ll let Joe explain this for you:
How did I participate in the HitRecord community:
As Joe explained in the video above, the point of this website is for people to create productions together. Instead of just watching something, you get to be involved. I started by doing a creative challenge. A creative challenge is when you know you want to create and collaborate, but you don’t know what to do. With the creative challenge you can pick among many different mediums:
I picked the photography creative challenges and came across a “Pictures of Cats” challenge. Here you can share you favorite cat picture. I chose this one because I have an adorable Siamese cat named Leo and because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cats.
The website was pretty easy to use and figure out. It was really user friendly so anyone can use, share, and collaborate. What really made it easy was that Joe created videos to help you through the website. Videos I encountered were a general overview of HitRecord, about the profile page, copyright information, how to collaborate, and more. Also while I was exploring the website your can explore through what other people have uploaded without collaborating. And you can narrow this down by mediums as well.
How does it relate to what I have been learning?
A. Copyright issues
One relation HitRecord has to what we have been learning about is the issue of copyright. In our reading of Renee Hobbs’ Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning (2010) we learned about how to use media resources in the classroom while following the rules of copyright and using the right of fair use. When using copyrighted material you need to give attribution to the original creator (Hobbs, p. 8). It is considered plagiarism when you use someone else’s work as your own and do not give attribution (Hobbs, p.8). Copyright material is “the owner’s legal right to reproduce, display, transmit, perform, and modify work as well as the right to publically perform sound recording by digital transmission”. Once the item has been created it is automatically copyrighted (Hobbs, p.16).
Now how what does this have to do with HitRecord? Well, EVERYTHING! First off anytime you publish or upload something onto the internet you have to keep the issue of copyright in your mind. For example, this blog. In the above paragraph I quote and paraphrase items from Renee Hobbs’ book. Therefore I need to give her attribution through in-text citations and a reference section at the end. It would be considered plagiarism if I did not cite her and there would be serious consequences (since this is a graduate level course taught by her!).
Specifically to the website when you contribute to a creative challenge, lets say the cat picture challenge, I noticed pop-ups and checks throughout the uploading steps of the process. I’ll show you what I mean. When uploading my photo of my cat Leo I was asked if the image I was uploading was a copyrighted image.
You then get to a page where you can edit your post (such as add a title and a description). You can also choose to make the work a “working file” which is useful for other people to remix the record. As you scroll down you see this:
In the first picture, you are required to click on the circle verifying that the record uploaded is the owners original work, records from HitRecord, or in the public domain. The item to notice here is that public domain piece. Public domain is works that are no longer copyrighted (Hobbs, p. 16). HitRecord, is familiar enough with the copyright guidelines that they acknowledge these guidelines on their website as well as making the uploader aware as well.
The second picture shows a video of Joe explaining the importance of citing resources. If your uploaded record includes someone else’s work, especially from the HitRecord website you can cite them and give them credit for their addition to your record. This brings up the copyright issue and using other people’s work without citing or giving them credit. I love when Joe states “The fun part is the artist(s) you remixed will get notified about your release, which will make them feel awesome, and your new record will be listed as a remix of their original record”. Again, it’s all about collaboration and giving credit where credit is due.
After clicking the circle, clarifying that your record is an original work, a record(s) from HitRecord, or in the public domain, a different video pops up explaining why you can’t upload copyrighted work:
In conclusion, it seems very noticeable that HitRecord is very adamant about the copyright guidelines and giving people the credit they deserve. Not only do they protect the rights of the creators but they also educate users about copyright and the importance of citing. As a collaborative site, there is need to make this information known to all who use it.
B. Creativity through collaboration
First I will start off with a few quotes from Renee Hobbs’ book Copyright Clarity:
- “Every form of creativity is connected to and inspired by the works we’ve come in contact with previously” (Hobbs, p. 17).
- “Copying is part of the creative process” (Hobbs, p. 41).
- “Today nearly all forms of contemporary creative expression involve collaboration and teamwork” (Hobbs, p.44).
- “Most new ideas develop as a result of the conversation process and the sharing of ideas” (Hobbs, p. 44).
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that creativity is built off of other’s works. Some form of copying will happen when someone creates off of inspiration, connection or observation. Also, creation isn’t independent work 100% of the time anymore. Whether they discuss with others or work in teams to create some form of collaboration will take place.
Again, back to the issue of copyrighting, under fair use, the court will most likely to find any work used fairly when there is transformativeness (Hobbs, p. 48). Transformativeness is when you repurpose copyrighted material as part of a creative project (Hobbs, p.8). Therefore, when you take someone else’s work and add or change it to where the new work is not just a copy of the original work, you can claim fair use. (Fair use is a part of the copyright law that “enables people to make legal use of copyright materials without payment or permission” (Hobbs, p.16)).
This is true of HitRecord. You can take something that another user has uploaded, for example a beat (music). You use the beat to create lyrics and then sing it over the beat while recording yourself singing. You then upload this, with citation of the original record, on HitRecord. This is transformative because you have added lyrics to the beat and recorded yourself singing them. This new record is completely different from the original record.
Scott McCloud, briefly hits on collaboration and creativity in his book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. He state, “invent new ways of showing ‘the same old thing'” (p. 176). In the end, creation takes bits and pieces from others in order to create new and different pieces. This is one of the main purposes of HitRecord. The creative challenges help people collaborate in creating something together. Users who may need help finishing a production can also use the site. They upload what they have and look for people who can help. This all takes collaboration.
Gordon-Levitt, J. (n.d). HitRecord. Retrieved April 05, 2016, from https://www.hitrecord.org/
Hobbs, R. (2011). Copyright clarity: How fair use supports digital learning. Thousand Oaks: Corwin/Sage.
McCloud, S. (1993). Understanding comics. New York: Kitchen Sink Press.
*Photos were taken from hitrecord.org using snip it