Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Star Wars Remake Reveals SOPA Microcosm

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 12:43 PM

This week's issue of Boise Weekly features a big cover story on the effects of recently proposed Internet regulations intended to curb piracy.

Opponents argued that the bill—which would have allowed government seizure of websites found to have unauthorized copyrighted content—was going too far and becoming an impediment to innovation.

A just-completed years-long video project called Star Wars Uncut that hit the web this week is a perfect example of the sort of thing at stake.

The video is a complete frame-by-frame remake of Star Wars Episode IV shot in 15-second increments, by different directors, using different actors, sets and techniques. Edited together, the film is constantly morphing from animation, to home-footage, to ultra-stylized depictions to stop-motion models. It is slightly jarring, nearly unwatchable and arguably brilliant. While the area of innovation—low-fi Star Wars remakes—may not seem important, the lateral thinking it demonstrated is exactly what the web provides for and what should be protected, which is why the film has earned so many accolades.

"SWU has been featured in documentaries, news features and conferences around the world for its unique appeal. In 2010 we won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media," wrote auteur Casey Pugh on the video's YouTube page.

It's also a remake of some of the most heavily copyrighted and guarded intellectual property out there. And ironically, one that Pugh locked into his account on YouTube so it couldn't be reposted via other video platforms like the one Boise Weekly uses, and one that Pugh can now reap the financial benefits of more than 1 million hits for, despite the film being made in large part by others. It is a Rube Goldberg machine of copyright questions.

To see Star Wars Uncut, a truly strange piece of film, click here.

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