Thursday, July 21, 2011

The YouTube Remake Method. Homage or Just Idea Theft?

Everyone knows the proverbial expression, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I prefer this one I picked up from one of my professors back at BGSU:

"If you see something great, steal it and make it your own."

I think about this particular catchphrase whenever I'm working on the annual promotional videos for e-Patient Connections, which are always intentional remakes of other popular web vids. Here's the video we just put out for this year's conference coming up in September.

And here's the video that inspired it:

Mimicking this thing wasn't as simple as it looked. Unlike a lot of other YouTube remakes, we didn't just lift the music from the original and cut new pictures on top of it because that would be copyright infringement (which really is stealing). An original music track was commissioned for our version of the ad and while it's very, very similar to the original, it wasn't beat-for-beat the same. I actually kind of like the track on our video better. (Which is good, because after putting this together, it's stuck in my brain forever.)

As I said, this isn't the first time we've employed the remake method. Here are the ads we did in 2009 and 2010 with their original inspirations, both of which were YouTube remakes of other popular videos.

The RemakeThe Inspiration
The Future of Patients

The Future of Publishing

The RemakeThe Inspiration
e-Patient Revolution
 Social Media in Healthcare

Personally, I think the 2009 video, "e-Patient Revolution", while certainly inspired, is a pretty original piece.

What do you think? Is the YouTube Remake Method honest homage or the equivalent of video plagiarism?

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