Vidding History

Vids are fan-made music videos that involve the re-cutting and remixing of footage from television shows or films. The history of vidding far predates YouTube (2003) and contemporary “remix” culture; rather, vidding dates from the 1970s, and is one of the many arts to have emerged from Star Trek and subsequent media fandoms. Moreover, vidding is particularly notable as a form of filmmaking primarily practiced by women, perhaps because women dominate media fandom generally, or perhaps because telling stories with extant footage has been one way to surmount the bar which hinders women’s entry into the expensive and male-dominated film world.

The Vidding History project of the OTW is committed to documenting and celebrating the 35 year history of fan vidding. We believe that noncommercial works, like vids, that make creative use of existing copyrighted material are transformative, and that transformative works are legitimate under US copyright law.

Our work includes:

Test Suite of Fair Use Vids: Offered as part of the OTW’s reply comment in support of the EFF’s petition to the Copyright Office for a DMCA exemption for vidders and other makers of transformative or otherwise fair use works.

Vidding: A documentary on remix culture produced by the Organization for Transformative Works in partnership with MIT and New Media Literacy, 2008. Directed by Francesca Coppa; edited by Laura Shapiro.

The Oral History Project: The OTW has set up an Oral History project to document the experiences of many of the foremothers of vidding. Interviewees include: Kandy Fong; Sandy and Rache of the Media Cannibals; Morgan Dawn. We would like to have as many vidders as possible involved in this project; if you are interested in being interviewed, please contact us.

Press & Presentations:

Vidders Talk Back To Their Pop-Culture Muses by Neda Ulaby on NPR’s All Things Considered, broadcast February 25, 2009. Listen online or read the accompanying article.

Geneology of Vidding: Francesca Coppa and Laura Shapiro collaborated on a two-hour “Geneology of Vidding” presentation and screening at 24/7: A DIY Video Summit (February 8-10, 2008; School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California).

“Remixing Television: Francesca Coppa on the vidding underground,” interview by Jesse Walker, Reason: Free Minds and Free Markets. August/September 2008, p. 57-63.

The Vidder, New York Magazine Profile of Luminosity