Ethical digital literacy

What is a ‘remix culture’?

It is quite possible that many of you have created a meme from a well-known cartoon or altered a photograph to share among your friends and family; you may have recorded yourself singing your own lyrics to a well-known tune and posted it on YouTube; or you may have used images that you found on the internet in a poster presentation. But have you ever thought whether this type of appropriation of other people’s original ideas and creative works is ethical or legal? According to Lev Manovich (2007) we live in a ‘remix culture’ and the combination of ideas from multiple sources is not only inevitable but creates exciting opportunities for creative and original thought. However, does everyone feel the same?

‘Mashing’ and ‘Remixing’ are two terms you will hear to describe this creative process. They are very similar, but the definitions below will help you understand the difference.


Combining two or more original works such as pop songs and creating a new version


Altering an original work

Need an example? Watch/listen to this:

To be confident that what we are doing is not infringing the intellectual property rights of another individual, it is advisable to choose material where we can be confident that the creator is happy for us to mash or remix their material.  When searching for material, we should look for creative commons licences which state how we can use the content. 

Manovich, L. (2007) What comes after remix? Available at : (Accessed: 15 July 2020).