Elisa Kreisinger: Artist, Pop Culture Remixer & Copyright Activist

When Elisa Kreisinger felt that the media she consumed was not giving proper attention to women and the LGBT community, she took matters into her own hands. Known as “Pop Culture Pirate,” Elisa began creating feminist video mashups of pop culture, using clips from shows such as “Mad Men” and “Sex In The City” to reinvent them into a different narrative and explore a new topic that would otherwise not be discussed. She viewed these mashups as “mini media critiques” designed to recontextualize pop culture.

“Popular culture is a language we all use and understand,” said Elisa. “We may not be able to have conversations about race, class, gender or sexuality, but we can use popular culture as a lens through which to have those hard conversations.”

While Kreisinger’s video mashups are considered fair use for transforming works into something new, she began receiving takedown notices and copyright violations. Kreisinger responded by turning the notices into an art exhibit, painting portraits representing where her videos were flagged for copyright violation.

“I made large paintings that represented the exact frame and timecode that YouTube’s Content ID system claimed my videos as a copyright violation and allowed AMC and HBO to both block and monetize them depending on the views,” said Elisa.

Elisa used her paintings to “serve as a souvenir that undermines creator’s rights online and highlight a hierarchy of creative production.”

In addition to her artistic creations, Kreisinger is also a fierce advocate for fair use laws and considers herself a copyright activist. She was the inaugural recipient of a joint residency between Public Knowledge and Eyebeam Art + Technology Center. Her project, Fair Use(r) examined the challenges and legal implications facing artists who upload and share their work on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.

“I found that creative works which utilized artists’ fair use rights were being readily removed from sites due to private agreements between the hosting platforms and copyright holders,” she said. “These agreements undermine the safeguards for fair use built into free speech law.”

Today, Kreisinger is an Executive Producer at Refinery29 where she hosts the “Strong Opinions Loosely Held” podcast and video channel based on the podcast. Her video work has been featured in The New York TimesAdweekBuzzFeedTIME and NY Magazine.

Learn more about Kreisinger and her work by visiting her podcast on iTuneswebsiteFacebookSoundcloud and Twitter.