Mashup kings threaten other mashups

Everyone loves JibJab, sure, and their new spot that pokes at Wal-Mart while not actually naming the giant retailer is pretty cute. But as it turns out, these guys who once took shelter in the First Amendment for their use of "This Land is Your Land" are now threatening others who've used their work with legal action.

Ludlow Music, which had owned the copyright to original Woody Guthrie tune, sued JibJab for infringement when they published the cartoon that made them famous during the 2004 election season. JibJab, with the aid of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, got the suit dropped because the copyright to the tune was never renewed, and thus the song is now public domain.

Now JibJab has sent Black Lantern a cease and desist letter for using nine seconds of "This Land" in a video mashup of "George Bush Doesn't Like Black People." [VIDEO] WFMU's blog has a great breakdown comparing the two cases:

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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