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Materialities of Law: Celebrity Production and the Public Domain

By Esther Milne

Abstract

Celebrity production and consumption are powerful socio-economic forces. The celebrity functions as a significant economic resource for the commercial sector and plays a fundamental symbolic role within culture by providing a shared ‘vocabulary’ through which to understand contemporary social relations. A pivotal element of this allure is the process by which the celebrity figure is able to forge an intimate link with its audience, often producing public expressions of profound compassion, respect or revulsion. This process, however, is complicated by emerging participatory media forms whose impact is experienced as new conditions of possibility for celebrity production and consumption. As Marshall argues, video mash-ups of celebrity interviews, such as those of Christian Bale or Tom Cruise, are dramatically changing the relation between celebrity and audience (Marshall, 2006: 640). Meanings produced by these audience remixes challenge the extent to which a celebrity might control her image. So is the celebrity personality, therefore, a public or private commodity? Who owns the celebrity image within remix culture? Although the celebrity figure has been thoroughly researched in relation to its patterns of consumption; semiotic power; and industry construction; less attention has been focused on the forms of celebrity governance enabled by legislative and case law settings. How might the law deal with the significant economic and cultural power exercised within celebrity culture

Topics: remix, appropriation, mashups, celebrity, media law, Communication. Mass media, P87-96, Philology. Linguistics, P1-1091, Language and Literature, P, DOAJ:Media and communication, DOAJ:Social Sciences, Technology (General), T1-995, Technology, T, DOAJ:Technology (General), DOAJ:Technology and Engineering
Publisher: Open Humanities Press
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:131dbebfa69e418d9c1170d4892fd5fc
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