YouTube as a Nascent Practice: A MacIntyrean Analysis of User-Generated Content

  • Helen RusakEmail author
  • Stephen McKenzie
Part of the Issues in Business Ethics book series (IBET, volume 38)


This paper draws together two strands of literature which have not previously been paired, in order to ask an unusual question: can the creation of YouTube ‘remix’ clips be considered a ‘practice’, in the sense outlined by the ethicists and philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre in After Virtue (1985) and in subsequent writings. As data, we draw on a content survey of a single meme within YouTube (remix versions of a well known classical tune, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from the 9th Symphony), as well as a literature review on User-Generated Content (UGC) and ethics. We ask such a particular question in order to bring formal ethical theories more fully and visibly into ongoing debates about the nature of creativity in the age of the internet, which often focus on legal aspects concerning intellectual property, and rarely on the ethical bases for the development of sustainable creative cultures. We also ask the question because understanding the development of standards of excellence in UGC will ultimately be vital, given the increasing importance of UGC in developing businesses opportunities.


Virtue Ethic Cultural Production Music Video Internal Good External Good 
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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Adjunct Research Fellow, School of ManagementUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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