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Before making The Office Time Machine—a viral tool that allows people to see all the cultural references in the hit NBC show year—Joe Sabia wasn't really a fan of the show. "By no means did I ever sit down and get excited about the upcoming week," Sabia told The Wire.

So this project was not developed out of a deep love of the material like his "9 Minute Breaking Bad." Instead, The Office became a vessel for Sabia's exploration of cultural references, which turned into a piece that comments on fair use as Sabia was undertaking the project.

On the site for the project, he writes that he "created this project to advocate for copyright reform and highlight the importance of fair use in protecting creators and their art." He links to sites for digital advocacy organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation. At EFF, Parker Higgins wrote that the project "makes an important point about copyright and culture, and is itself a perfect demonstration of how certain assumptions baked into our current law are out of line with reality."  But of course the project is also simply fun for fans of the show. Sabia told The Wire: "If I can get 10 percent of those people to scroll down and read the first paragraph of what’s written then it has done it’s job." 

Why The Office then? Since Sabia admitted that the project would work with a show like 30 Rock or The Simpsons. Well, for one, The Office was ending when he started the project, and he liked the "conclusive" nature of the timing. Did he end up liking the show? "I think the show’s brilliant. I think that it’s incredibly important," he said. "I have deep respect for the show. After you watch so many episodes by yourself it’s a little bit tough." 


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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