Copyright Laws! We have all pushed the boundary of copyright, admit it. Is every music
file on your computer paid for? Did you download a few images for that video you made
yesterday? Did you remix or remediate something into you own work? Photoshopped an
image? Posted a song lyric? Yep. I thought so.
So how did copyright law become so stringent? I mean, 70 years AFTER the death of the
author/musican/producer pretty much means NO! you can’t use this. Ever.
But Take a Look…
Then Walt Disney did this…
This…is a remix. But. Don’t forget, copyright says remix is bad…it’s bad if you plan on
using anything remotely current. The Disney Corporation was a huge proponent of the
extension of copyright. Interesting since the magic of Disney is rooted in remix.
Well played, Disney.
However, there is something called Fair Use. This allows us to use copyrighted
materials in small amounts, for no monetary compensation, as students, but Youtube
will still tell you that your video has copyrighted material.
The reality is that the “copies” and remixes of movies/music/etc and so on were not a
threat until technology advanced. Now as we learned earlier in the semester, the
amateur can be JUST as “good” as the creator. Lawrence Lessig points out the
“(consumer generated) copy was inferior to the original; and second, the technologies
to enable a consumer copy to copy an RO [Read/only] token were extremely rare”
(Remix 36-37). Boy, times have changed. He also states that the most important
policy mistake is one that stifles the Sousarian instinct: a policy driven by the view
that the only way to protect RO culture is to render RW [Read/write] culture illegal.
That choice is a false choice” (50).
So. We are at an impasse buried in Copyright Laws. Fair use is a step toward progress,
but our tech savvy culture needs more. How can we protect the rights of the creators
without squelching the creativity of the consumers? Does the copyright still foster
creativity? We are a Read/Write culture… remix is at our fingertips.
The Remix Manifesto sets it up for us:
- culture builds on the past
- the past attempts to control the future
- culture is becoming less free
- limit the control of the past on culture
And now… it’s our job to enact #4.