Ethical Remixing?

 

What is the purpose of remix? To completely copy a section of Lawrence Lessig’s book Remix and Identity, I’m just going to keep it simple, vague, and  broad and say that its purpose to dedicated to “enabling the future.” After all, people’s opinion about what remix actually is and the ethics surrounding remix seem to be “simple, vague, and broad” so I would suppose that the reasoning behind remix should be something similar.

But in all honesty, I do think that Lessig’s section title “Enabling the Future” is actually a good reason and purpose behind remixing. The chapters under this heading deal with the laws and ethics behind remixing, but I think that it is also just a good reason behind remixing. We live in a Read and Write (RW) culture and so we most definitely do participate in remix–even unconsciously, I might argue.

Lessig’s chapter 9 deals with copyright laws surrounding remixing. After reading this chapter, I think that for personal use, things should not even be copyrighted. I keep thinking about the example we talked about at the beginning of the semester where the mother got in trouble for posting a recording of her daughter dancing to music. She was sued. Because she did not own the copyright to the background music of the video. But, I’m sure the quality of the music was not even very good. And perhaps people might even be more interested in buying the music to which the daughter danced after they watched the video. (So, maybe she’s be helping sales–free music promotion/advertising.)

I do think that copyright laws are definitely useful to an extent. Because artists do need to make money and so it seems that there should be some protection for them. But, I would like the laws to be slightly more relaxed. And as we discussed in class–if you happen write a [dissertation] and include lengthly passages of [Steinbeck] in it, then if the publisher denies you the freedom to reproduce those passages for publication, your work is [almost] “pointless”–in the sense that you cannot publish your hard work.

What would the repercussions even be if you paid the owner a small fee? I haven’t thought over it much, so I honestly do not know; but I think that making it possible some way for people to be able to use material is good. Otherwise, we will turn into a Read Only (RO) culture.

What then? We lose our creativity and imagination. I think that remixing is a good thing. It allows artists (and by that I mean anyone participating in remix) to contemplate an “original” work and change it around–maybe to show something in culture, to express a personal belief, to advertise for something…

And here is something else to consider, maybe there could be a difference in laws between those who seek to make a profit off of their remixed material and those who are doing to without the intent of profit. I realize that you cannot judge a person’s “intent” but maybe there could be certain categories. You want to publish a dissertation or other academic work? Use Copyright laws DAW (“dissertation academic work”). If you want to remix to sell songs or other works, use other appropriate  copyright laws –the SSW law.

Just a thought.

But I will definitely have to consider this more. It’s a challenging and very multifaceted question and I am definitely not a lawyer.

izzie-signature

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