Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Current State of Copyright and Culture

A friend from Ireland, now living in Sweden, recently posted about an interesting piece of documentary-making from America which details how everything we see, hear and experience in the creative arts is, in one form or another, a remix from something else. We are as the saying goes, standing on the shoulders of giants. There are numerous examples of this: Henry Ford didn't invent the assembly line, interchangeable parts or even the automobile. However, he did manage to combine all of these elements in 1908 to produce the Model T. Mark Zukerberg didn't invent social networking: Myspace, Friendster and others got there years before Facebook. Even so called 'pioneers' of new musical genres borrow heavily from their predecessors to create the latest 'new' sound (check out 'Tecno Brega' from Brasil for example). While this concept is nothing new, it raises yet another interesting question: that of copyright within our culture today. If the idea of copyright is to protect the creator of the composition, where are the lines drawn on covering, borrowing from or blatantly ripping off other people's work? To go a bit deeper, check out GOOD COPY, BAD COPY from Henrik Moltke from Denmark. Made in 2007, Moltke and his team interview a range of players in the music industry - from big time label bosses in the US and small time pirate distributors in Russia to producers like Girl Talk and Danger Mouse who have made their names remixing other people's work. The questions raised in this fascinating documentary still hold true today: what is the role of copyright and what can artists and copyright holders really hope to achieve by copyrighting their work?

No comments:

Post a Comment