10Banksy

Remix

“people participate in the creation and the re-creation of their culture” (Lessig, 2007).

“‘What does it matter who is speaking, someone said, what does it matter who is speaking?’”(Foucalt 101). This quote, from an essay I found online bring to light a very interesting question regarding remixes and mashups. In this technological era of society, we as consumers take the feelings and characteristics of a piece and associate the author of that piece with those emotions and assertions. However, indicating the true craftsman of a piece poses to be extremely difficult. With the growing anonymity of the internet and people building off of each other, is it important anymore to know who was the first?

A year later, filled with more intellect and insight, I watched these two videos for the second time, now with various issues and concerns about Copyright arising that I didn’t previously see. Brett Gaylor is the director of Rip!: A Remix Manifesto which is a documentary about “the changing concept of copyright”. The movie is a call to overhaul copyright laws, interested in the “legally grey area” of remixing existing works. The movie’s central theme, or manifesto, maintains that “culture always builds on the past, the past always tries to control the future, and that our future is becoming less free, to build free societies”. Essentially, nothing is original anymore and you can’t stop people who take culture and change it to there liking. Copyright laws, protecting peoples’ ideas is usually very vague and is contingent on various factors, like how angry the producer is and how much you copied.

As I viewed the video, I began to think about my own experience with copyright and originality. Many of the songs I listen to are remixes of older songs, and when I listen to them with my friends, we all come up with differing sources of who we think the real singer of the song is. Additionally, the movies that are introduced these days are either sequels or based off of books. I honestly cannot remember one movie that was a fully original concept. Not only are the media I use in my daily life are subject to copyright but many times when I think of things and do my homework, I think of something that’s great but then remember that I got that idea from something I saw or heard. Society’s ideas and art is all copies of other entities, “everything is tangled”, with the new ideas forming from old ones. The first word that comes to mind when I think about this phenomenon is “inspiration”. I do not necessarily deem everything going on as bad or damaging, it is just people being inspired by others and creating new art based off of what they found interesting. I believe that it is a compliment to have someone base their work off of yours because if they used it, you know that it was worthy. However, it is interesting to think about society’s evolution. In 20 years as more and more people are copying others, will it be through inspiration or laziness and un-creativeness? I really hope that society will never stop becoming creative. With all this new technology, it could go in either direction.

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