Tag Archives: copyright

Neil Gaiman on copyright, piracy and the web

@WackJacq tweeted a link to this video (thanks!)

Neil Gaiman explains his shift in thinking about copyright and web piracy in terms of literary works.

It makes a lot of sense, and I’m happy Neil took the time to give his personal take on the new publishing and sharing/mixing potential on the web. As he says, people were discovering him through his pirated books, and the result was that sales increased a great deal; “you’re not losing sales by having stuff out there.”  We need, as Neil says, a whole new way of looking at copyright. What is shared online raises an awareness and brings people to find things they would normally not have found.

As Neil says, that’s an incredibly good thing.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under author, Books

Copyright kills creativity and culture

Can people ever be original again?

And what kind of future do we have if we can copy and paste, download and remix almost everything but we get into trouble for it?

I came across a very interesting documentary in a blog post on Brain Pickings. It’s 24 minutes long but well worth watching.

a new documentary from Yale Law & Technology, offering 24 densely compelling minutes of insight into various facets of intellectual property in the age of remix. From appropriation to sampling to creative influence to reuse, the film is an anthology of conversations with some of today’s most notable remix artists and media theorists, exposing the central paradox of contemporary copyright law: How can something originally intended to incentivize people to create serve to hinder new forms of creativity?

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Walking on Eggshells: Borrowing Cultu…“, posted with vodpod

I’ve pulled out some of the ideas in the video which resounded with me –

  • You’re only aware of a portion of your influences at a time. Things work through you; you’re not always in control, and when you create something, it’s in the world and others can use it.
  • everything is cannibalising itself, eating itself (interesting way of putting it)
  • postmodernism is the end of everythingL meaning collapses under the weight of too many perspectives. With the internet, everything happens faster and faster. You’re not living in a real way, you’re experiencing references.
  • music is every tune you’ve ever heard pulled out and mixed together.
  • Remixing is like using the remote control, flipping through stuff. Remixing is like flipping through culture.
  • Look at all the references in Bugs Bunny; we always knew there were references even if we didn’t fully get them.
  • If copyright was applied to Bach, Beethoven, etc. they’d all be in trouble.
  • Now, in the recording age, music is not to be made – it’s to be consumed.

Here’s an interesting discussion of the emerging remix culture with Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons, acclaimed street artist Shepard Fairey, whose iconic Obama “HOPE” poster was recently acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, and cultural historian Steven Johnson, whose new book, “The Invention of Air,” argues that remix culture has deep roots in the Enlightenment and among the American founding fathers.

We have so much rethinking to do. It often seems that our thinking got stuck in the nineteenth century. Social media has enabled access, sharing and remixing of so much, surely we need to think of possibilities and not restrictions.

We can’t invent new colours, but we can work with a varied palette to create our own vision.


3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Sharing commonstuff

Two things worth mentioning today, not new things but things that made me think about the happy movement towards sharing and collaboration.

Larry Lessig’s TED talk isn’t new but I had another look at it and it’s a very clever presentation in favour of rethinking laws that prevent creative remixing of existing material on the web. It would probably sway even those who are resistant to changing copyright laws. Lessig’s instinctive talent for minimalist presentation accompanying logical argument which takes a surprising perspective, reveals  the absudity of copyright laws as we know them. What is he saying? Young people are using digital technologies to say things differently, and these tools of creativity are becoming tools of speech because this is how young people speak.  Larry’s point is that the law hasn’t reacted positively to these new developments, that the law is strangling creativity. He speaks out on copyright issues with a vision for reconciling creative freedom with marketplace competiton.

The talk is quite long but worth sticking with.

The second thing: looking through Flickr, I noticed information about The Commons which was promoted as

Your opportunity to contribute to describing the world’s public photo collections.

The key goals of The Commons on Flickr are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer.

You’re invited to help describe the photographs you discover in The Commons on Flickr, either by adding tags or leaving comments.

Here’s an example of what you will see on The Commons.

Children riding a horse to school, Glass House Mountains
from State Library of Queensland, Australia

The organisations involved include The Library of Congress, Powerhouse Museum, Smithsonian Institution, National Media Museum, State Library of New South Wales, Australian War Memorial, New York Library, State Library of Queensland, and many other institutions from Australia and overseas.

The program has two main objectives:

  1. To increase access to publicly-held photography collections, and
  2. To provide a way for the general public to contribute information and knowledge. (Then watch what happens when they do!)

Some people are sceptical and scared of the new democratic collection of collaborative knowledge and creativity. Personally, I’m excited by it. You only have to look at projects such as this to see the magnitude of data compiled by people all over the place. Frightened people have insisted on ‘peer-reviewed’ information only. But wait – isn’t this peer-reviewed too? The collective controls the accuracy of incoming data? We have to think elastically – information is shape-shifting, and if we have new technology and creative ways to collect it and remix it, then we’ll also find new ways of ensuring its credibility. It’s like the librarians’ favourite – information literacy. Well, let’s not get stuck  following the letter of the law without understanding its essence. If information literacy is the ability to manage information, then we need to keep up with the new ways information is presenting itself. And as educators we need to prepare students for the new types of literacy. Let’s embrace the new explosion of creativity demonstrated by young people now. As Larry Lessig says, it’s not stealing, it’s a new take on what’s there. It’s like a composer taking a well-known theme and reworking it, taking it into different directions.

Leave a comment

Filed under 21st century learning, creativity, flickr, media, Teacher librarians

Own the info, keep the info, hide the info

bottled-coins

 

I was reading Will Richardson’s article Get. Off. Paper. where he talks about people’s dependence on paper, and the reluctance to let go of owning information in hard copy. I’ve also just read what Joi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons, has to say about sharing photos of ourselves. It’s made me reflect on the nature of owning and sharing information, and how that has changed dramatically in the last few years.

When I was at school and university, information was power. If you wanted to be successful and get good marks, you needed information.

I remember how scarce information was. I had to work hard to get it, and I had to work hard to get it before others did, or get it from places others wouldn’t know about.

Sound strange? Think about it. An assignment is set, and the class goes to the library, but there are only a few books about the single subject that needs researching. Once I was jumped from behind by another student who clawed me until I dropped the book she wanted. Sound unbelievable? Believe it; it’s true. That experience shocked me and I’m not about to forget it. I’ve wondered since then, how important is this information, that someone would behave in such a manner? Admittedly, this is extreme behaviour, but think about this. In those days, my assignments were based on the location of content. If I owned that content, I would regurgitate it and present it attractively. Would I be in a hurry to share this information? Well, that would mean that someone else would have the same information as me. Why would I share it? Did we ever do anything with that information? Analyse it, evaluate it, modify it, create from it? No. That information was what my mark was based on.

Will Richardson talks about a paperless society. What I remember most about university, was the time I spent photocopying chapers in the library. Not complete chapters, of course, just the legal percentage of what was permissable. I focussed on collecting bags full of coins so that I would be able to photocopy pages from all the books I’d found that were even remotely relevant to my topics of study. I needed those copies, I felt empowered with all that paper, all that information that I may need during my research. When I was finished, I kept that paper. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. I might need it. I think I still have it.

It’s a relief but also kind of strange to be functioning now in the potentially almost paperless world. I turn to people for my links to information, and I share freely, as well as receive in abundance.  My networks are not mean. They are made of people who are smart, connected, varied, informed, interesting and willing to share ideas and knowledge. I’m happy that I’m still learning so that I can turn my back on the old ways.

2 Comments

Filed under 21st century learning, Education, internet, Web 2.0