Just finished reading Remix by Lawrence Lessig. This was my first book on my nook. A definitely great experience in its own right, but when coupled with a Lessig book–awesome! So my brief thoughts? Lessig definitely provides us a lot to think about. I really also wish that everyone would read his thoughts. When you first say Lawrence Lessig, may people take the impression that he wants to totally abolish Copyright, which is very far from the truth.
He begins by looking at this ‘war’ of Copyright, primarily between teens and the RIAA. In starting off with this new generation, he shows how children are, in all essence, considered criminals due to the Copyright. He definitely has a point by saying
It does no one any good to regulate in ways that we know people will not obey.
<Lessig, Remix, p23>
While, as he expects, many will counter that he is asking us to decriminalize infringement, but he does not want that. He wants to look at the existing structure and make it work. Does putting music in the back of a video your child dances to and then putting said video on YouTube really take money away from the artist? I would think if anything, it would create additional buzz, leading, possibly to more revenue. I don’t think anyone will really try to record the music in the background, and if so, they would probably just do it off the radio and at least get better quality.
The main premise of Remix, is just that–how we use culture to remix. For the purposes of this discussion, we usually talk about mash ups of videos, music, and more. We all have seen this–the Dora the Explorer clips played to Soulja Boy or Aqua (my girls LOVE the Barbie Girl/Dora remix!). Again, in my opinion, I fail to see how an artist loses money on these types of things. Again, if anything, it encourages someone to buy a song or cd. We regularly watch Nick, Jr on cable. Of course we love it since they do not put commercials on. In between shows, they do show music videos from other cartoons or music acts. One, in particular, we always scoured YouTube for: Laurie Berkner. Well, after repeated trips to YouTube, the Easter Bunny ended up bringing her CD to the girls. We never would have bought that cd without seeing the songs on YouTube first.
So really, Lessig just wants to open a dialogue. Let’s sit down and talk about things. Does it make sense to ban people from doing some of the things that could help gain more of an audience? We see musicians and other artists beginning to get ‘it,’ as they look for alternatives to Copyright. Creative Commons, for one, definitely speaks to artists, giving permission to use their works, but not benefit commercially. Definitely some great steps. I throughly encourage you to read Remix to see this and so much more!
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