Posted by: fnanbe | November 13, 2017

Copyright Restrictions Stifles Creativity

In the film, “RIP: A Remix Manifesto”, the director and creator of the documentary took a deep dive into the word of “mashups” and copyright infringement laws. A “mashup” is the act of sampling numerous songs (from any genre) and creating a single body of work. The director argues that copyright restrictions are out of control and have been manipulated for profit at everyone’s expense.

In the film, they concentrate on a set of propositions called ‘A Remixer’s Manifesto’ written by Lawrence Lessig. These principles are used to support the argument that copyright restrictions are too harsh and unreasonable. These propositions are as follows: 1.) Culture always builds on the past, 2.) The past always tried to control the future, 3.) Our future is becoming less free, 4.) To build free societies you must limit the control of the past.

While I agree that there should be some copyright restrictions to protect original art, I believe that an artists creativity should not be stifled by restrictions that prohibit creatives to build on previous culture. I firmly believe that artists from Grandmaster Flash to Walt Disney, would attribute much their success to creative freedom in the world of mashups. These artists are creative strategists.

Creative strategists identify bodies of work and give it new life and meaning. While the original artists and copyright laws may not be keen to this, mashup artists should be acknowledged and considered as laws are identified and implemented.

Today, mashups are shedding light on social issues and to provoking laughter and activism. Are copyright infringement laws stifling creativity within public domains or is it simply protecting the legal rights of artists?

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