The Web, Creativity And Commerce: The Blurry Line Between Creativity And Ownership
from the nice-quote dept
Michael Geist points us to Ivor Tossell's final web column for the Toronto Globe & Mail, which is all about how fans kept the Star Trek universe alive, creating incredibly detailed fan versions of the shows, despite all of the offical shows having ended. In many ways, it's similar to the recent story we had about a fanmade Lord of the Rings movie. But the best point is made at the end (the emphasis is mine):
There's a lot of things you can do with the Internet. You can sit around all day, strip-mining the Net for free movies. You can disappear into virtual worlds. You can log onto your favourite website and leave a comment that will cause readers to wonder whether the planet wouldn't have been better off left to the dolphins.Indeed. This is an important point. The web really is an incredible tool for creativity and making stuff. It's really too bad that copyright often gets in the way of that.
You can buy a webcam and do something profoundly embarrassing that will render you unemployable for years. You can spend your days filling up Facebook with a hollow performance of yourself. You can create a Web service that seems destined to change everything, only to discover - several billion dollars later - that it really changed nothing, because people are people, and the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Or you can make something. On the sunniest days, I look at the Web and I see a world of people making things. Maybe they're cat videos; maybe they're full-blown recreations of science-fiction series from the late sixties. Either way, the creative process never happens in a vacuum. It's an endless back and forth of ideas and materials, and some of them will always cross the lines of ownership and copyright.
It's unusual to tell a story of an online project that takes a corporate work, uses its intellectual property to make something new, and gets rewarded instead of sued. But then, Star Trek has always envisioned an inexplicably cheery future in which creativity trumps commerce. It's science fiction, all right, but let's run with that.