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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.

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.
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.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Bettawrekonize, May 15th, 2009 @ 11:53pm

    "The web really is an incredible tool for creativity and making stuff."

    Not according to Sony, who claims that nothing good has come from the Internet (when they really mean that the Internet is bad for big business).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Wammam, May 17th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    Last Days......

    Nora Ephron, who started her career in print, said the Internet has had a greater effect on “our beloved print than it’s had on the movie business.” But, she conceded, “We’re in the last days of copyright, if you want to be grim about it….Stop it. I dare you.”

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    TonsoTunez, May 17th, 2009 @ 11:04am

    Last Days......Of The US Economy

    Interestingly enough, when the concept of the global economy was first being considered, the plan was, and always has been, that manufacturing jobs would move overseas and the US would become a service economy based on our country's ability to use its intellectual superiority to develop new industries based on intellectual property rights.

    Well, we've seen our manufacturing jobs move over seas alright ... even while our President is trying to bail out GM, GM is talking about moving the rest of its manufacturing jobs to China!!!

    What we're also seeing, however, is that advancements in technology are destroying all of our industries based on intellectual property ... in other words, eventually most of the US work force will be without opportunities for gainful employment - unless you consider serving burgers to fat Americans gainful employment ...

    So, if we don't wake up - and soon - to the understanding of what we are doing to ourselves by actively seeking the destruction of patents and copyrights so that we can enjoy the fruits of intellectual based industries without paying ... we will become a nation of sloths, beggars and government dependents looking to developing nations hell bend on our destruction for hand outs ... (as if we aren't doing that already.)

    It's not to late to save ourselves it we start realizing we are enabling our own destruction ... Thank God we have a President that understands that intellectual property is the only hope for the future of the United States.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Mike (profile), May 17th, 2009 @ 11:44am

    Re: Last Days......Of The US Economy

    Interestingly enough, when the concept of the global economy was first being considered, the plan was, and always has been, that manufacturing jobs would move overseas and the US would become a service economy based on our country's ability to use its intellectual superiority to develop new industries based on intellectual property rights.

    Uh, someone has no sense of the economy or basic economics. But okay... First of all, there was no "master plan" for the global economy. Anyone who says so is wrong. Second, no one based any US plan on "intellectual superiority" which wouldn't be true in any case. The fact that many did think that US service jobs would lead the way is one thing, but that's not about intellectual superiority, it's about comparative advantage. You might want to learn what that means.

    Well, we've seen our manufacturing jobs move over seas alright ... even while our President is trying to bail out GM, GM is talking about moving the rest of its manufacturing jobs to China!!!

    And this is bad, why?

    What we're also seeing, however, is that advancements in technology are destroying all of our industries based on intellectual property ... in other words, eventually most of the US work force will be without opportunities for gainful employment - unless you consider serving burgers to fat Americans gainful employment ...

    Um. This is laughable in how wrong it is. You are basing this on the false assumption that IP is the only way to get paid for intellectual output.

    Second, we're not seeing ANY evidence, AT ALL that industries are being destroyed. The music business is in the best shape it's ever been in (the plastic disc business, not so much, but the actual music business is doing fantastic). Same with movies. Same with software. In fact, nearly every "intellectual" business is doing better today than in the past. To claim otherwise is outright ignorance.

    So, if we don't wake up - and soon - to the understanding of what we are doing to ourselves by actively seeking the destruction of patents and copyrights so that we can enjoy the fruits of intellectual based industries without paying ... we will become a nation of sloths, beggars and government dependents looking to developing nations hell bend on our destruction for hand outs ... (as if we aren't doing that already.)

    This is satire, right?

    It's not to late to save ourselves it we start realizing we are enabling our own destruction ... Thank God we have a President that understands that intellectual property is the only hope for the future of the United States.

    You sound like the Mercantilists begging for more monopolies just before the industrial revolution took off and proved the monopolists to be foolishly short-sighted. You're on the wrong side of history. You might want to learn a little economics and how to take advantage of abundance so that you can profit instead of whining.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Chris In Utah, May 17th, 2009 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re: Last Days......Of The US Economy

    Agreed with all but your first comments on Global Economy.

    First off The World Bank does exist. Second go research Builderburg, the Logan act & New World Order. A good movie to watch would be The Obama Deception(1.9M hits) via YouTube if they haven't removed it yet.

    As for industry out of the U.S. hmm.... why is Utah weathering the economic storm, could it be our state motto?

    You may be right on the IP arguments, but to be aware of the future you need to be aware of both past AND present.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Mike (profile), May 17th, 2009 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Last Days......Of The US Economy

    First off The World Bank does exist. Second go research Builderburg, the Logan act & New World Order. A good movie to watch would be The Obama Deception(1.9M hits) via YouTube if they haven't removed it yet.

    Conspiracy nonsense claptrap. Honestly, once you get past the conspiracy theories and learn what the World Bank and things like the Bilderbergs actually *DO* you wouldn't be so paranoid.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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