by Mike Masnick
Tue, Dec 13th 2011 8:54am
from the the-modern-prohibition dept
How pervasive is it? There are about 489,000 YouTube videos that say "no copyright intended" or some variation, and about 664,000 videos have a "copyright disclaimer" citing the fair use provision in Section 107 of the Copyright Act.As he notes, many kids really seem to hope that just explaining their intentions will ward off a takedown, even though so many takedowns are automated these days. But the key point that Baio makes is at the end, where he notes that "no amount of lawsuits or legal threats will change the fact that this behavior is considered normal..." And from there, he suggests that as this generation ages, and begins voting, the trend of ever more draconian copyright laws is going to start to look pretty silly:
Here's a thought experiment: Everyone over age 12 when YouTube launched in 2005 is now able to vote.We've been arguing the same thing for a while. We're often told that as these kids grow up and "learn" more about copyright they'll change their minds. I just don't see it. It may happen for a small percentage, but it's tough for these kids to deny reality. Sharing content, remixing content and building on content is so natural to them. The idea that it should be illegal simply makes no sense at all. No amount of "education" (even if it involves McGruff the Crime Dog) can fool people into believing that nonsense is reasonable.
What happens when — and this is inevitable — a generation completely comfortable with remix culture becomes a majority of the electorate, instead of the fringe youth? What happens when they start getting elected to office? (Maybe "I downloaded but didn't share" will be the new "I smoked, but didn't inhale.")
Remix culture is the new Prohibition, with massive media companies as the lone voices calling for temperance. You can criminalize commonplace activities from law-abiding people, but eventually, something has to give.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Nov 8th 2011 10:19am
from the indeed dept
Jobs’s sensibility was editorial, not inventive. His gift lay in taking what was in front of him—the tablet with stylus—and ruthlessly refining it. After looking at the first commercials for the iPad, he tracked down the copywriter, James Vincent, and told him, “Your commercials suck.”This is a key point that we've been arguing about for years. There's tremendous value in what Jobs did: innovating not actually by inventing, but by tweaking and "editing" the ideas and designs of others to make them "perfect." That act of taking what others have done and making it more valuable is such an underrated skill -- and yet it's really the key ingredient to innovation.
“Well, what do you want?” Vincent shot back. “You’ve not been able to tell me what you want.”I’ll know it when I see it. That was Jobs’s credo, and until he saw it his perfectionism kept him on edge. He looked at the title bars—the headers that run across the top of windows and documents—that his team of software developers had designed for the original Macintosh and decided he didn’t like them. He forced the developers to do another version, and then another, about twenty iterations in all, insisting on one tiny tweak after another, and when the developers protested that they had better things to do he shouted, “Can you imagine looking at that every day? It’s not just a little thing. It’s something we have to do right.”
“I don’t know,” Jobs said. “You have to bring me something new. Nothing you’ve shown me is even close.”
Vincent argued back and suddenly Jobs went ballistic. “He just started screaming at me,” Vincent recalled. Vincent could be volatile himself, and the volleys escalated.
When Vincent shouted, “You’ve got to tell me what you want,” Jobs shot back, “You’ve got to show me some stuff, and I’ll know it when I see it.”
If you look back, historically, it's what Thomas Edison really did as well. He didn't actually invent very much himself. But he took others' ideas and made them better -- often recognizing how valuable the ideas were much more than those who originally came up with them. That's a form of editing and a form of remixing to make things better -- and Edison and Jobs were both amazingly skillful at it. So skillful, that many people falsely credit them with "inventing" things they really just remixed.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 19th 2011 12:25pm
from the live-mashup dept
Step on up, Madeon. While it's not a keyboard directly but (perhaps more impressively) a Novation Launchpad, this 17-year-old recently released this incredible video of him mashing up 39 of his favorite songs into one song... live. I defy anyone to claim that what he's doing here is anything less than a musician playing a keyboard or guitar:
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jul 7th 2011 9:35am
from the they're-not-and-have-never-been dept
I'm sympathetic to most of them. It's natural in our culture to want to protect what you feel you worked hard for or invested in. Unfortunately, I don't think it's as natural to be aware of the innumerable ways we take from our culture in order to create these things. We need to let go of the idea that our creations are utterly ours. Creating something new entitles us to some rights, but not to perpetual monopoly, which is the direction we're headed in.That bolded part is the key. People have a natural inclination to give themselves more credit for their own work, and diminish the contributions of everyone who came before them whose work was instrumental to their own. I definitely recognize the natural instincts there as well, but I agree with Ferguson that it's important, culturally, to get past that.
He's also asked where he'd like to see things go "culturally in terms of copyright and patent laws" and he answers:
I think we have to stop conceiving of remixing as a kind of theft. It's not theft, it's not piracy, it's a legitimate effort to make something new. That effort deserves some respect, if not for the results, then for the intent. So I think step one is to stop treating remixing as theft and bring the penalties for unauthorized remixing back down to earth.This can't be said enough, even though it's rarely said at all. I've explained in the past how insulting it is for people to make criticisms like "create your own!" when they see amazing creative new works built by remixing the works of those who came before. If you can't respect amazing creations built off of others' work as being something amazing and new, then you lead a culturally deficient life.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 24th 2011 8:38am
from the innovation-is-a-process dept
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jun 16th 2011 12:50pm
from the who-owns-the-copyright? dept
by Tim Cushing
Fri, May 27th 2011 7:39pm
from the extended-copyrights-make-creativity-a-zero-sum-game dept
Jeffrey A. Tucker (of the Mises Institute) recently had the pleasure of viewing Tangled, Disney's 2010 remake of the Rapunzel story. He gives a brief rundown of the improvements, including:
"[T]he story mercifully leaves out some very strange aspects of the original Brothers Grimm, including the wildly implausible idea that a husband would give up child-rearing rights to his wife's child in exchange for free access to the neighbor's lettuce patch."
(It's amazing how a little hindsight makes free access to a lettuce patch seem less valuable than a human child.)
Of course, Disney (a.k.a. Kaptain Kopyright) has often raided the Brothers Grimm for inspiration, thanks to their stories being in the public domain, something Disney's own work will likely never be subject to. And while there's a lot to be said in regards to Disney's hypocritical plundering of the past, Tucker points out just exactly how much copyright stifles creativity:
"Sometimes 2.0 is just much better than 1.0, and here we see the big problem with intellectual-property protection. It freezes the first release as the only release for up to several generations. Improving and adapting are made against the law. This is not a problem if you use a story that is old enough. But why should society have to wait 100 years to get a better version of the original? Why should we have laws that artificially slow the pace of progress?"
That question is directed at you, copyright maximalists. Why should we have to wait more than a lifetime to improve or adapt an idea? It can't just be the money, because most ideas don't generate a lifetime of income. Is it the fear that someone might improve on your idea? Is that the main concern? That the world will move on, forgetting the originator and embracing the "remixer"? Or is it simply a short-sighted and mercenary view that has self-perpetuated into the endless copyright extensions of today?
It's often argued that extensive copyright protection "fosters creativity," but this "creativity" is often narrowly defined and bound to one person (and their heirs) for 100+ years. Tying down an idea for more than a century fosters nothing more than resentment on both sides of the issue. The creators tend to feel that there is something sacred about an original idea, despite the fact there is no such thing as "original". Those on the outside who wish to build on existing ideas are locked out and no matter how brilliant their take is, it will never see the light of day.
It's as if certain artists feel that their ideas should exist on an unwavering straight line that runs parallel to their lifetime. While copyright protection theoretically "incentivizes" creativity, in practice it has become nothing more than a legislatively-backed, wholly undeserved pension plan that does nothing more than lock everyone else out of the creative process.
(Quick hat tip to JPM, who shot this post in my direction via evil social behemoth, Facebook.)
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Apr 21st 2011 3:02am
from the a-step-up dept
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 23rd 2011 12:49pm
from the cut-and-paste? dept
Of course, what I do support is the creation of new and engaging content. What troubles me, is when people try to imply wonderful creative works are somehow not creative because they build on the works of people before them. Of course, that's silly. All kinds of wonderful creative works you enjoy almost certainly come from near direct copies of things that came before. A lovely demonstration of this is seen in this short clip from the documentary RIP: A Remix Manifesto:
And yet, to hear some people talk about these things, none of this is "creative." It's all just "copying." In some cases it's outright "piracy." After all, Kutiman is using the works of others, and doing so entirely without permission. And yet, I have trouble seeing how anyone can legitimately claim that these songs are "piracy" in any real sense of the word. Kutiman is clearly a musician. That he uses a note played by someone else on a YouTube video, and then "plays" it himself, strikes me as no different than playing a keyboard that plays a recorded sounded, or even strumming a guitar. A musician is putting different sounds together to create music. Does it really make a huge difference if that music involves someone making a note from an instrument directly themselves... or by taking the note originally played by someone else and doing something creative and amazing with it?
Is this really the kind of thing that our politicians and copyright defenders mean to outlaw?
I'm not a supporter of copyright infringement or "piracy." But if this is piracy, then I am a supporter of it. Because this is truly creative works, whether or not it's built on the works of others.