Remix Culture Is About The Culture As Much As The Remix
from the killing-culture dept
Over the weekend, I finally got to watch the film Copyright Criminals (after having seen clips and a discussion about the film at the Fair Use Film Screening put on by Public Knowledge back in January). I have to admit, the film was pretty depressing. While it may seem like I pick on lawyers a fair amount, I actually tend to like most lawyers I meet -- but I don't know quite how they did it, but every lawyer who showed up in that film just seemed to ooze smarmy. They appeared to smirk through their interviews, as if they knew what they were saying was ridiculous, and the whole thing was all about getting as much money as possible, rather than having anything to do with fairness or creating art. Meanwhile, the actual content creators -- they seemed pretty much defeated. They had worked on amazingly innovative and cool projects that had nothing to do with "copying", and everything to do with creating beautiful new works of art that people loved. And they got sued and shut down over and over again. It's a shame. But not just because of the art that wasn't created, but the potential to connect culturally through it.
This is a point that often gets overlooked in these discussions -- that art is about more than the creator. We've tangentially discussed this idea in the past, but Julian Sanchez put together a little video last week that does a nice job demonstrating this in about eight minutes:
What he points out is that for culture to matter, it goes beyond the artwork itself, to the people who experience the artwork and then share it with others -- thereby connecting with each other and the artwork itself. And while people sit back and claim that remixing is "stealing" or "lazy" or "not art" at all, that's totally missing the point. Art is not about just the creator. Without the shared experience, it's a lot less valuable -- and what we've done with copyright laws is make it that much more difficult to share that experience through our own eyes and our own cultural views. And if you don't see the shame in that, then you're missing a lot.