New Research Suggests Digital Economy Act & ACTA Will Stifle Creativity

from the understanding-creativity dept

Glyn Moody points us to some research coming out of the University of Leicester which suggests that highly restrictive copyright laws and enforcement regimes actually serve to harm creative output and the creative industries. This is a point that we've discussed in the past, so it's nice to see more research being done in this area. Basically, what the research is finding is that these legislative efforts are serving to limit the technologies that are used to create new works today.

Of particular concern is that it will "stifle the creative opportunities for youngsters with tough regulation on digital media restricting young peoples’ ability to transform copyrighted material for their own personal and, more importantly, educational uses." Now, I can already hear the copyright system defenders claiming that transforming copyright materials for their own uses is not a "creative opportunity," but that's wrong. The way young people learn to create is initially through emulation. You learn to draw what you see. You learn to play the music that others wrote. And as you start to play around, you transform it in your own way. That's the very basis of young creative expression.

The issue is that new digital technologies allow for a modern version of that in things like digital mashups and remixes. People who don't recognize that these are the modern day equivalents to creating new artworks by attempting to copy what others have done will scoff, but they are mostly demonstrating the myopic view that modern technology used for creativity and creative learning simply "isn't like it used to be." Creativity comes in all forms, and what young people learn today through transforming the creative works of others is what will lead to the great artwork and creative output of tomorrow... if the legacy industries and our politicians don't stamp out such creative opportunities.

Filed Under: acta, copyright, creativity, dea

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jun 2010 @ 12:45pm

    On Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and others

    Creativity runs opposite of accepted norms. Johan Sebastian Bach, Vincent van Gogh, Gregor Mendel all received appreciation during their lifetimes while Freud, Darwin, Galleleo, Tesla, and Keynes received copious amounts of ridicule.

    Imagine if all "creative works", inventions, discoveries, and products have to be catalogued and run through a master database to determine it's origin and royalties must be paid out.

    Indeed, by our very nature, humans are mutations derived from two parents. Is this type of creativity subject to a type of parental royalties? If so, my kin of several generations past should still own a majority of Northern Europe.

    It is said that creativity tends to follow the views of intelligence, but by a lag of about 50 years. Now imagine what ownership will have value in 50 years. It won't necessarily be real property, but of imaginary property, and your silly to think this isn't what amounts to a landgrab, or even a war, through the methodological use of law rather than with weapons.

    Most interesting to me was the recent research of Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He recently gave a TED Talk about creativity where he presented that Creativity is emergent from three key needs:

    1. The individual.
    The individual mastered some discipline

    2. The cultural domain.
    The individual works with items around them or near them.

    3. The Socializing ability.
    The individual shares their creation with others that ultimately pass judgment on the creation.

    Each part should be mutually important, and strengthening one over the other only serves to benefit fewer people. Think of it as a triangle.

    The problem as I see it is that the Social ability has increased several fold while the cultural domain is restricted via lawsuits and efforts such as ACTA. Additionally, you have to ask if current copyright interests have properly contributed to the Creative Commons or Public Domain to ensure marketable products continue to be created, and brought to market and ultimately incent commerce. Of course, the answer to this is probably a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. In fact, the music industry looked down upon being creative with their business model until fairly recently, which is odd considering that they are a creative industry themselves.

    As people's ability to share will increase using (and increasing) Social Ability. So when you draw this triangle, you'll be able to see that commercial works that rely on IP will be controlled by a small, small minority of people who will probably scavenge themselves trough the creative commons and public domain at their own will.

    All of this is just as Thomas Jefferson intended when he created the USPTO. (Sarcasm)

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