Without Copyright, Hollywood Would Never Be Incented To... Make A Bunch Of Remakes?

from the nothing-new-under-the-sun dept

We keep hearing about how the entertainment industry needs strong copyright in order to create incentives for the creation of new and original content, saying that without such things, there would be no new creative works at all. And, at the same time, we have the very same people mocking any cultural attempts to build new content by remixing and mashing up old works into something new. So I'm curious to see how those same people explain the fact that Hollywood's entire focus these days seems to be on taking old works and redoing them, rather than creating new and "unique" stories:
In fact, over the next 12 months, audiences can expect to see a new episode or version of "Planet of the Apes," “The Avengers,” “Spider-Man,” “Fright Night,” “The Great Gatsby,” “When Worlds Collide,” “RoboCop,” “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” “The Thing,” “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “The Raven,” “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “Red Dawn” and “Footloose.”

Add those to recent updated versions of “Winnie the Pooh,” “Clash of the Titans,” “Karate Kid,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “War of the Worlds,” “Arthur,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “The Tourist” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”

And deja vu happens when you turn the television on too.

This fall ABC are bringing back the 1970s series “Charlie’s Angels,” FOX is awakening “The Flintstones,” MTV has its hands on “Teen Wolf,” and we’ve already been slapped with Aaron Spelling’s “90210” and “Melrose Place” on the CW, while NBC re-imagined “The Bionic Woman” and “Knight Rider.”
But Hollywood is producing all these wonderful "new" and creative works, right? And remixing old works isn't creative at all?

Filed Under: hollywood, movies, remakes, tv shows

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  1. icon
    Frost (profile), 3 Aug 2011 @ 9:47am

    Movies, music, same thing

    Music used to be unique too. There used to be new artists doing new music (well... new-sounding, since you can only string so many sounds together in so many ways until you run out) - and that stuff got played by mostly independent DJ's on mostly independent radio stations, which allowed for a great deal of diversity. The big record companies had to at least try to innovate (or at the very least, allow new acts to grow). Then came radio deregulation, Clear channel, and suddenly there was basially one big radio station covering the continental US, and payola was institutionalized in the form of "independent promotors" - and it sure wasn't cheap anymore to get anything on radio.

    So the big record labels in their nutty quest for fantasy profits decided that they didn't want to take any more risks, to get their money back after the payola payments and so on, everything had to sell - and since people are hardwired to equate "familiar" with "good", hellooo fifteen trillion remakes and remixes and re-recordings of old hits. That's basically all we get out of the big labels these days, any innovation happens on the Internet or independently.

    So why this long discussion about the horrors of radio deregulation? Because the same mechanisms are in place for the movies, I think. Familiar = good, remember? In the incessant quest for more money, going with something that has once been a hit and mildly massaging it and doing it again, the studios hope for a surefire moneymaker, and innovation and art etc don't even register on anyone's radar.

    Copyright schmopyright, this is all completely anchored in the profit motive. To these people, music, movies or TV are just a cash machine with the output being a side product, not the goal.

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