Essay Resource: Lawrence Lessig: Laws that choke creativity

Another TED Talk (I’ve been watching a bunch for a different course).  We already encountered Lessig earlier, and now he discusses user generated content, which is relevant to fandoms and remix cultures.

There’s some history of the music industry and early broadcast, with the ASCAP creating a legal cartel, and BMI using music in the public domain and “remixing” it.

Lessig argues that the 20th century has been mostly a read-only culture, and that the internet, through user generated content, remix culture, and amateur culture (which is not necessarily low quality, but done out of love, not for money), will lead to a read-write culture (which we may have had a long time ago). The importance is that the technology and tools of creativity are now open to everyone with computer and internet access.

Lessig looks at the law and how it has not come along with common sense ideas – that they presume that remix is theft, because remix is a copy, and a copy is theft. Here, he looks at the extremism on both sides – taking down every remix that uses copyrighted material, or trying to give up copyright and ignore it altogether.

Lessig argues for a path somewhere in between. However, he says that government have failed.  He looks to a private solution, and the role of competition. He argues that content creators need to promote their work as being more open (allowing artists the choice of how their music is used), and that read-write culture enabling companies have to embrace it, creating a system of competition between free and not-free content.

Again, Lessig probably has a large body of work and writings on which to draw from that will be relevant to the discussion of fandoms and remix cultures.


One Comment

  1. This is a great video that I first heard about through an assignment in my Oral Communication class! I am also planning on using this source for my paper! 🙂


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