In class last week we watched RiP!: A Remix Manifesto. The thing I loved most about this film is that it’s potentially illegal. Sampling even a single note is grounds for a lawsuit in the music owner’s opinion. According to copyright law, all of Girl Talk’s music is illegal, and it was played a lot during the movie. Gregg Michael Gillis even uses a record label called Illegal Art.
One of the main ideas of the film is that this is a war over ideas, and the internet is the battlefield. The young people of this generation want to remix and share, but they’re being labeled as “pirates.” As Lawrence Lessig said, “If remix is crime, then we have a whole generation of criminals.” The more we read about Larry Lessig, the more I like him. I think he has really good ideas and opinions. He also made the point that America is making criminals out of its citizens to enforce laws that can’t be enforced. (For the record, I think this is true of a lot of things, not just copyright laws. Look at the war on drugs. I fully believe that the criminal justice system doesn’t correct deviance, it breeds it.)
The thing that kills me is that copyright was originally made to encourage creativity.
ex·trem·ism noun /ikˈstrēˌmizəm/
- Any political theory favoring immoderate uncompromising policies.
In the video, they made the point that extremism harms America. I believe this is true, because copyright laws are one of these uncompromising things. America would be in better shape if we used copyleft. America talks about freedom, but what kind of freedom is allowed under such strict policies? Like Lawrence Lessig said, “We can’t stop people from remixing and exchanging culture, we can only drive it underground.” A change needs to be made in our culture. It won’t happen overnight, but maybe with a few little steps at a time, it’ll happen.
“The music industry refused to evolve, so we evolved for them.” –Radiohead.